Secrets of the Universe 

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I reviewed another product in the same series from Focus five weeks ago ‘Secrets of the Mind’. That I seem to remember came of two CD’s this comes on one, does this mean we know more about the mind than the universe?

The bold statement on the front of the DVD box reads 'everything you need to know about The Big Bang, Astrophysics and Space'. The CD needs to be in the Rom whenever the product is used so only 34MB of hard disc space is taken by the installation and I suspect that a doctored copy of Quick Time is what takes most of that.

Once past the opening credits the front screen is rather confusing with a range of graphics, the only words are Secrets of the Universe, Labs and Round Table. However if you lay the mouse cursor over the eight small graphics a short explanation of what they do is explained and should you hover it near the foot of the overall graphic a pop up menu appears with some extra options.

Just like the 'Secrets of the Mind' it has the cross to bear of being an Educational product and those not sold directly into schools or colleges always seem to die a death however worthy the content.

This has some very interesting topics and some nice experiments but I still feel most will regard it as extra school or college and why am I being punished as a responce.

The main sections - highlighted by graphic - are Space Time Travelling, Destination Black Hole, The Essence of Reality, The Odd World of Quantum Physics, Photons' Power, Mysteries of Matter, Understanding The Universe and Before the Big Bang.

All seem to open with a spoken introduction often posing more questions than answers, in fact while lots of things are explained and my tiny knowledge of the Universe has now increased to small, perhaps the only thing about me that is small.

Taking the last section as an example after the opening remarks there are eight more in depth sections covering Where Did The Big Bang Come From?, How I Became Interested In Those Questions, Why Is Our Universe So Flat?, Inflation is a Colossal Expansion of the Universe at the very Beginning, How does the Inflation Solve the Flat Universe Puzzle?, Can we Create a Universe in a Laboratory?, Could I Escape into a Universe I Created? and Could we Send Messages There? Even the main topics ask more questions than they answer.

In each section - luckily for me anyway - you have access to the Bibliography, Biographies of the speakers and Links to related topics.

I must admit I feel as though I am thrust into the latter stages of an Open University course for a subject I did not even take at school. I am sure the content is great for someone who already knows a bit about it, for a total novice all I can really comment on is the ability to move about the package and the layout of the sections. Most of the content was way over my head. Even more so than in 'Secrets of the Mind'.

There are over one hundred and fifty video clip interviews, two hundred photos, nine virtual round tables and fifteen interactive experiments that I enjoyed without being a lot wiser at their completion.

This is sold by Focus at their £9.99 normal price point and available from dealers or direct from Focus via the link below.

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