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The Elegant Universe: Part 1

Einstein's Dream: Combining the laws of the universe in one theory that explains it all is the Holy Grail of physics.

Premiered: Runtime: 52:55Topic: Physics + MathPhysics & Math
Premiered on PBS

Eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings? It's not science fiction, it's string theory. Bestselling author and physicist Brian Greene offers a tour of this seemingly strange world in "The Elegant Universe," a three-hour Peabody Award-winning miniseries.

Part 1, "Einstein's Dream," introduces string theory and shows how modern physics—composed of two theories that are ferociously incompatible—reached its schizophrenic impasse: One theory, general relativity, successfully describes big things like stars and galaxies, while another, quantum mechanics, is equally successful at explaining small things like atoms and subatomic particles. Albert Einstein, the inventor of general relativity, dreamed of finding a single theory that would embrace all of nature's laws. But in this quest for the so-called unified theory, Einstein came up empty-handed, and the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics has stymied all who've followed. That is, until the discovery of string theory.

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Major funding for "The Elegant Universe" is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation, with additional funding from the Department of Energy and from Volkswagen of America, Inc. Promotional Sponsor for The Elegant Universe: SEED Magazine