Thursday, June 21, 2012

Through the Wormhole

Through the Wormhole on the Science Channel is arguably the best science show out there and highly addictive. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it poses some of the most interesting questions I've ever encountered, especially on television, and handles a lot of fringe science, as well as theoretical physics (I'm grateful that they explain the topics in layman's terms).

Last night, I caught a rerun episode called, "Is the Universe Alive?" and every segment sent my imagination into a tailspin. I'm still thinking about the proposed theory that the universe is a living organism, which breeds via blackholes. Though I sometimes wondered if the universe as a whole might be alive and have thoughts much akin to the notion of God, not once did I ever consider how, if it was an organism, it would replicate. The offspring would go hand in hand with the multiverse concept too. Instead of realities simply growing alongside each other, they would actually be given birth, possibly resembling our own yet improving generation after generation in the same way life on earth adapts and evolves. I find the idea fascinating. It gives a whole new meaning to, "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" on an epic scale.

Yet the "big picture" is not all the show covers. The new episode following the rerun was on memory: can we change who we are? It discussed the importance of memory, current studies, and proposed the idea that in the future humans might be able to not only erase bad memories that cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but manipulate memories to change our personalities entirely. In one example, lab rats had a gene removed and became incapable of formulating memories. Another study demonstrated how a drug could block an important particle in the brain and stop the link between memories on mice, erasing what they had demonstrated having learned.

Other topics have included the evolution of technology, life on other planets, string theory, wormholes, blackholes, time travel, and multiverses. What I enjoy most about the show is that a lot of subject matter people think is only the product of science fiction is portrayed and discussed scientifically. Leaders of each field are interviewed, their theories explored, and we're shown what these scientists are attempting to do to prove their theories; sometimes we're given a glimpse of their mathematical equations that look like hieroglyphs to me.

I recommend this show to anyone interested in science, specifically theoretical physics, a person looking for interesting questions, or a writer in need of new ideas. I have yet to see an episode of Through the Wormhole that didn't make me think long and hard well after the show was over.

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