“Cosmos,” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, returns to Fox on Sunday with a new episode exploring cameras, the scientific method, and the composition of the universe. “Hiding in the Light” includes a look at the contributions of Ibn al-Haytham, described as the “father of the modern scientific method.”
Scientists conduct experiments in a specific manner known as the scientific method. This process not only creates a framework for how a scientist does research, it also allows for better accuracy and results that can be tested and accepted by the scientific community.
The scientific method serves as the backbone of research, and while it is accepted as standard practice, Ibn al-Haytham was one of the first scientists to use the process in his experiments, notes BBC. For Ibn al-Haytham getting a result, while important, being able to reproduce the outcome of an experiment was necessary for it to be determined a success. In the heroes of science segment of “Cosmos,” Ibn al-Haytham will be voiced by Alfred Molina.
Ibn al-Haytham’s work with light is a perfect segue into the rest of “Hiding in the Light.” According to Fox’s synopsis, the episode explores how light works, including how it travels, how we see and how we use it. Cameras are one example of using light to project images, and in the clip “The First Movie,” Tyson discusses the phenomenon created by Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu and the camera obscura.
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"Hiding in the Light" will go beyond visible light and explore the work of William Herschel and his discovery of infrared light. Herschel's work with light was previously profiled on "Cosmos" in episode 4, "A Sky Full of Ghosts." In the second "Cosmos" clip, "The Same Star Stuff," Tyson discusses the work of German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer, which led to the discovery that everything in the visible universe, from planets to stars to people, are composed of the same elements.
"Cosmos" episode 5, "Hiding in the Light" airs on Fox on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT and on National Geographic at 10 p.m. EDT on Monday.