Elegant Universe TV show streaming Video

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Can someone answer a question for me about something that was in this show. When they get to the part where the two physicists were trying to get both of the equations to match on the chalkboard, did they say that they somehow found these other dimensions or more so that the other dimensions were required in order for the string theory to function? Because for some reason i remember the latter in which case this theory is more here-say and simply a means to get some equation to work right?

MythioS
 
  • #27
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Originally posted by MythioS
Can someone answer a question for me about something that was in this show. When they get to the part where the two physicists were trying to get both of the equations to match on the chalkboard, did they say that they somehow found these other dimensions or more so that the other dimensions were required in order for the string theory to function? Because for some reason i remember the latter in which case this theory is more here-say and simply a means to get some equation to work right?

MythioS
Technically one can ask what came first?..the dimensions or the Maths?
Some of the abstract mathematics of string theory do not conform to our everyday experience, for instance in order to accomodate more than the usual three-dimensions, there are Mathematical extensions..all the way up to infinite (Wittens latest paper).

Some time ago there was a general concensus that 26 dimensions was pretty much suitable for the avialable 'string' Mathematics, but if the current trend continue's then there will not be enough Dimensions in our Universe to accomodate the coresponding predicted Mathematical Dimensions!

Of course the spacetime dimensions (theorized as 9+1 until Ed Witten thought of another dimension, and then 9+1 became 10+1 spacetime's).

There are about 12 Time zones graphed onto the surface of the globe, this is for each individual nation to define their own existence with their neighbours and stops Airlines from landing planes at the same time and such!, this is a human construct for ease of correspondance, it is not a consequence say of the proximity of the Earth within the Solar System along the Galactic Arm!
 
  • #28
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Originally posted by MythioS
Can someone answer a question for me about something that was in this show. When they get to the part where the two physicists were trying to get both of the equations to match on the chalkboard, did they say that they somehow found these other dimensions or more so that the other dimensions were required in order for the string theory to function? Because for some reason i remember the latter in which case this theory is more here-say and simply a means to get some equation to work right?

MythioS
yes, that is exactly how it happened. string theory gives you quantum gravity, for free. some people felt that this was such a compelling argument, that they were willing to listen to what other things that the theory was trying to tell them. one of them is that it must have 10 spacetime dimensions.

the number 10 is, as you say, just the number that makes the equations work. in this sense, string theory is more constrained than other quantum theories. other quantum theories put no restriction on what dimensions you must live in (although renormalizability may have something to say to this question)
 
  • #29
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For some odd reasons, even after downloading QuickTime player from the specified URL (links provided on the PBS), I still can't watch the video. Everytime when the QuickTime player functions came out, it automatically closes all the windows.

What do I do?
 
  • #30
tenzin
I think the PBS special sucked

It was so hoakey and cheesey. Not to mention that many of the things they say are completely stupid. There are plenty of intellegent people out there but no more great thinkers. Physicists have forgotten how to think and become obcessed with the math.
 
  • #31
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I think you suck

Originally posted by tenzin
It was so hoakey and cheesey. Not to mention that many of the things they say are completely stupid. There are plenty of intellegent people out there but no more great thinkers. Physicists have forgotten how to think and become obcessed with the math.
If these physicists work hard, maybe one day they will be as smart as you.
 
  • #32
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Well the only thing that bothered me was when i watched it the second time i noticed he seemed to repeat things quite a bit. Kind of like going to school next year in america and having to repeat like the last half of the last year again for the next year, but for 3 hours of shows.

It seemed like more of a history show then a physics show but how much equation can you really expect a layman such as myself to understand... (although i do wish i had a little cheat sheet that explained what all the variables represented in the final m theory)

That aside if i understand lathes reply to my question awhile back i have to have some doubts as to what this whole string/m thing really means. I mean if i can just plug a number in somewhere to make sure something else makes sense... was that really the answer to begin with or is the room painted black simply because the lights arent on?

MythioS
 
  • #33
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Anti-gravity paradox...



Did anyone notice the segment where they attempted to display the analogy between Newton Gravitation and GR, in which if a star's gravitational field were removed then Newton's Gravitational field would be removed instantly, however, the GR field would only be removed at luminous velocity?

My point is that the warped field sheet they used to describe a gravity wave was displayed as a 'verted' field instead of 'inverted'. However, a GR field in this configuration could only repel mass, not attract it.

I am not certain if this was an oversight by the graphics designers, however the producers do need to pay more attention.

 
  • #34
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Parallel Thinking in an Elegant Universe

In the mid 1980's I dreamed of watching physics video documentaries on a wireless Z-183 in a park on a sunny day and was reading Buckminster Fuller's 1969 book EDUCATION AUTOMATION in which he talked about video documentaries being available to anyone 24/7 over a wireless network. I like that PBS has made ELEGANT UNIVERSE available.
I watched the entire show but I was quite put off by the first part. There was a harsh tone to it that was quite rude. I'm not against challenging accepted ideas and assumptions but Greene almost seemed to be calling all non-physicists black dogs that he was wasting his time trying to explain String Theory to. Most physicists I know bristle if you try to cast physics into the categories of RIGHT vs. WRONG but Greene bluntly says Newton is WRONG, Einstein is WRONG and says it several times throughout the show for anyone that might have idols. Greene was quite harsh with Dr. Einstein as well. At least Dr. Einstein had the grace to ask Newton's forgiveness in his 1946 autobiography and acknowledged Newton's brilliance. Greene mentions nothing about Einstein's role in the early years of quantum mechanics which gives a distorted view of Einstein's work and the alternate field theory path he chose to follow towards establishing a new foundation for physics. Physicists of the early 1900's were just as interested in finding a unified theory as String Theorists of today. Attempts to base all of physics on mechanics failed as did attempts to base all of physics on electromagnetism. Einstein's forte was statistical mechanics and he noted not one problem in the foundations of physics but two. A.I. Miller comments on this on page 137 of his analysis of the Special Theory of Relativity.
Dr. Einstein acknowledged his weakness in mathematics but had a great instinct for physical principles.
In the early 1900's there were great physicists like Ernst Mach that were still skeptical about atoms having a physical existence just as today there are doubts about strings being physical. Einstein was very impressed with kinetic theory and statistical mechanics and his Phd dissertation sought to show the physical existence of atoms in Brownian motion.
There are numerous instances of Einstein's contributions to atomic theory and quantum mechanics from his photon analogy with gases in his photoelectric paper and his use of a principle to quantize the action of electronic orbits, that turns out to be an optico-mechanical resonance principle, to the idea of stimulated emission of radiation. However, Einstein had very good reasons for parting company with quantum mechanics as formulated by Bohr and Heisenberg.
Sure, Minkowski and Hilbert could run mathematical circles around a lazy dog like Einstein, but physics is not mathematics.
You and I have the advantage of hindsight and far more information that men like Dr. Einstein did not have access to. To talk about others being WRONG is not constructive physics at all. As Poincare said, "Ruins may still be good for something." and "One geometry is not more correct than another, only more convenient."
 
  • #35
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Brian Greene and the message of the show on PBS

Dear laserblue,

I think that I know Brian Greene better than you do, and I am absolutely sure that he did not want to compare the dog to the other people (non-physicists). Brian is an extremely peaceful person, and he was trying to ask a profound philosophical question whether the humans - all humans, including you - are able to understand the intellectual design underlying Nature at the deepest level.

The dogs might have some problems with learning GR, but his attempt to teach the dog Einstein's equations was not meant as a humiliation of non-physicists! We should not be paranoic, I think. The program was assuming that the spectators view themselves as humans who are much better in maths than the dog - they are on the same side as Brian. I apologize to all dogs who are reading this post - it was not meant as an attack on you either.

Also, you had to watch another show if you think that the show was not respectful to Newton and Einstein. These are probably the two biggest heroes of physics, and the show displayed this fact pretty clearly and presented the whole classical physics as a conflict between the ideas of these two Gentlemen. Their theories are still deep and pragmatically speaking true - they are just not true if we want to understand the more fundamental workings of the Universe. Once we want to ask some questions about high-velocity, large mass, or on the contrary, about the microscopic world, then Newton's, Einstein's, and other ideas are simply WRONG.

Let me repeat the word once again, because it is very important. These theories, despite their magnificent success during the centuries, are not quite right. They're WRONG. I think that it's amazing how these old Newtonian ideas - that used to look so obviously true to us - can be so terribly wrong once we probe the questions beyond the everyday life. The fact that we are making progress, that we are making to show that the previous images of reality are incomplete, obsolete, and not quite true, is simply amazing, and it shows both the depth of reality as well as the power of human creativity and curiousity. I have no idea how can someone be unimpressed or even irritated by the amazing progress that allows us to show that Newton and later also Einstein and others were wrong. I am sure that most people who wanted to watch a program like that - both scientists as well as non-scientists - were sharing this fascination by our ability to challenge the paradigms that seemed so obvious in the past.

You must have misunderstood the program if you complain that the program wanted to suggest that Einstein did not contribute the key contributions to the search for the unified theory. It was the whole point and the main thread - a little bit poetic and artificially flavored thread - of the program to show that this quest for the unified theory is Einstein's baby, and the string theorists are simply following his dreams, although with a bit more modern and sophisticated (and more quantum) tools.

All of us admire Einstein. For some of us, he's like God, for some of us, he's a human being who could have flaws but who has essentially started modern physics as we know it. His instinct was amazing, but it is simply true that his research in field theory after General Relativity had been finished was misled, and there were other important discoveries, too - some of them turned out to be very deep and true despite Einstein's negative feelings about them.

I disagree that Einstein had good reasons to be skeptical about quantum mechanics as formulated by Bohr, Heisenberg, Dirac, and others. Einstein was simply wrong, even though it is easy to share his mistaken point of view. In attempts to advocate his wrong opinion, he (co)discovered some interesting physics - namely the EPR effect - but this interesting physics eventually made it even more clear that Einstein's opinions were not correct. The current interpretation of quantum mechanics might be slightly more acceptable for Einstein, but it is conceivable that he would have problems even today. Einstein has started the revolution on many fronts, and he had certainly all the rights to be wrong.

All the best
Luboš
 
  • #36
Download the movie

Hi,

Could anyone please tell me where I might download(not stream) those movies? The link posted above no more hosts them.

Thank you
quantumcloud
 
  • #37
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Elegant Universe

Thanks for your reply Lubo and for being civil about it.
I understand the point Greene was trying to make with the dog.
The show was o.k. It was interesting. Thank you Mr. Greene and company!

It's just that I got bad vibes from the first part. Everyone knows Newton was wrong and Maxwell was wrong and Einstein was wrong. Planck even thought Einstein was wrong about quantizing the electromagnetic field and maybe he was. Some people consider that to be the very essence of science - Continually learning we were wrong, unlearning that and relearning something new. I was wrong about Einstein's doctoral dissertation which was entitled "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions"."It shows how to calculate Avogadro's number and the size of molecules" (http://pup.princeton.edu/titles/6272.html. [Broken]).
There was a lot of emphasis on General Relativity in Elegant Universe and a very specific interpretation of it (which is popular but not the only possible one) but nothing about Einstein's contributions to Quantum Mechanics and atomic theory.He was clearly looking for a unified theory in several directions at once in his prime.
Anyway, saying so and so was wrong adds nothing constructive for me. It's amazing that men of creative genius could ever be so right in the first place!
 
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  • #38
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The first hour

I took another look at HOUR 1 to see if perhaps I was being too harsh towards McMaster's script.
What bothers me about the first hour is the melodramatic and confrontational tone of the script.Maybe this is a good thing to get the attention of modern young upstarts but it paints a picture that isn't very faithful to reality. It's a caricature at best. The first few minutes sound like some kind of murderous horror crime story about to be told, rather than a little chat between the host and audience. (O.K, so I looked at the back of the book first.)
The portrait of Albert Einstein that is presented to a first time viewer is a very sad one. He comes across as a deluded crackpot in the first section ( A THEORY OF EVERYTHING?). The phrases used such as "...relentlessly sought...", "...a notepad close at hand...,(as though he thought of nothing else), "FURIOUSLY trying to come up with the equations...", "convinced he was on the verge of the most important discovery in the history of science..." are the way most people would describe an obsessed crackpot.The scene of someone up late at night pacing reinforces this view. Don Pendleton wrote a fictional novel "CATACLYSM" with this kind of insomniac character that wrote equations down "that would choke a computer" and was dismissed as a unified theory crackpot by the other scientists who were not from Palomar Observatory.
In the other sections of The Elegant Universe, the phrases used are confrontational such as "...squaring off with the father of gravity...", "flew in the face", "the young upstart", and "still working his day job". It makes for good docudrama one has to admit but Einstein certainly never saw it this way.At most, he made a minor modification to Newtonian Mechanics just as Lorentz made minor modifications to Maxwell's theory.
Finally, he is "left behind". A tragically sad one hit wonder who came up with RELATIVITY and nothing after that as far as one is told. He apparently wasted the last half of his life chasing an impossible dream.There is no mention of his papers on the photoelectric effect (for which he won his Nobel Prize),brownian motion, specific heat,quantization of the action of electronic orbits,stimulated emission of radiation etc.
I might agree with the idea that Einstein hit a wall in his later years, but the same problems in the foundations of physics that he worked on are still with us after a good century and still not solved to everyone's satisfaction.(See Philippe LeCorbeiller's projection into the future in CRYSTALS AND THE FUTURE OF PHYSICS in Sci.Am. 1953). As a man of creative thought, Einstein did about as much as one man could possibly do in his day. If only he could have looked at the back of the book!
 
  • #39
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Originally posted by lumidek
I disagree that Einstein had good reasons to be skeptical about quantum mechanics as formulated by Bohr, Heisenberg, Dirac, and others. Einstein was simply wrong, even though it is easy to share his mistaken point of view. In attempts to advocate his wrong opinion, he (co)discovered some interesting physics - namely the EPR effect - but this interesting physics eventually made it even more clear that Einstein's opinions were not correct. The current interpretation of quantum mechanics might be slightly more acceptable for Einstein, but it is conceivable that he would have problems even today.
Einstein has not questioned the correctness of the predictions of quantum theory, he has questioned the completeness. I see no evidence that this position is wrong. I see also no evidence that the EPR criterion of reality is wrong.

That a more complete description is possible is proven by Bohmian mechanics. You may like it or not, you cannot deny its existence.

The violation of Bell´s inequality proves that a realistic theory
cannot be Einstein-causal. For a realist, it simply means that violations of Bell´s inequality are indirect observations of violations of Einstein causality.
 
  • #40
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I am trying to watch the video but it is really small, does this have to do with my computer, or is the stream supposed to be that small.

I also cant get it to play now. When i try to use realplayer I get an error saying " cannot establish connection to server" and when i used quicktime my internet just closes asking me if i want to send a report or not.
 
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  • #41
ZapperZ
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TOE?

I probably should have just let sleeping dogs lie, but against my better judgement, I will jump into this one... :)

The one major disappointment, but not surprising, of The Elegant Universe (both the book and the TV documentary) is the omission of the significant point of view of the Anderson-Laughlin-Pines (ALP) "axis". It appears that, at least in the documentary, the only dessenting view was presented by Sheldon Glashow (which, BTW, was one of the rumored reasons why he left Harvard for BU - that he thought most theorists at Harvard in that field have abandoned phenomenology in favor of String, Superstring, etc...)

The ALP axis (as I would like to call it) contradicts the popular views among particle/high energy physicists, championed by Steven Weinberg, that the unification of all the 4 basic forces that includes the varification of quantum gravity, signifies a "Theory of Everything" (TOE). This point of view was alluded to several times in the documentary - that getting GR and QM to mearge would mean a TOE.

ALP - who are all condensed matter theorists and who are well-known in their own rights (Anderson and Laughlin are both Nobel Laureates) - argues that what Weinberg is arguing is not a TOE for physics/universe, but a TOE for REDUCTIONISM. A grand unified theory (GUT) would only be a complete explanation of the behavior of the universe at the elementary, single-particle scale, but not does not necessary mean that we have a complete description of all the phenomena in the universe. ALP points out that there are so-called EMERGENT phenomena that can't be explained simply by knowing all the elementary interactions and by simply adding more and more interaction - i.e. this isn't simply a matter of higher complexities. As Anderson likes to say "More Is Different!"

In his Nobel speech, Laughlin described an exercise he once did onto his poor, unsuspecting students taking a graduate class in QM.[1] He gave the students a take-home exam in which he asked the students to derive superfluidity from First Principles - meaning knowing the full set of microscopic equation of motion, derive the phenomena of superfludity. Of course, the students could not, and no one can! Superfluidity, superconductivity, fractional quantum hall effect, magnetism, phase transition, etc, etc., are all "emergent" phenomena that occur as a collective effect. These phenomena disappear, as Laughlin points out, when you take the system apart and analyze each individual component within the system. These are many-body effects that simply can't be "derived" with the individual properties as the starting point.

Condensed matter physicists have long known of this, and various principles that came out of condensed matter, such as the Higgs mechanism and the principle of broken gauge symmetry, have now been adopted in various other fields of physics, including particle/high energy. However, the fact that these emergent phenomena are different and not simply just added complexities, seem to not have been heard by many camps, especially among popular views. I think it is why those who are working in the field of quantum gravity, string, etc, still may have an impression that such unification signifies a TOE. ALP have clearly pointed out why such notion may be a fallacy.[2,3] A unified theory doesn't not imply a theory of everything.

Anyway, didn't mean to throw a wrench into the whole thing, but I feel that it should be pointed out that eminent and large number of physicists do not share the same philosophical view on GUT=TOE thingy.

Zz.

[1] R.B. Laughlin, Rev. Mod. Phys. v.71, p.863 (1999).
[2] R.B. Laughlin and D. Pines, PNAS v.97, p.28 (2000) or get it at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/97/1/28.pdf .
[3] R.B. Laughlin et al., PNAS v.97, p.32 (2000) or get it at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/97/1/32.pdf .
 
  • #42
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ZapperZ said:
The ALP axis (as I would like to call it) contradicts the popular views among particle/high energy physicists, championed by Steven Weinberg, that the unification of all the 4 basic forces that includes the varification of quantum gravity, signifies a "Theory of Everything" (TOE). This point of view was alluded to several times in the documentary - that getting GR and QM to mearge would mean a TOE.
Just because a particle or interaction has not be observed in the lab yet does not mean that it does not exist. A TOE would have to go further than just uniting the forces and explaining the known particles. It would have to prove from first principles that there are no other forces or particles even possible. And to prove that something does not exist requires justifying the first principles that say is does not exist. That justification cannot rely on observations to date, for that would be circular reasoning. So the only thing you're left with is having to derive physics from logic itself.
 
  • #43
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Mike2 said:
Just because a particle or interaction has not be observed in the lab yet does not mean that it does not exist. A TOE would have to go further than just uniting the forces and explaining the known particles. It would have to prove from first principles that there are no other forces or particles even possible. And to prove that something does not exist requires justifying the first principles that say is does not exist. That justification cannot rely on observations to date, for that would be circular reasoning. So the only thing you're left with is having to derive physics from logic itself.
I'm not even sure if the point you are bringing up has anything to do with what I posted. I certainly have no argument in the sense that there is a separate issue in terms of justifying that there are no other fundamental forces.

What the ALP axis promotes is that, even IF we know all the fundamental forces, even if we know all the interactions, we still do not have the ability to explain everything based on such knowledge. The higher-order emergent phoenomena can't be derived that way. Thus, even if the universe has 4, 5, 6, 7, etc fundamental forces, and if they are all unified into one consistent theory, this is still not a "theory of everything", because "everything" has to include the emergent phenomena and it has already been shown that there are no one-to-one derivation of such things.

My explanation here may not be as succinct as that already presented in the references I gave.

Zz.
 
  • #44
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Could a reduction of entropy account for these "emergent phenomena"? For all the phenomena you mention represents emerging states of order. Does particle physics account for entropy?
 
  • #45
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Mike2 said:
Could a reduction of entropy account for these "emergent phenomena"? For all the phenomena you mention represents emerging states of order. Does particle physics account for entropy?
I'm not sure what or why particle physics have anything to do with this, since the emerging phenomena that I cited are all in condensed matter physics. In many of the emergent phenomena, such as superconductivity and superfluidity, the transition into those phenomena is a phase transition, typically a 2nd order phase transition. In such cases, there need not be any change in the thermodynamics state variables, or equation of state.

Zz.
 
  • #46
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s

ranyart said:
This is a deliberate action for the observer in order to Understand 'M-Theory'..everybody is everybody else!..or we are all Ed Wittens!

It is about OBSERVER DEPENDENCE, from where you look from?

Will (not the will from Lost-In-Space :wink: )..the REAL Ed Witten please step forward?
Like others stated it was Paul Steinhardt, I rewatched the dvd last night and this morning, and it is correctly labeled... is for some reason it mislabed in the streaming version... how did you come up with paul = ed
 
  • #47
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Tom McCurdy said:
Like others stated it was Paul Steinhardt, I rewatched the dvd last night and this morning, and it is correctly labeled... is for some reason it mislabed in the streaming version... how did you come up with paul = ed
Ah..this thread is way past its sell by date?..I have to watch the video again, but if I placed the above statement, then it relates to a context that was relevant at the time!

I assume it to be part of an intentional 'trick' to see how observers (veiwers) perception matches their ability to take information in?..I do recall the part of the video in question was about 'Quantum-interpretations', but anyway give me a couple of hours so I can watch my video again, and I will get you the full quantified version that I was trying to convey, of course you could just e-mail the editors and find out why such an obvious mistake got past the cutting room floor?..my opinion is that it was intentional :smile:

You may incorporate this 'insight' into your lecture if you wish
 
  • #48
cronxeh
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tenzin said:
It was so hoakey and cheesey. Not to mention that many of the things they say are completely stupid. There are plenty of intellegent people out there but no more great thinkers. Physicists have forgotten how to think and become obcessed with the math.
perhaps you should learn how to spell before you start criticizing those professionals in their respected fields?
 
  • #49
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I thought the special was OK, and I personally learned a lot, but the repetitiveness did seem a little....______(fill in the blank) :rolleyes: As for quicktime, if you had trouble watching it (I did, damn hard to get linux to cooperate with quicktime, esp. in a browser) Try downloading the videos from the posted link, they worked for me. I had trouble in windows with the video crashing my browser too, not sure what the cause. Hope that helps you

_-Dan
 
  • #50
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Olias said:
Ah..this thread is way past its sell by date?..I have to watch the video again, but if I placed the above statement, then it relates to a context that was relevant at the time!

I assume it to be part of an intentional 'trick' to see how observers (veiwers) perception matches their ability to take information in?..I do recall the part of the video in question was about 'Quantum-interpretations', but anyway give me a couple of hours so I can watch my video again, and I will get you the full quantified version that I was trying to convey, of course you could just e-mail the editors and find out why such an obvious mistake got past the cutting room floor?..my opinion is that it was intentional :smile:

You may incorporate this 'insight' into your lecture if you wish
lol sorry i didn't see this earlier again my post past its due date anyway thanks for the response
 

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