Through the Wormhole: Season 2
Personally, I have always been fascinated with the sciences. Much of my education was geared towards pursuing a career in boo-medical research so any time the opportunity arises to extend my understanding of the current state of scientific knowledge I jump on it. When I was a child one of the only shows on television that directly address this unbounded scientific curiosity was ‘Mr. Wizard where the fatherly host would demonstrate fundamental scientific principles usually through entertaining experiments employing common household items. Inevitably after an episode I would run to the neighborhood library to study the subject just demonstrated. Even though the embryonic space program was focusing a lot of attention on science it was still not a popular basis for television programming. Fortunately for inquisitive children and adults this is not the case today. With the growth of niche cable networks like ‘History’, ‘Discovery’ and ‘Science’ channels a myriad of topics are handled in depth with incredible diversity all in an entertaining format. One such series stands out from the pack especially for those of us who can tell you who Don Herbert was without Google. This amazing series is ‘Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole’. There are currently a plethora of series like this current being broadcast but there is one difference with this that places it on a level all its own. It happens to be the association of Mr. Freeman but perhaps not the obvious reasons. While there is no doubt that his trademark rich voice adds a considerable spark to anything he narrates his participation here is considerable more. He begins each episode with a journey down memory lane to his boyhood in Mississippi. He regales us with stories about how his curiosity was piqued by some local event or mystery. He then relates that directly to the topic for the episode so that what lies beyond a tall fence becomes the launching point for a consideration of what lies beyond the edge of the universe. Throughout the episodes’ explanation he frequently returns to that initiating incident helping to clarify the frequently complex topics.
The reason this format works so well is subtle. For those of us in the baby boomer generation Mr. Freeman provides a peer experience, something most of us can directly relate to. In many cases we have had similar experiences and thoughts. For younger members of the audience Freeman comes across much like a favorite grandfather on a lazy weekend afternoon. He talks about his own childhood in such a way that no matter what your age he has you on the edge of your seat in rapt attention. Freeman humanizes the material relating it directly to our own lives and personal experience. If you think that quasars, neutron stars and quantum entanglement have nothing to do with everyday life Freeman provides the perfect foundation to disprove that hypothesis. He not only humanizes the esoteric subject matter he makes it directly relevant to the ‘real world’.
Is There Life After Death?
This episode demonstrates the primary purpose of the series namely to tackle the questions that have plagued mankind for eons. Almost every single culture in history has pondered this question but know we have the tools necessary to probe the issue deep down of the quantum level. The afterlife examined with such heady matters as string theory and entanglement that potentially could connect the living with the dearly departed.
Is There an Edge to the Universe?
Most of us have pondered the extent of the term ‘Infinite’. It is inherently difficult to wrap your head around the concept of something that extends forever, without end. In many cases it requires relying on a deity to retain your sanity but this episode offers several hypothetical explanations for the edge of the universe or perhaps the lack of a definitive edge. This goes to the very shape of the universe and the formation of reality.
Does Time Really Exist?
We all take time for granted. It rules our lives keeping lives in a nice, linear fashion. It defines the progression of our lives from appointments for lunch to our wedding day. We deal with it, use it, plan our lives with it but rarely stop to consider it nature or composition. Time has been described as a burring fire or arrow but these terms do not begin to touch on the substance of time.
Are There More than Three Dimensions?
Our physical world is bound by our perception of three dimension; height, width and depth. Time might be considered a fourth dimension but that is up for debate. This episode considers whether more dimensions exist or perhaps even less than three.
Is There a Sixth Sense?
This episode is a direct extension of the previous one. We perceive reality through the senses of sight, sound, taste and touch. This episode examines the possibility of other senses beyond the ones normally available to us. Delving the cutting edge research of neuroscience this episode probes what has been believed by many; the ability to sense things outside the spectrum of our normal perception.
Can We Travel Faster than Light?
Albert Eisenstein postulated that nothing could possibly travel at the speed of light. If this is true than we might never travel to distant planets and we have to devise a different hypothesis for the uniformity of the universe.
Can We Live Forever?
Throughout history one of the most coveted attributes is immortality. For some reason we age even though there are factors at work to repair our bodies extending down to the sub molecular level. Still we get old and ultimately die. The question here is one that has crossed every human mind at some point, why is there death.
What Do Aliens Look Like?
All forms of Science fiction has forwarded ideas of what extraterrestrial life would look like. In most cases in the movies it is usually humanoid as result of the need to relate it to a human actor. This episode considers a wide variety of factors including type of star, ambient gravity, atmospheric composition and biological imperatives. The results are considerably different from the traditional little gray men.