EP2/4 Wonders of the Universe


In the second stop in his exploration of the wonders of the universe, Professor Brian Cox goes in search of humanity’s very essence to answer the biggest questions of all: what are we? And where do we come from? This film is the story of matter – the stuff of which we are all made.

Brian reveals how our origins are entwined with the life cycle of the stars. But he begins his journey here on Earth. In Nepal, he observes a Hindu cremation. Hindu philosophy is based on an eternal cycle of creation and destruction, where the physical elements of the body are recycled on to the next stage. Brian draws a parallel with the life cycle of the stars that led to our own creation.

Next, he explains how the Earth’s resources have been recycled through the ages. How every atom that makes up everything we see, was at some time a part of something else. Our world is made up of just 92 elements, and these same 92 elements are found throughout the entire universe. We are part of the universe because we are made of the same stuff as the universe.


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  1. Where has episode 2 gone!? Why is this a featured series when the videos don’t exist?

  2. 9/10
    – Nice footage variety
    – Good explanation of the recycling of atoms in Earth’s systems, and uses that precedent to explain how stellar atoms are reused.
    – Good demonstration of spectroscopy.
    – Good explanation of stellar and some non-stellar yet cosmic generation of non-Hydrogen atoms.
    – Does not go into detail of the cooling of energy from the Big Bang into quarks and other matter, which seems fine since this episode is more about stellar atoms rather than atoms in general.
    – Brian Cox’s presentation in this second episode seemed better than the first episode. More relaxed speech for example.
    – Odd presentation choice of using a building demolition as a visualization of stellar end-of-life collapse. While the footage is novel, there is no clear analogy to the fusion of heavier non-Hydrogen and non-Helium atoms.
    – When mentioning post-supernova stars, I was surprised they didn’t mention the novel porperties of that matter, although I guess it wouldn’t qualify as “Star Dust”, so might not fit under the episode title.
    – Seems suitable for post-elementary students.