This cleverly named documentary was produced by BBC Horizon in 2009, with the goal of giving a new perspective to the menacing presence of black holes. I mean, after all, they’re incomprehensibly gigantic and have such a destructively strong gravitational pull that not even light is safe from its clutches. Easy thing to fear (if you’re in the habit of fearing things you’ll probably never encounter within a few million light years).
This documentary clearly maps out the path science took in its discovery of these invisible giants, the problems of reconciling black hole physics with that of quantum mechanics, and the search for the unifying theory that could possibly solve this whole mess (also known as quantum gravity). By the end, viewers have not only been awarded a great wealth of information regarding cosmology, reality, time, and any other out-there topic you can think of, but also a new look at the supposedly monstrous and destructive black holes and the important part they play in the structuring of our universe.
The great thing about this documentary is that it goes far in its attempts to convey the excited interest experienced by the scientists involved. Documentaries can sometimes be overly stuffy and academic affairs that, while sometimes admirable in their content, can’t help but alienate most casual viewers. This science documentary utilizes creative settings, candid interviews and graphics, alongside its in-depth explanations of scientific concepts, to create a documentary that is both intellectually stimulating and entertaining even to the not-so-scientifically inclined. The scientists appear well informed but casual in their interviews, and openly express their own lack of knowledge when it comes to the hard-to-observe black holes. This easy expression of ignorance, along with the excited expressions of curiosity, help viewers get a more realistic look at the people behind the math and what drives them in their research.
Not only entertaining, this documentary does an admirable job at covering a lot of scientific ground while remaining understandable, with good explanations and comparisons to things we experience in our everyday lives. Michio Kaku even demonstrates the complex mathematics between the two competing sets of physical theories and what makes them so incompatible. They don’t bother explaining the underlying math, of course, but I feel like getting to see the actual end result of each equation, and being told exactly why the answers just don’t make sense, sets up a good frame of reference for understanding the difficulties involved in future research.
Sometimes the attempts to keep the film visually interesting go a little overboard. For example, certain interviews are shot in darkness with a single light focusing on the subject, making it seem more like an interrogation than a scientific discussion. Aside from that, I can’t find much to complain about. This documentary is fun, enlightening, and well structured. Enjoy!
Credit: Image by NASA
Powered by Max Banner Ads