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The Beginning and End of the Universe

In this two-part series, Prof Jim Al-Khalili tackles the biggest subject of all: the universe.

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Jim Al Khalili looks towards an observatory Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC In this 2-part series, Prof Jim Al-Khalili tackles the biggest subject of all: the universe.

Through a series of critical observations and experiments that revolutionised our understanding of our world, Jim guides us through the greatest cosmic detective story of all. Taking us from the beginning of the universe to the end of time, Jim answers the question: where did the universe come from and how will it end?

His story is rooted in the 20th century, of the men and women instrumental in uncovering this cosmic mystery. It is a story of maverick triumph with huge leaps of imagination and serendipity. Of human strength and fallibility, determination in the face of adversity, belligerence in the face of evidence. But ultimately it is a tale of the triumph of the scientific method: of experimentation, prediction and observation.

Jim takes us to Atlantic Island mountaintops, home to the largest telescope in the world, where he gazes into the furthest reaches of space. He takes us deep underground where he witnesses an experiment to recreate a moment less than a millionth of a second after the big bang itself. Jim reveals what has been called humankind's greatest achievement: understanding how the universe began and how it might end.

Watch on BBC Four

Episode 2 is broadcast on Tuesday 29 March on BBC Four at 21:00. Scroll down for more information and to see how you can explore the universe on OpenLearn. Visit the BBC's series pages to learn more about the episodes.

The End

Prof Jim Al Khalili carries us into the distant future to try to discover how the universe will end: with a bang or a whimper? He reveals a universe far stranger than anyone imagined and, at the frontier of our understanding, encounters a mysterious and enigmatic force that promises to change physics forever.

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
The Beginning It's the greatest question in science: How did the Universe begin? Read more
The End How will the universe end—with a bang or a whimper? Read more