Three Years on and its “PBS Space (and) Time” What went wrong?

This was a great series of YouTube videos from PBS Digital Studios.  The  <15 minute video on the ‘Speed of Light’ (PBS2) contains most of the essential Maxwellian physics of Jackson’s  Classical Electrodynamics, the huge volume that still haunts the memory of many a physic student. That’s how rapid-fire this series is!
 
However, for the physicist, it was the first indication that this is not a simplicity-based series.  It is ever-so-leaning towards the opposite, and unproven multiverse, math-model based view of spacetime. The discovery of gravitational waves and fluctuations and their quantum foundation, gravitons, usher in a new era of physical discussion.  At present most scientific thinkers cannot distinguish between multiverse thinking  and modern String Theory.  Nor between gravity, spacetime, and particles.  We wrote on this website 3 years ago, “the coming polemical dialogue (for without scientific evidence and analysis what else, but polemics and ideology can dialogue?) has been initiated quite well in PBS Spacetime.  In a very concentrated – if not very popular – form.”
It did not stay unpopular for long, becoming quite popular in the last year after gravitational fluctuations were discovered at the LIGOs and VIRGO. With more evidence for gravitational fluctuations and a Nobel Prize, the ‘PBS Space (and) Time’ has gotten more idealistic and off-topic.  Was it just the influence of individual donors trumping clarity?  Not really. Although, a primitive first impulse wishes to assign some kind of “blame”.
It was the vain attempt to “make popular” that which cannot be made popular.
Feynman got close, but realized he could not, pointing out that for now our understanding bridges any attempt to find a common demoninator. Sagan was even closer – if possible – but also failed. And Tyson was our best attempt yet. All pointed out that the listener cannot be a passive sponge, but actively attempting to comprehend. Without a deeper understanding and knowledge of mathematics and and physics by the people, even the greatest minds are at a loss. Once we set on a course to “explain” physics “without the math and the work”, the temptation to find a common denominator arises.  There are none, of course. We cannot “dumb-down” physics without losing something of its simplicity.  The alternative is to speak to the questions of a certain ‘elite donor’, and their own “likes” and “dis-likes”, as a guru or teacher talks about esoteric religious knowledge which Spacetime is not.

 

Here are links to the key YouTube videos in the early PBS series: 

Is Gravity An Illusion?  => PBS0

Can a Circle Be a Straight Line? => PBS1

The Speed of Light is NOT About Light ! => PBS2

Are Space and Time An Illusion? => PBS3

The Real Meaning of E=mc² ! => PBS4

Can You Trust Your Eyes in Spacetime? => PBS5

General Relativity & Curved Spacetime Explained! => PBS6

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