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article imageReview: BBC's Human Universe asks the question: Why are we here? Special

By Kev Hedges     Oct 17, 2014 in Science
Each one of us is made from matter, so what unites every person living on our planet and how did we get to be here and exist. Professor Brian Cox attempts to explain in his BBC documentary, the Human Planet.
Ask a child swimming in the River Ganges why we are living and existing at all and he might say, "Because there is the sun and water and we can live with those elements." But as Prof Brian Cox says in his new ground-breaking documentary — the scientific answer may not be far away.
The program touches upon some of the wonders of the universe that still baffle scientists and ordinary folk alike. Take a river, any river, and notice it meanders in a seemingly random way, just look at any river and you'll see it twists and turns to go around some rock formation or ravine. But, as Prof Cox suggests, this is not random at all.
If you take the length of a meandering section of any river and then measure its width the ratio will be 11:1 that is the length of the river from the start of its meandering to the end is 11 times longer than its width. This ration is always between 10 and 14 on any river in the world, or indeed the universe. So that includes the dried up rivers on Mars and the methane rivers on Titan; the same orderly principle applies.
There is order in the universe, which this documentary actually sets out to prove. Even the Hindu religion determines that the deities came after we were created. The documentary sets out to highlight a number of universal principles that determine order. It appears that we live in a perfect world and on a perfect planet; it feels as though it has been made for us, Prof Cox explains.
Our planet orbits at just the right distance at just the right star (our Sun) and has a temperature that is just right for us all to exist. The universe is expanding at just the right rate for the elements of life to begin.
But we might not have been here at all if it wasn't for that huge meteor smashing into our planet about 66 million years ago and wiping out the dinosaurs. The only reason that collision happened was because of another asteroid knocking the killer-meteorite into the path of planet Earth. Just some random collision in space that happened, but if that collision did not happen it's likely dinosaurs would have still ruled our planet today.
The most intriguing part of The Human Universe has to be Prof Cox's explanation that before the Big Bang there was NOT nothing. There was an energy that caused the Big Bang to occur and there may well be many more universes being created all the time, right now.
The Human Universe can be seen on the BBC iPlayer (for viewers in the UK) until November 14. Interestingly, Prof Brian Cox also attempts to find out whether we will ever find alien life by interviewing Dr Frank Drake.
More about Bbc documentary, Brian cox, Einstein's theory, Matter, iPlayer universe
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