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TV : Documentary : TV quality : English
James Burke's The Day The Universe Changed (1985) (AVI)
The Day the Universe Changed is James Burke's personal view on the great ebb
and flow of ideas that have gone into the development of Western thought. Host
James Burke gives a stunning overview of this evolution of thought since the
days of the Greeks in this ten-part series co-produced by BBC-TV and RKO
Episode 1 - The Way We Are
Written and presented by James Burke, this 10-part series traces the
development of Western thought through its major transformations since the days
of ancient Greece. Program one is an overview of the series, showing how a
culture's view of the world around it determines how it sees itself, and is
reflected even in the smallest details of its customs and habits.
Episode 2 - In the Light of the Above
Relates that in the course of overrunning Moorish Spain, Christian Europe
discovered libraries, universities, optics, mechanics, and natural philosophy.
This rediscovery of classical knowledge led to the founding of universities and
the replacement of Augustinian philosophies by Aristotelian theories.
Episode 3 - Point of View
Shows that Western EuropeG??s rediscovery of perspective through the study of
Arab optics led to revolutions in art and architecture. The WestG??s new-found
ability to control things at a distance resulted in new methods of warfare and
the confidence to make long voyages of exploration.
Episode 4 - A Matter of Fact
Observes that the invention of printing and the advent of cheap paper forever
transformed the nature of knowledge from the local and traditional to the
systematic and testable. Nationalism, public relations, and propaganda are
among the results.
Episode 5 - Infinitely Reasonable
Notes that investigators such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton evolved
better explanations of natural phenomena than those of Aristotle. Highlights the
theories that led to a new conception of how the universe works and of manG's
place in it.
Episode 6 - Credit Where It's Due
Locates the origins of contemporary consumerism in the English industrial
Revolution, powered by religious dissenters barred from all activities except
trade. The invention of the steam engine, new forms of credit, surplus wealth,
and opening markets laid the foundation for industrial society.
Episode 7 - What the Doctor Ordered
Traces modern societyG??s recognition of the value of statistics to medical
advances stemming from responses to the French Revolution and an English
cholera epidemic. Identifies the origins of medicine as a science with the
discovery of anesthesia, antiseptics, and bacteriology.
Episode 8 - Fit to Rule
Tracks the expectation of change, fundamental to contemporary society, through
the developing sciences of botany, geology, and biology to DarwinG??s theory
of evolution. DarwinG's theory, in turn, has been used as a justification for
Nazism, communism, and cut-throat capitalism.
Episode 9 - Making Waves
Points out that studies of the properties of magnetism, electricity, and light
have led scientists to the realization that Newtonian physics is inadequate to
explain all that they observe. The public, meanwhile, has continued to concentrate
on the technological by-products of science.
Episode 10 - Worlds Without End
Observes that over the centuries Western civilization has regularly shifted its
conception of the nature of truth. Citing the example of Nepalese Buddhism, a
system as complete and satisfactory of Nepal as science is for the West, the
series ends with a plea for tolerance.