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How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries - Adam Savage

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Adam Savage walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed -- Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849.

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Armand Fizeau is also famous for his experiment measuring the speed of light through water; the experiment definitively discredited Isaac Newton’s theory that light is composed of small, discrete particles that travel at a finite velocity and possess kinetic energy (the corpuscle theory of light). Research Newton’s theory and Fizeau’s experiment. Then investigate a modern-day application of controlling and manipulating the speed of light—quantum computers—by watching a “Physics for the 21st Century” video from Annenberg Media at http://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/unit_vid.html?unit=7.
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