Can We Hack the Planet? • 2017 • episode "S8E03" Through the Wormhole

Category: Science

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?

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Through the Wormhole • 2017 • 13 episodes •

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 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

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

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

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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Top Science Stories of 2016

From the detection of gravitational waves generated in space over a billion years ago, to discoveries in genetics here on Earth, we've collected the most compelling science breakthroughs and advances of 2016. Thanks to magnificent, hard-working scientists and researchers around the world, science keeps marching ever forward. And this year saw some discoveries that are absolutely brimming with the promise of greater discoveries, breakthroughs and quality of life in the future.

2016 • Science

Where Did the Universe Come from?

In this mind-bending episode can the participants work out where the universe comes from?

Part 4Genius by Stephen Hawking • 2016 • Science

The Science Behind 'Genetically Modified Humans'

The media have been talking about “genetically modified humans” and “designer babies.” But what they’re really talking about is germ-line engineering: a process that could help eliminate heritable diseases. So why do some scientists want to pause the research?

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Life

Without the chemistry of photosynthesis, ozone, and a molecule called Rubisco, none of us would be here. So how did we get so lucky? To find out, host David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we’re all made of—literally.

S1E2Beyond the Elements • 2020 • Science

Avalanche: Making a Deadly Snowstorm

In March 2018 an international team of scientists gathered in a remote valley in the Canadian Rockies to conduct a unique experiment - to attempt to see into the heart of a massive avalanche to see if we can find ways to save lives in the future. Avalanches kill hundreds of people every year. Even in the UK 25 people have been killed by these forces of nature since the year 2000. But we know surprisingly little about them - why they happen or how they are able to produce destructive forces so powerful that they can flatten entire villages. Equally disturbing is the fact that climate change means that the pattern of avalanches is changing. They are occurring in places where they have never happened before. Finding out where might be in danger in the future is of vital importance. Answering all these questions could help save lives. The experiment attempts to provide those answers. The team of experts, gathered from all over the world, includes the programme's presenter Prof Danielle George. Her day job is studying space at Manchester University, but she is also a specialist in the design of experiments. She is even getting personally involved. As part of an experiment to test out safety equipment, Danielle puts on the latest breathing device intended to help you survive being caught in an avalanche. She then agrees to be buried under half a tonne of snow. The scientists hope to do what no one has ever managed before - to reveal the mysteries of an avalanche's destructive power by finding out what is going on at its very heart. Hitherto, our understanding of avalanches has been based on computer models - but these consistently underestimate the sheer power of these natural phenomena. To try and work out why, the scientists will conduct a range of cutting-edge tests, using the latest technology, including placing a car rigged with sensors right in the path of the avalanche. The plan is to set up the equipment and then unleash the avalanche by dropping explosives near the top of the slope. But the team are in a race against time. They have just three days to rig the mountain before the snow will come down the slope naturally. If they aren't ready in time, all their efforts will be wasted. Even worse, they are working in an active avalanche zone. For some scientists going out on the slopes to install their equipment means risking their lives. Interwoven with the main experiment are powerful and moving stories from survivors of these violent natural forces. We meet Casey George, whose two children were buried when an avalanche struck the small town of Missoula, Montana, completely out of the blue while they were playing. Their neighbour Fred Allendorf was inside his house when it was completely destroyed. The cataclysm claimed the life of his wife. Missoula had never been struck by an avalanche before. And no one could understand how a well-built house could be utterly demolished. The film meets British snowboarder Johno Verity, who was being filmed when an avalanche started right underneath him. His story provides clues as to what causes these disasters - a subtle change in the microscopic structure of snow deep beneath the surface. In a unique snow lab, where they can recreate different snow conditions, Danielle discovers exactly how snow can be transformed from something light and fluffy into a potential killer. And there is Elyse Saugstad, an expert skier who, despite years of experience, was caught unawares in an avalanche that killed three of her friends. All these stories emphasise just how unpredictable and devastating these events can be and why we need to understand and so be able to predict them better. In addition to being buried, Danielle George conducts another experiment into equipment that may help skiers survive being caught in an avalanche. Your chances of living rapidly diminish if you are buried for more than 15 minutes. She conducts a test with an inflatable airbag that is designed to keep you near the surface of an avalanche, making you easier to find. After two intense days of work by the scientific team, the experiment ends with over 1,000 tonnes of snow rushing down the mountainside. It triggers a whole host of censors and observational equipment. There is then a tense wait for results. But when they come, they are revealing. It seems that the team may have uncovered the first clues to an avalanche's unexplained power. If so, this could one day lead to significant breakthroughs in how we build houses and infrastructure that may lie in an avalanche's path and in how we devise safety equipment for skiers. It could be that this experiment will help save lives in the future.

2018 • Science

Origins of Altruism

How does altruism begin. Is it biological? Is it taught? Researchers are trying to understand the DNA of altruism by studying toddlers.

S1E5Stories of Impact • 2019 • Science