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This programme trace the history of practical geometry. For thousands of years it was believed that the geometry of Euclid was the only possible description of space. At the beginning of the last c...entury mathematicians showed that space was not logically constrained to be Euclidian. Einstein showed that to fully understand the universe the fabric of space-time must be seen as curved.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: S354, Understanding space and time
Item code: S354; 11
First transmission date: 01-08-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:26
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Producer: James Burge
Contributors: Paul Clark; Alan Cooper
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Description of space; Einstein; Euclid; Euclidean space; Geometry history; Space/time curve
Footage description: Aerial shots of a neolithic stone circle. Shots of Paul Clark standing next to one of the stones. He introduces the programme with a brief potted history of geometry since Euclid. Alan Cooper, at the Haystack Observatory, Boston Mass., describes how this radio telescope was used to verify one of the predictions of Einstein that space in a gravitational field is curved. Paul Clark joins in and uses animated diagrams and a globe to illustrate his points. Alan Cooper and Paul Clark construct a large triangle on the curved surface of a hillside. They use elastic tape to mark out the sides and demonstrate that the angles of a triangle on a curved surface do not add up to 180 degrees. With the aid of an animated diagram, Paul Clark explains how a Euclidean space in the absence of gravity becomes non-Euclidean in the presence of a gravitational field. Alan Cooper and then Paul Clark discuss briefly the work of Gauss and Riemann in creating the mathematics necessary for Einstein to develop his general theory of relativity. Paul Clark explains the use made by Einstein of these Riemannian geometries.
Master spool number: DOU3297
Production number: FOUS072B
Videofinder number: 2042
Available to public: no