Segments in this Video

Introduction: Light, Heat, and Electricity: Precision (02:29)


During the Industrial Revolution, workers are frequently injured or even killed in the struggle to control energy.

Measuring Energy (00:56)

Satellites can accurately measure sea ice, ocean temperatures and more.

Visible Light Spectrum (03:59)

Visit Woolsthorpe Manor, and learn about Isaac Newton's prism experiments.

Infrared Light: Invisible Light (01:30)

Astronomer William Hirschel stumbles on infrared light.

Measuring Heat (01:40)

Heat is a type of energy; it is the motion of molecules. Temperature is a measurement of the speed of the molecules.

Measuring Temperature (02:42)

Galileo Galilei becomes the first to measure temperature in the 16th century using a thermoscope.

Development of Thermometers. (02:02)

Physician Santorio Santorio makes a thermoscope to prove that sick patients have increased temperature. The Accademia del Cimento (Academy of Experiment) develops more accurate thermometers, measuring in degrees.

Electricity: First Battery (06:16)

Alessandro Volta studied animal electricity using the torpedo ray. Based on the work of Luigi Galvani, Volta created the first battery.

Standardizing Temperature Measurement (01:44)

Daniel Fahrenheit uses mercury and a standardized scale to more accurately measure temperature. Anders Celsius simplifies the scale and calibrates using atmospheric pressure.

Thermocouple (04:20)

During the Industrial Revolution, lives are lost as boilers explode due to inaccurate measurement of high temperatures. Thomas Johann Seebeck creates the thermocouple to measure extreme temperatures.

What is Heat? (02:22)

James Prescott Joule discovers that heat is a form of energy.

Absolute Zero and Triple Points (03:49)

Lord Kelvin devises a temperature scale that starts at absolute zero. Triple point is where a substance can exist simultaneously as a gas, liquid, and solid.

Electricity and Magnetism (04:06)

Andre-Marie Ampere discovers he can create magnets using electrical currents. The galvanometer paves the way for telegraphs.

First Congress of Electricians (02:06)

Scientists gather from all over the world. Ampere becomes the international unit for electricity. Thomas Edison shows his giant electrical generator.

Dawn of the Electrical Age (03:09)

Thomas Edison's electrical generator design brings electricity into homes. He uses electroplating to measure electricity.

Introduction of Candle Power (02:59)

At the beginning of the 19th century, the first public gaslights are installed in London. Fraudulent practices force the standardization of light measurement.

Human Light Perception (03:44)

Learn about the experiments that lead to the development of the candela. Explore the differences between human perception and actual luminosity.

Demands of Modern Industry (04:06)

Explore the difficulties faced as the limits of measurement are being tested again. A new standard is needed; the acoustic gas thermometer may be the answer.

Future of Electrical Current Measurement (01:07)

Researchers utilize magnets and low temperatures to control the movement of single electrons; electrons can now be counted as they move through the experiment.

Credits: Light, Heat, and Electricity: Precision (00:41)

Credits: Light, Heat, and Electricity: Precision

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Light, Heat, and Electricity: Precision—The Measure of All Things

Part of the Series : Precision: The Measure of All Things
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Because we are able to measure energy, satellites in space can take the temperature of oceans and calculate the thickness of sea ice to within a millimeter’s worth of accuracy. The ability to quantify heat, light, and electricity has transformed our lives, but how did we learn to measure these seeming intangibles with such precision? From lightning bolts and Watt engines to electromagnetic waves and single electrons, this program explores the measurement of light, heat, and electricity. The video also looks at the work of Newton, Herschel, Ampere, and Edison as host Marcus du Sautoy explains how the drive to quantify has led us far into space and inside the atom itself. Produced by the Open University. A part of the series Precision: The Measure of All Things. (59 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL53468

ISBN: 978-0-81608-785-3

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“A fascinating topic, an engaging presenter and high production values....Compelling viewing.” —The Guardian (London)

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