Brian Cox looks at our attempts to answer one of the most profound questions we can ask – are we alone in the universe? With scientists sending space probes to the furthest reaches of our solar system and beyond, the scientific search for alien life has begun. Inspired by a childhood love of science fiction, Brian still hopes to hear from ET. In this film, he explains why this search deserves to be taken seriously, and he explores the chances of it happening.
Brian believes we are at the start of a new age of space travel, where space flight is on the verge of becoming routine. In this episode, he explores the latest science and takes a new look at his old films and asks: how far can we go in our exploration of the cosmos?
They're cute, they're lovable, and judging by the 26 billion views on over 2 million YouTube videos of them, one thing is certain: cats are very entertaining. But their strange feline behaviors, both amusing and baffling, leave many of us asking: Why do cats do that? Tony Buffington explains the science behind some of your cat's strangest behaviors.
In the United States, some 10% of people who wish to have children struggle with infertility. It’s especially common in the African American community, and fertility preservation can be difficult for transgender individuals as well. But why is this? And what can be done about it? NOVA explores barriers to fertility, from the social to the biological, and the state of assisted reproductive technologies. Follow the journeys of people navigating challenges from structural inequalities and racism to falling sperm counts.
Discover the secrets of humanity’s advanced skill set and predominance on earth. It was the rapid growth of our brain, originating about 2 million years ago, that allowed us to be the predominant species of the world. What caused this rapid growth of our cerebral cortex?
2021 • Science
In the final part, Professor Al-Khalili uncovers tales of success and heartache in the story of chemists' battle to control and combine the elements, and build our modern world. He reveals the dramatic breakthroughs which harnessed their might to release almost unimaginable power, and he journeys to the centre of modern day alchemy, where scientists are attempting to command the extreme forces of nature and create brand new elements.
In part two, Professor Al-Khalili looks at the 19th century chemists who struggled to impose an order on the apparently random world of the elements. From working out how many there were to discovering their unique relationships with each other, the early scientists' bid to decode the hidden order of the elements was driven by false starts and bitter disputes. But ultimately the quest would lead to one of chemistry's most beautiful intellectual creations - the periodic table.
Just 92 elements made up the world, but the belief that were only four - earth, fire, air and water - persisted until the 19th Century. Professor Al-Khalili retraces the footsteps of the alchemists who first began to question the notion of the elements in their search for the secret of everlasting life. He reveals the red herrings and rivalries which dogged scientific progress, and explores how new approaches to splitting matter brought us both remarkable elements and the new science of chemistry.
Just about every solid, liquid, or gas in the world as we know it begins with reactions between individual atoms and molecules. Host David Pogue dives into the transformative world of chemical reactions, from the complex formula that produces cement to the single reaction that’s allowed farmers to feed a global population by the billions.
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.
Glass so strong you can jump on it, rubber so tough it protects a clay pot dropped from 50 feet, endless varieties of plastic. Scientists and engineers have created virtually indestructible versions of common materials by manipulating the chains of interlocking atoms that give them strength—but have they made them too tough? Host David Pogue explores the fantastic chemistry behind the everyday.
Some 30 million Americans have sent their DNA to be analyzed by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But what happens once the sample is in the hands of testing companies, and how accurate are their results? NOVA explores the power of genetic data to reveal family connections, ancestry, and health risks—and even solve criminal cold cases.
A two-hour special from the producers of "Making Stuff" Where do nature's building blocks, called the elements, come from? They're the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, technology columnist and lively host of Nova’s popular "Making Stuff" series, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe's most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.
Interweaves the present-day story of the Rosens, a young family on an odyssey to find a cure for their four-year old daughter's rare genetic disease, with stories of the exciting discoveries of the early pioneers in genetics — Gregor Mendel, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Francis Crick and James Watson. This episode also tracks the dark period in human history when a little genetic knowledge was used to justify terrifying human experiments that culminated in the Holocaust.
The film explains the details of the research scheme instituted by the Government of India for the benefit of young talented scientists. Under the Scheme, Government encourages students with a scientific bent of mind by awarding scholarships from the B.Sc. to Ph.D. degrees.
1967 • Science
Science journalist Angela Saini and disability rights activist Adam Pearson, reveal that eugenics - the controversial idea that was a driving force behind the Nazi death camps - originated in the upper echelons of the British scientific community.
2019 • Science
In the non-coding 98% of our DNA, we have countless switches to promote or suppress the physiological reactions of our bodies. Interestingly, we can change the states of these switches through our own efforts and even can affect the DNA conditions of our offspring before their birth.
Dr. Barron is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and the Deputy Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney. He discusses how the brains of honeybees can provide a model for studying diverse intelligence.
Growth in air transportation is set to soar, carrying over 10 billion passengers every year by 2050. To cope requires us to radically rethink aircraft design. Join us as we look into the world's most innovative research and development labs, to see first-hand the breakthroughs in aviation.
Never in the history of humanity have so many of us been mobile, never has our demand for fast, efficient and safe transportation been so high, and never have we relied so heavily on technology to deliver. New innovations propel us into the world of self-driving cars and high-speed trains.
The cutting-edge research of our organs networking activities greatly contributes to scientists pursuit of the largest mystery about human life and birth. How does a single cell ultimately grows into all the varieties of our organs each with complex structure and function?
New research sheds light on the functions of fat and bone. In fact, fat and bone are not static tissue but release signaling molecules to dynamically interact with the other organs and support our health. Fat was found to control our appetite and the bone to work to keep us young.
The brain was once thought to be the body's control tower, issuing commands to the other organs. But scientists are discovering that communication flows between all the organs in our bodies. They transmit messages that can boost immunity, improve memory, strengthen bones and even lengthen lifespan.
Anatomist Alice Roberts embarks on an audacious scientific stunt - to rebuild her own body from scratch, editing out errors left behind by evolution; to create the perfect body. With the help of one of the world's best virtual sculptors, Scott Eaton, and top SFX model maker Sangeet Prabhaker, Alice creates a life-size model of the perfect human body, to be revealed in front of 150 people at London's Science Museum. Through natural selection, animals have evolved incredible biological designs, from supersharp senses to superpowered limbs. Alice is on a hunt to find the very best designs the natural world has to offer and use them to fix the flaws in our own human anatomy. By meeting leading medical and animal experts, Alice finds out what the body's biggest problems are, and how amazing adaptations in the rest of the animal kingdom could provide inspiration for her perfect body. Using incredible CGI to morph her existing body into new forms, she demonstrates how rethinking our bodies could overcome millennia of natural selection. Finally, in an epic reveal, Alice unveils the life-sized model of her perfect self in the Science Museum. There, in front of an audience, Alice meets the 'perfect human' version of herself for the first time. Ambitious, audacious and packed with cutting-edge science, Can Science Make Me Perfect? With Alice Roberts challenges everything you thought you knew about the perfect body.
2018 • Science
Take a look back at many of the most fascinating science stories of 2018. Discover how a young woman who fell into a cave 3.7 million years ago is rewriting our understanding of early human history. Learn how space missions are unraveling the mysteries of our universe. See the year in a new light!
2018 • Science
When most of us hear "scientific research", it conjures the image of serious men and women in meticulous labs using carefully prescribed methods to achieve rather predictable outcomes. We have an expectation that science is calculated and controlled. Yet some of the most influential scientific discoveries have been made entirely by accident. Does chance work alone or are other phenomenons at play? Combining dramatic re-creation with cheeky animation and cleverly manipulated archival images, Gone Sideways illustrates three areas of exploration: medicine, technology and natural science.
We have a relationship with few things in nature the way we do with snow: we hate it, we love it, and we think we understand it. But we barely know the contradictory and beautiful components of snow’s character. But that’s something scientists are changing. From the formation of single flakes to the howling 70 km/h winds of lake effect snow storms to the destructive power of avalanches, intrepid researchers are bringing snow science into the 21st Century.
Drinking alcohol on a cold day warms you up. Eating grilled meat can increase your risk of cancer. Mosquitoes prefer blondes… ah, women. We've all heard the claims, but are they true? From Winnipeg to Florida, from New York City to Vancouver, B.C, molecular biologist Dr. Jennifer Gardy goes in search of the answers. It's a journey through seldom-seen research that forces Dr. Gardy to become a real-life guinea pig to test these claims and discover, once and for all, whether they're science fact or science fiction. The surprising results are revealed in Myth or Science. , results that could change your life. Most of us just accept these myths as fact. But it is surprising to discover which are true and which aren't. It's not what you expect. And the answers can make a major difference to your daily life, and your health.
"It's alive!" Since Dr. Frankenstein spoke those famous words, we've been alternately enthralled and terrified by the idea of creating life in the lab. Now, a revolution in genetic engineering and thrilling innovations in synthetic biology are bringing that dream—or nightmare, as the case may be—closer to reality. New tools allow researchers to use cells to create their own DNA and edit it into existing genomes with more ease and less cost than ever before. Along with renewed hopes for treating some genetic diseases, there's serious talk of using the newest technologies to bring long-extinct animals back from the dead – like the team hoping to resurrect the woolly mammoth. Science fiction is quickly becoming science fact. NOVA Wonders explores the benefits and the burden of risk surrounding the controversial new technology
A war has been raging for billions of years, killing trillions every single day, while we don’t even notice. This war involves the single deadliest being on our planet: The Bacteriophage.
David Spiegelhalter discusses how the work of amateur mathematician Thomas Bayes and statistician Ronald Fisher helped to shape the current thinking of probability.
Dame Sally Davies talks to Brian Cox about her interest in antibiotic resistance and admiration of Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey for their development of penicillin.
Take a look back at many of the most fascinating science stories of 2017, a year full of stunning advancements in individual fields of study, from astronomy to biology, geology to history – when we piece these discoveries together we see the year in a new light.
2017 • Science
Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his inventions as well as his art. New evidence shows that many of his ideas were realized long before he sketched them out in his notebooks-some even 1,700 years before him! Of these “inventions” Leonardo never affirmed that his projects came from his original ideas. The film features drawings of his most famous ideas and inventions some of which trace their original creation to ancient Greece while others were a product of the scientific inventions of golden age of Islamic learning. This knowledge seemed to be lost in Europe during the Dark Ages until the Renaissance when Leonardo recovered it.
Dr Alice Roberts asks one of the great questions about our species: are we still evolving? There's no doubt that we're a product of millions of years of evolution. But thanks to modern technology and medicine, did we escape Darwin's law of the survival of the fittest? Alice follows a trail of clues from ancient human bones to studies of remarkable people living in the most inhospitable parts of the planet and the frontiers of genetic research, to discover if we are still evolving - and where we might be heading.
As the director of one of a world renowned institute for scientific research -- the Institute for Advanced Study -- Robbert Dijkgraaf is a pioneer in the field of mathematical physics. This string theory specialist draws from his experiences to elucidate current advances in physics.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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
Saiful explores one of the most important issues facing the modern world - how to store energy. He tackles his toughest challenge yet - trying to work out how to store enough energy to power a mobile phone for a whole year and still fit it in his pocket!
Saiful investigates how humans as living pulsing machines actually use energy, asking whether it's possible to 'supercharge' the human body and increase its performance. Live experiments explore everything from the explosive potential of everyday foods, to what we put into our bodies (and what comes out!), as well as how we measure up to the machines we use every day. Saiful even experiments on himself, showing images captured inside his own stomach. Every single one of us is an incredibly sophisticated energy conversion machine, finely tuned over millions of years of evolution. So will we ever be able to improve the human body's performance? Can we ever do more with less energy?
Saiful investigates how to generate energy without destroying the planet in the process. Saiful begins his lecture by being plunged into darkness. Armed initially with nothing but a single candle, his challenge is to go back to first principles and bring back the power in the energy-hungry lecture theatre. Along the way he explains what energy is, how we can transform it from one form to another, and how we harness it to power the modern world. A fascinating and stimulating celebration of the stuff that quite literally makes the universe tick - the weird and wonderful world of energy.
Antarctica is the last great wilderness. It's the coldest, windiest, driest and most isolated place on Earth. And every winter, for over three months of the year, the sun never rises. But it's also home to the British Antarctic Survey's Halley Research Station. A veteran of living and working at Halley in the early eighties, BBC weatherman Peter Gibbs makes an emotional return to the place he once called home. A place that, during his time, was key to the discovery of the ozone hole. The journey starts with an arduous 12-day, 3000-mile voyage onboard the RRS Ernest Shackleton. Once on the ice shelf, Peter is delighted to finally arrive at the futuristic research station and marvels at the cutting edge science being done at Halley today. From vital discoveries about how our lives are vulnerable to the sun's activities, to studying interplanetary travel and the threat of man-made climate change. But Peter's journey is also something of a rescue mission. The research station's home is a floating ice shelf that constantly moves and cracks, and the ice shelf has developed a chasm that could cast Halley adrift on a massive iceberg.
What are the origins of life? How did things go from non-living to living? From something that could not reproduce to something that could? Earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old, and for much of that history it has been home to life in one form or another. Our planet is teaming with life, from the highest mountain to the deepest ocean; life is everywhere. But what was the firing pistol that started the evolutionary race? How did material go from non-living to alive? It's one of the most fundamental and difficult questions that has challenged us since the beginning of time.
2007 • Science
In this episode of NOVA scienceNOW, journey back in time to the birth of our solar system to examine whether the key to our planet's existence might have been the explosive shockwave of an ancient supernova. Meet a chemist who has yielded a new kind of "recipe" for natural processes to assemble and create the building blocks of life. And see how the head louse, a creepy critter that's been sucking our blood for millions of years, is offering clues about our evolution. Finally, meet neuroscientist André Fenton, who is looking into erasing painful memories with an injection.
Did you know that bananas are berries, but strawberries aren’t? A lot of thought goes into classifying fruits and vegetables, and it all has to do with anatomy.
Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.
The last episode in the series examines how humans perceive and experience time, investigating the internal body clock which tells people when to eat, drink, sleep and relax. The importance of accurately measuring time is explored in relation to human evolution, and there's a debate about whether mankind will ever be able to travel between past, present and future.
How the passing of time on Earth affects life on a variety of levels, from the daily opening of a flower's petals to the evolution of the horse. A swift journey through the seasons demonstrates how caribou spend most of their time on the move, while the flying squirrel's body clock, attuned to the rhythms of the Earth, is revealed to be the most accurate in nature.
First in a three-part documentary series offering an insight into the dramatic forces that shape life on Earth, using speeded-up footage that compresses centuries into seconds. The programme follows the movement of mountains, rivers, glaciers and the sea, and offers a glimpse of what the future might hold, revealing how the Great Rift Valley may well be on its way to becoming the next ocean.
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?
Ever wonder how the heart symbol came to stand for the actual heart? And why do we speak of the heart as the seat of love, when love really happens in our brains? Is it true that animals only get a billion heartbeats? This week, we give you enough cool cardiac science to make your heart skip a beat.
How do you know you’re real? Is existence all just a big dream? Has some mad scientist duped us into simply believing that we exist? James Zucker investigates all of these questions (and more) in this mind-boggling tribute to René Descartes’s "Meditations on First Philosophy."
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.
In a powerful conclusion, Brian pieces together this story of creation that started with what Einstein called the 'happiest thought of his life' - the moment that he realised that gravity was far stranger than anyone had imagined. In an incredible experiment inside the largest vacuum chamber, Brian reveals how Einstein formulated a new theory of gravity, which ultimately took us back to the big bang. And how in doing so, we humans found our true place in space and time.
9 year old discusses the meaning of life, free will, alternate universes, and alien lifeforms.
2012 • Science