Segments in this Video

Where Are We? (01:49)


Hawking discusses the placement of our universe. Meet volunteers Jim, Joy, and Cat. They each share their understanding of where we are in the universe.

Earth Curvature Experiment (03:57)

Participants take a boat out to determine if a laser remains parallel to the surface of a huge lake. They find the laser height increases as they move away from shore.

Eratosthenes (03:29)

Jim and Cat determine the lake surface is curved and rejoin Joy to process their findings. Astronomer Francisco Diego discusses Eratosthenes method of measuring the Earth's diameter.

A New Measurement (03:55)

Volunteers use a telescope and a helicopter to measure the lake from shore to shore. Joy and Cat relay their altitude to Jim when he spots them.

Two Measurements (01:57)

Hawking explores the differences in lake surface measurements. Jim correlates the two measurements to the formula for calculating the curvature of the Earth.

Our Nearest Neighbor Challenge (02:30)

Jim, Joy, and Cat are given scale models of the Earth and moon to calculate the distance between them. Astrophysicist, Chris Lintott discusses Aristarchus' method of measuring the size of the moon.

Our Nearest Neighbor Results (02:11)

Using scale models of the Earth and moon, participants guess the distance between them. Cat intuits using perspective to solve their problem.

The Sun Challenge (03:12)

The group is given scale models of the sun, moon, and Earth to calculate the sun's distance from the Earth. Hawking explains how a solar eclipse is the key.

The Sun Challenge Results (02:40)

Volunteers use the model of the moon to eclipse the model of the sun to find the solution. Cat elaborates on their findings.

Solar Scale (02:08)

Hawking and company discuss our solar system on the scale of the team's models. See maps of the solar system superimposed over the U.S.

Spinning Earth Challenge (02:55)

Copernicus came up with the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. The concept of observing rotation from a fixed point is discussed.

A Better Look (01:49)

In 1609, Galileo invented the telescope. He discovered that Venus waxes and wanes, proving the sun was the center of the solar system.

Spinning Earth Results (03:47)

In 1851, Leon Foucault set up a pendulum under the influence of gravity to prove the Earth's rotation. Volunteers demonstrate this principle and discuss.

Relation to the Stars (02:05)

In 1878, Bessel triangulates the distance of a star to gauge the distance of Earth's rotation. The light year became the galactic standard of measurement.

Solar Scale (02:47)

Participants calculate light speed using scale models of the sun, moon, and Earth. They learn it is not as far as they thought.

The Nearest Star (03:18)

Distance to Earth's nearest star, Proxima Centaur, is highlighted. Jim, Joy, and Cat are given a scaled down model to illustrate the distance with a flare in the desert. Hawking presents an overview of the galaxy.

Our Galaxy (03:57)

During the 20th century, Edwin Hubble was the first to see distant galaxies. Volunteers must calculate the distance to that star using small scale models.

Where We Are (04:11)

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched. Hawking elaborates on our solar system's placement in relation to our universe.

Credits: Genius By Stephen Hawking: Where Are We? (324:44)

Credits: Genius By Stephen Hawking: Where Are We?

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Genius By Stephen Hawking: Where Are We?

Part of the Series : Genius By Stephen Hawking
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Stephen Hawking sets three ordinary people a series of fun physical and mental challenges to show them how to think like a genius. Can they measure the earth, the solar system and even the universe and find out where we really are?

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL129806

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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Where Are We?

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