When Does Life Begin? • episode "S4E02" Through the Wormhole

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We can all trace our lives back to a beginning. But what defines the beginning? Is it the moment when two cells unite? Or does something have to know it is alive before its life can begin?

Through the Wormhole • 0 • 19 episodes •

When Did Time Begin

We float along the river of time. But does that river have a source? Where did time come from? Some believe time and space are one thing, and the Big Bang started the cosmic clock. Others believe the universe existed for almost half a million "years" before light could move and time began. Still others say time is older than our universe. But what if time itself is an illusion? Incredible new experiments may hold the answer. One groundbreaking experiment gives us the power to punch holes in time…and another may create a machine that operates outside time’s boundaries!

Physics

Is Gravity an Illusion

We feel it every moment of our lives but for physicists, gravity is the longest running unsolved mystery of the universe. Why do all objects that have mass pull on one another? Cutting-edge theories are proposing unexpected answers.

Physics

Will We Become God?

Humanity’s potential seems limitless. But could we become as powerful as God?

Science

Is There a Shadow Universe?

It appears we live in a universe filled with light. But scientists are now certain there is far more matter in the dark portions of our universe.

Physics

Can We Survive the Death of the Sun?

We are all at the mercy of the Sun. Its glowing disc sustains nearly all life on Earth. But the Sun also holds a dark secret: someday, our aging, expanding star will bathe the Earth in a fiery holocaust. Everything we know will turn to hot, bubbling, plasma.

Science

Can We Travel Faster than Light?

It's called the speed limit of the universe. Einstein blew all of our minds when he worked out the Theory of Relativity, and showed that space and time were malleable substances. He also theorized that we as humans can never travel faster than the speed of light, which leaves the stars and other galaxies almost impossibly out of our reach. But the dreams of Star Wars and Star Trek are not dead. In fact, there could be ways to travel faster than the speed of light - and some of them are already being tested in labs around the world.

Physics

Is Reality Real?

Do we live in the "real world" or is it all in our mind? Our perception of reality is controlled by society. Thanks to "the optimism bias", we make unrealistic assessments about our own reality. Human senses capture only a small part of nature.

Science

How to Collapse a Superpower

The dangers of nations being dependent on digital devices and global interactivity are examined.

Technology

Is Luck Real?

Do you make your own luck or does luck make you? We find luck, good and bad, in casinos, basketball courts, genetics labs and the subatomic world. It's a journey that will radically revise your understanding of the laws of nature and the human brain.

Science

How Does the Universe Work?

Quantum theory, the best explanation of how atoms and anything smaller behave, is so weird even scientists who have mastered it find it baffling. But bit by bit scientists are finding maybe it's not so weird as comparable behavior is discovered in our every day world. It's just that no one noticed before.

Astronomy

Will Sex Become Extinct?

Every single person who has ever lived was created from the genes of one man and one woman. But human sexual reproduction, unchanged for millions of years, is about to undergo radical change.

Nature

When Does Life Begin?

We can all trace our lives back to a beginning. But what defines the beginning? Is it the moment when two cells unite? Or does something have to know it is alive before its life can begin?

Nature

Can Our Minds Be Hacked?

Our minds store our entire lives, our memories and our deepest desires. Tell no one, and our thoughts remain our own. But our brains are biological computers. Computer hackers can tamper with our email. Could brain hackers someday be able to rewrite our thoughts?

Brain

Why Do We Lie?

Do you sometimes tell a lie? Why? Is it human nature to lie?

People

Do We Live in the Matrix?

Our universe seems real. But what if it’s a videogame? Scientists in a variety of fields are taking seriously the possibility that we live in a virtual reality. Maybe the Big Bang was just the moment someone flipped the switch and turned on our universe. Maybe what looks random has already been programmed to happen. If some advanced civilization did design and program our universe, would we ever know? Scientists are looking for glitches in the laws of the universe that may uncover its hidden code.

Creativity

Is The Force With us?

New research is beginning to reveal a hidden force in the universe - one that penetrates space with trillions of invisible connections, instantly linking every place in our world and joining our future with our past. Is the Force with us?

2017 • Science

Can We Cheat Death?

Death is life's greatest certainty. But that may be about to change. Scientists have discovered an immortal animal that may hold the secret of endless regeneration. They're on the brink of editing our DNA so that we can cure death like a disease. Or is dying necessary for the survival of our species?

2017 • Science

Can We Hack the Planet?

Humanity is under threat - from storms that seem to get ever fiercer, earthquakes that seem ever more deadly, and killer viruses that are engulfing the globe. Some scientists think it's time for us to fight back. Can we - should we -hack the planet?

2017 • Science

Is gun Crime a Virus?

Every 17 minutes in America, someone is killed with a gun. Politicians can't seem to stop the violence. But epidemiologists, psychologists and big data crunchers are discovering that gun crime spreads like a virus -and science may be able to stop its spread.

2017 • Science

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Iceland: Land of Ice and Fire

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Asia

Encounter huge shoals of barracuda in Malaysia, fantastic meadows of coral in the Philippines and strange, miniature creatures inhabiting Indonesian reefs. Plus you’ll have to watch for deadly blue-ringed octopus and much more. Simply sublime!

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Building Bodies

The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.

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