The Secret Life of Chaos

Synopsis: Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand. It turns out that chaos theory answers a question that mankind has asked for millennia - how did we get here? In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science - how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder? It's a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern. And the best thin
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Nic Stacey
60 min

This is a film

about one very simple question.

How did we get here?

These are the elements and compounds

from which all humans are made.

They're incredibly,

almost embarrassingly common.

In fact, almost 99% of the human body

is a mixture of air, water,

coal and chalk, with traces of other

slightly more exotic elements

like iron, zinc,

phosphorus and sulphur.

In fact, I've estimated

that the elements

which make up the average

human cost at most a few pounds.

But somehow, trillions of these very

ordinary atoms conspire miraculously

to organise themselves into thinking,

breathing, living human beings.

How the wonders of creation

are assembled from such simple

building blocks, is surely the most

intriguing question we can ask.

You may think that answering it is

beyond the realm of science.

But that's changing.

For the first time, I believe

science has pushed past religion

and philosophy in daring to tackle

this most fundamental of questions.

This film is the story

of a series of bizarre

and interconnected discoveries that

reveal a hidden face of nature.

That woven into its simplest

and most basic laws,

is a power to be unpredictable.

It's about how inanimate matter

with no purpose or design,

can spontaneously

create exquisite beauty.

It's about how the same laws

that make the universe chaotic

and unpredictable, can turn

simple dust into human beings.

It's about the discovery

that there is a strange

and unexpected relationship

between order and chaos.

The natural world really is one

great, blooming, buzzing confusion.

It's a mess of quirky shapes

and blotches.

What patterns there are,

are never quite regular,

and never seem to repeat exactly.

The idea that all this mayhem,

all this chaos, is underpinned,

indeed determined,

by mathematical rules,

and that we can work out what

those rules might be,

runs counter

to our most dearly held intuitions.

So not surprisingly, the first man

to really take on the momentous task

of unravelling

nature's mysterious mathematics,

had a very special and unusual mind.

He was both a great scientist

and a tragic hero.

He was born in 1912, in London.

His name was Alan Turing.

Alan Turing was a remarkable man,

one of the greatest mathematicians

who ever lived.

He discovered many

of the fundamental ideas

that underpin the modern computer.

Also, during the Second World War,

he worked here at Bletchley Park,

just outside today's Milton Keynes,

in what was then a secret

government project called Station X,

which was set up

to crack the German military codes.

The Station X code breakers proved

highly effective,

and Turing's contribution

was crucial.

The work he personally did

to crack German naval codes,

saved thousands of Allied lives

and was a turning point in the war.

But code breaking was just one aspect

of Turing's genius.

Just one part of his

uncanny ability to see patterns

that are hidden from the rest of us.

For Turing, the natural world

offered up the ultimate codes.

And over the course of his life

he'd come tantalisingly

close to cracking them.

Turing was a very original person.

And he had realised that there

was this possibility

that simple mathematical equations

might describe aspects of

the biological world.

And no-one

had thought of that before.

Of all nature's mysteries,

the one that fascinated Turing most

was the idea that there might be

a mathematical basis

to human intelligence.

Turing had very personal

reasons for believing in this.

It was the death of this young

man, Christopher Morcom,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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