Light Fantastic

Light Fantastic


Episode 1

Four hundred years ago, the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei heard stories of a miraculous 'spy glass' that made things look three times closer than they really are.

He wondered whether he could make a better one, and was soon observing stars and phenomena in the night sky that no-one had ever seen before.

His discoveries changed the course of science and changed our view of the cosmos, and are being celebrated in the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

In this programme, Roland Pease travels to Florence to see Galileo's surviving telescopes, and learn about his efforts.

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First broadcast 7 January 2009

Episode 2

Since Galileo first looked at the stars, telescopes and microscopes and the study of the properties of light have contributed to many of the great scientific breakthroughs.

Light has become an instrument of science, able to heat, cool, cut and manipulate matter in marvelous ways.

In this programme, Roland Pease sees how laser light creates the hottest and coldest materials on the planet, and how cells can be manouevred and dissected with beams of laser light.

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First broadcast 14 January 2009

Episode 3

Invisibility cloaks, slow light and superlens ? just some of the outcomes of the new optical devices now being made from nano-engineered metamaterials.

Roland Pease looks into the revolution in optics that?s taking place 400 years after Galileo made his first telescope.

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First broadcast 21 January 2009
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