Last century, earthquakes killed over one million, and it is predicted that this century might see ten times as many deaths. Yet when an earthquake strikes, it always takes people by surprise. So why hasn't science worked out how to predict when and where the next big quake is going to happen? This is the story of the men and women who chase earthquakes and try to understand this mysterious force of nature. Journeying to China's Sichuan Province, which still lies devastated by the earthquake that struck in May 2008, as well as the notorious San Andreas Fault in California, Horizon asks why science has so far fallen short of answering this fundamental question.
The air around us is not just empty space; it is an integral part of the chemistry of life. Plants are made from carbon dioxide, nitrogen nourishes the soil and oxygen gives us the energy we need to keep our hearts pumping and our brains alive. But how did we come to understand what air is made of? How did we come to know that this invisible stuff around us contains anything at all?
The enduring luster of gold, the conductivity of copper, the strength of steel—the special properties of metals have reshaped societies and defined eras; they have such an important role in human history that entire ages have been named after them. But what gives metals their astounding characteristics? From the perfect ring of a bronze bell to the awe-striking steel construction of Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, how have humans perfected metalworking? And how have metals enabled our modern hi-tech world? Explore the science of metals with chemists and engineers as they literally test the mettle of metals and investigate how these remarkable materials have ushered humanity from the Stone Age to the stars.