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True Places Never Are

Jeff Young

23 min 00 secs

United Kingdom


Every year, migrating birds must brave the steely passage of the North Sea—the final stretch between their winter homes in the south and nesting grounds to the north. Amidst the roiling waves, only one sanctuary offers rest for feathered pilgrims: the island of Helgoland. Scientists now believe that songbirds, already expert navigators by any stretch, are using a delicate and mysterious method to chart their courses, based on a science that upends many of our assumptions about reality. In 1925 a young physicist glimpsed the seed of this science, now known as quantum mechanics, on Helgoland—and the world has never been the same. True Places Never Are follows three journeys into the unknown as they all converge on one lonely corner of the planet. Everyone comes to Helgoland to find something. What are you looking for?

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