With more board configurations than there are atoms in the observable universe, the ancient Chinese game of 'Go' has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.
The surprising story of the hidden powerhouse behind the globalised world - the diesel engine, a 19th-century invention that has become indispensable to the 21st century. It's a turtle versus hare tale in which the diesel engine races the petrol engine in a competition to replace ageing steam technology - a race eventually won hands down by diesel. Splendidly, car enthusiast presenter Mark Evans gets excitedly hands on with some of the many applications of Mr Diesel's - yes, there was one - original creation, from vintage submarines and tractors to locomotive trains and container ships. You'll never feel the same about that humble old diesel family car again.
Today, virtual reality headsets are reaching the masses and can already let users dive into spectacular new worlds. From our couches, we can now float through space, fly over New York, or zip along roller coasters. But, what will it be like in the future?
Setting off from a snowy mountain ski resort in Cyprus, Simon finds an island and a capital city still deeply divided between Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Simon joins the UN troops who patrol the line that separates the two sides, one of the world's longest-running peacekeeping missions. From Cyprus, Simon heads to the Middle East, a region of the Mediterranean that's also no stranger to conflict and division. In Lebanon, Simon explores a country of breathtaking landscapes, with spectacular coastline, soaring mountains and a sacred valley known as the Qadisha, a holy site for Lebanese Christians. Staying overnight in an abandoned monastery carved into the rock face, Simon learns that in a Muslim-dominated Middle East, Christians are facing persecution and numbers are collapsing. Travelling south, Simon's next stop is Israel, a country that perhaps more than any other depends on the Mediterranean for its survival. With few friends in the region, Israel has to transport most of its goods by sea. Simon joins the Israeli Navy who patrol the coast and protect the country's offshore oil reserves using the latest military weaponry and technology, including unmanned, combat-ready drone boats. From Israel Simon crosses one of the world's most heavily fortified borders to reach the Gaza Strip. Palestinians and Israelis have endured a seemingly endless cycle of violence and in Gaza the result has been devastating destruction. Many building materials are restricted by an Israeli blockade on Gaza, but Simon meets an inspiring young woman who has helped reconstruction efforts by inventing an ingenious method of making bricks from ash. It's a rare ray of hope in one of the most troubled regions of the Mediterranean.
From the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, materials have helped drive forward our civilisation. By manipulating materials we have been able to transform our world and our lives - and never more so than in the past century when we have discovered and designed more materials than at any other time in human history. (Part 2: Plastic) Professor Mark Miodownik tells the story of plastics - created in the lab, they have brought luxury to the masses and shaped the modern age. He recounts tales of the mavericks responsible for some of plastic's most outrageous failures and heady successes, from the explosive attempts to make a replacement for ivory billiard balls to the ultimately ubiquitous Bakelite. Investigating at atomic level, Mark discovers the properties that have allowed plastics to dominate our world and reveals how the next generation of plastics will take its inspiration from nature, creating man-made materials which behave as though they are alive and which could help rebuild the human body.