a short introduction to the mind of the universe

A short introduction to the mind of the universe

The mind of the universe is a journey along and beyond the borders of science. It is the first open source science series ever, and it offers an online learning experience.

Get to know the mind of the universe.

"As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future." - Julian Huxley

Our scientific knowledge is growing faster than ever.

The mind of the universe is a global network of this knowledge, and at the same time a glimpse of its rapid evolution.

It is freely available for everyone, at any time, and has UNESCO as its ambassador.

Robbert Dijkgraaf

In The Mind of The Universe, great scientists of our era illuminate the world of tomorrow. They take us into the future, transgressing the borders of their disciplines.    

All of the interview footage is freely available for everyone to use and modify, to make sure the mind of the universe contributes to the growth of our knowledge.

Three universities: Erasmus Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden, have taken VPRO’s The Mind of the Universe as the starting point of an Online Learning Experience. Each learning experience will challenge you to dig deeper into your topic of interest, explore the cutting-edge subjects in a critical manner and debate scientific and ethical issues with people around the world.
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Because of the mind of the universe's global nature, UNESCO decided to officially support the series. The open nature of the mind of the universe allows every broadcaster in the world to broadcast this series, in any form desired. Robbert Dijkgraaf is the host of the Dutch series. The Dutch version of the mind of the universe was aired from May 7, 2017.

The mind of the universe consists of ten episodes. In each episode, a typical human quality takes central stage, in which the scientists and their research are embedded.

1. the creator

Creating is a deed that captivates minds. Today, we are better creators than ever before. We will see how we can play with conditions for creating life, make anything we can think of with the code of life itself, and replace parts of our body.

Will science render us creators in the primordial sense of the word?

2. the conqueror

Humankind conquered the world, in order to survive, and conquers his fellow humans with new ideas. We will see how we as a species have conquered the earth, how we still compete with viruses, and how quantum theory conquers China.

How are conquests and science connected?

3. the maker

The maker grasps humankind as builders. We make new constructions with building blocks from nature, which we manipulate at the same time. We will see how that leads us to new materials, new connections between people and new bursts of creativity.

Will we be able to build everything we wish for?

4. the explorer

The explorer peers beyond our known borders and discloses the unknown. We will get a glimpse of the secrets of life, both on earth and elsewhere in the universe, and zoom in on the peculiar history of our own planet.

What are the borders yet to cross?

5. the illusionist

As humans, we construct our view of reality from the input provided by our senses. How does that work? And how can we make a robot experience something similar?

What would the world be like with human minds and artificial ones living together?

6. the dreamer

It is through our wildest dreams that we achieve new knowledge. We see dreams of feeding the world with insects, dreams of a synthesis of the fundamental theories of physics, and dreams of our future as extraterrestrials.

What if science renders the unimaginable imaginable?

7. the searcher

We keep expanding our knowledge, and sometimes we know exactly what we are looking for. Patterns in apparent chaos, new elements or a key for translating old and forgotten languages.

We are sure they exist. But how can we find them?

8. the player

Humans and animals play and this renders them familiar with their environments. We zoom in on scientists who combine play and mathematics, and see how playing with matter yields new materials with special properties.

How are humans as players related to science?

9. the thinker

Our brains are constantly aware of our place in reality. How does this work for animals? Does an objective reality even exist, and does it leave any room for something like god?

Where will our thinking lead us?

10. the connector

Humankind, society and technology are dramatically influenced by science. In this episode we connect all the knowledge of The Mind of the Universe in an overarching outlook on the future.

What is the future of humanity, society, and knowledge?