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The Beauty of Diagrams

The Beauty of Diagrams is a BBC documentary series presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, exploring the stories behind some of the most familiar scientific diagrams. A picture is worth a thousand words. Diagrams have unique capability to express complex ideas simply. The series consists of six episodes about diagrams that have helped us understand complex scientific theories and change our perceptions. The diagrams dealt with in the series include: Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man to show the perfect human body; Copernicus's diagram to explain his idea of the heliocentric universe; the diagram drawn by Newton to explain his prism experiments; Nightingale's Rose Diagram; Watson and Crick's extraordinary diagram of the Double Helix; and the Pioneer Plaque designed to explain mankind to extra-terrestrial life.

Episode 1 - Vitruvian Man
This episode looks at Leonardo da Vinci's world-famous diagram of the perfect human body, which has many layers from anatomy to architecture.

Episode 2 - Copernicus
This episode examines Copernicus's extraordinary diagram to explain his idea of the heliocentric universe which changed forever our understanding of the Cosmos.

Episode 3 - Newton's Prism
This episode is about Isaac Newton's prism experiments to reveal the nature of light. To explain what he had done, Newton created a diagram.

Episode 4 - Florence Nightingale
This episode tells the story of Florence Nightingale who wrote a report on why soldiers had died in large numbers during the Crimean War of 1854 - 6. The report included her revolutionary and controversial 'Rose Diagram'.

Episode 5 - DNA
This episode features the diagrammatic image of the double helix of DNA structure, which was included in the article Francis Crick and James Watson announced in Nature magazine in April 1953.

Episode 6 - Pioneer Plaque
This episode is about the Pioneer plaques the space probe Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carried when they were launched. The Pioneer Plaque diagram was designed to explain fundamental facts about Earth and mankind to extra-terrestrial life.


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