Horizon plunges down the biggest rabbit-hole in history in search of the smallest thing in the Universe. It is a journey where things don't just become smaller but also a whole lot weirder. Scientists hope to catch a glimpse of miniature black holes, multiple dimensions and even parallel Universes.
New planets are now being discovered outside our solar system on a regular basis, and these strange new worlds are forcing scientists to rewrite the history of our own solar system. Far from a simple story of stable orbits, the creation of our solar system is a tale of hellfire, chaos and planetary pinball. It's a miracle our Earth is here at all.
Scientists genuinely don't know what most of our universe is made of. The atoms we're made from only make up four per cent. The rest is dark matter and dark energy (for 'dark', read 'don't know'). The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has been upgraded. When it's switched on in March 2015, its collisions will have twice the energy they did before. The hope is that scientists will discover the identity of dark matter in the debris. The stakes are high - because if dark matter fails to show itself, it might mean that physics itself needs a rethink.
The oceans define the earth. They are crucial to life and we used to think that they were unique to our blue planet. But we were wrong. It has recently been discovered that there are oceans all over our solar system, and they are very similar to our own. And now scientists are going on an epic journey in search of new life in places that never seemed possible. Nasa is even planning to dive to the depths of a strange, distant ocean in a remarkable submarine. Horizon discovers that the hunt for oceans in space is marking the dawn of a new era in the search for alien life.
2016 • Astronomy
Liz Bonnin presents a controversial and provocative episode of Horizon, investigating how new scientific research is raising hard questions about zoos - the film explores how and why zoos keep animals, and whether they need to change to keep up with modern science, or ultimately be consigned to history. Should zoos cull their animals to manage populations? Liz travels to Copenhagen Zoo, who killed a giraffe and fed it to the lions, to witness their culling process first hand. They think it is a natural part of zoo keeping that is often swept under the carpet. Should some animals never be kept in captivity? In a world exclusive, Liz visits SeaWorld in Florida and asks if captivity drove one of their orcas to kill his trainer. But could zoos be the answer to conserving endangered species? Liz examines their record, from helping breed pandas for the wild to efforts to save the rhinos. She meets one of the last surviving northern white rhinos and discovers the future of this species now lies in a multimillion-dollar programme to engineer them for stem cells. Veteran conservation scientist Dr Sarah Bexell tells Liz the science of captive breeding is giving humanity false hope.
2016 • Nature
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.
2016 • Science
Horizon investigates a new era of Alzheimer's research, which is bringing hope to millions of sufferers across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often 15 years before symptoms appear and the brain cells are destroyed. A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. It is also becoming clear that changes in lifestyle can prevent the development of the disease. A new system inside the brain has been discovered which clears amyloid when we are in deep sleep, but allows it to accumulate if we don't sleep well. The programme reveals that for sufferers in the early stages of the disease, brain connections, or synapses, can be strengthened and even replaced by absorbing enough of the right nutrients. A UK-wide trail helps sufferers in the early stages to concentrate on improving everyday tasks, and in the process not only make their lives easier, but helps to reactivate the planning and organisational parts of the brain. In an ageing world, where the biggest risk of developing Alzheimer's is old age, the scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease are bringing hope where once there was despair.
2016 • Health
Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes. They're everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal? Michael reveals what e-cigarettes are really doing to your health. Are they really better for you than cigarettes? What is actually in them? Is passive vapour harmful? And can they really stop you from smoking? Michael meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up 'vaping' himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health - no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.
2016 • Health
Liz Bonnin delves in to the world of invention, revealing the people and technologies set to transform all our lives. She examines the conditions that are promising to make the 21st century a golden age of innovation and meets some of the world's foremost visionaries, mavericks and dreamers. From the entrepreneurs that are driving a new space race, to the Nobel Prize wining scientist leading a nanotech revolution, this is a tour of the people and ideas delivering the world of tomorrow, today.
2013 • Technology
The acerbically witty and severely facially disfigured broadcaster Adam Pearson presents a personal film about genetics. He and his twin brother Neil are genetically identical and both share the same genetic disease, Neurofibromatosis 1 (Nf1) - yet they are completely different. Adam's face is covered with growths, whereas Neil has none. Neil has short term memory loss, whereas Adam is razor sharp. How can the same genetic disease affect identical twins so differently? Adam is on the cusp of a successful film and television career, but the disease has left tumours on his face that are growing out of control and he could lose his sight. For years, everyone thought Adam's brother Neil had escaped symptoms, but today his life is governed by epilepsy and a mysterious memory loss that suddenly came on during his teens. Determined to save their future, Adam tries to find out why the disease affects the twins so differently.
2016 • Health
Dr Xand Van Tulleken is single and looking for love. Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry wants to use him as her guinea pig to test whether the algorithms that dating sites use to match people actually work. While Hannah builds a dating site, Xand meets the scientists investigating online dating - and learns what pictures to use and what to write in his profile. He tries out a 'bot' that has automated a swiping app and has an MRI scan to find out whether his brain is equipped for love. 50 members of the public take part in some mini experiments at a date night - and Xand goes on various dates to test whether the algorithm is better than him choosing randomly.
2016 • Lifehack
Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional paleo-anthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.
2016 • People
Imagine if the food you eat could 'clean' your body and make you feel well. Dr Giles Yeo investigates the latest diet craze and social media sensation - clean eating. In a television first, Giles cooks with Ella Mills, the Instagram entrepreneur behind Deliciously Ella, one of the most popular brands associated with clean eating, and examines how far her plant-based cooking is based on science. She tells him clean has lost its way: "Clean now implies dirty and that's negative. I haven't used it, but as far as I understood it when I first read the term, it meant natural, kind of unprocessed, and now it doesn't mean that at all. It means diet, it means fad". Giles sifts through the claims of the Hemsley sisters, who advocate not just gluten-free but grain-free cooking, and Natasha Corrett, who popularises alkaline eating through her Honestly Healthy brand. In America, Giles reveals the key alternative health figures whose food philosophies are influencing the new gurus of clean. He discovers that when it comes to their promises about food and our health, all is not always what it appears to be. Inside a Californian ranch where cancer patients have been treated with alkaline food, Giles sees for himself what can happen when pseudoscience is taken to a shocking extreme.
2017 • Health
Comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner is on a personal mission to uncover the science of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), a condition which he has suspected he has. In this film, Rory learns about the science of ADHD, goes for a diagnosis and tries the drug methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin) for the first time - just before walking on stage. Around three per cent of the adult population suffer from ADHD (and five per cent of children), yet many people remain sceptical of its existence, blaming it on naughty children or bad parenting.
2017 • Brain
For decades some have suspected that there might be others out there, intelligent beings capable of communicating with us, even visiting our world. It might sound like science fiction, but today scientists from across the globe are scouring the universe for signals from extraterrestrials. Scientists have been searching the cosmos for strange signals like the Lorimer Burst for more than 50 years. The film ends with scientists' latest search for extraterrestial intelligence. Horizon obtained exclusive access to film researchers at the Green Bank Telescope searching for radio signals from Tabby's Star, a star so mysterious that some scientists believe it might be surrounded by a Dyson Sphere, a vast energy collector built by advanced aliens.
2017 • Astronomy
Volcanoes have long helped shape the Earth. But what is less well known is that there are volcanoes on other planets and moons that are even more extraordinary than those on our own home planet. Horizon follows an international team of volcanologists in Iceland as they draw fascinating parallels between the volcanoes on Earth and those elsewhere in the solar system. Through the team's research, we discover that the largest volcano in the solar system - Olympus Mons on Mars - has been formed in a similar way to those of Iceland, how a small moon of Jupiter - Io - has the most violent eruptions anywhere, and that a moon of Saturn called Enceladus erupts icy geysers from a hidden ocean. Computer graphics combined with original NASA material reveal the spectacular sights of these amazing volcanoes. Along the way, we learn that volcanoes are not just a destructive force, but have been essential to the formation of atmospheres and even life. And through these volcanoes of the solar system, scientists have discovered far more about our own planet, Earth - what it was like when Earth first formed, and even what will happen to our planet in the future.
2017 • Astronomy
Horizon looks at the issues that will change the way we live our lives in the future. Rather than relying on the minds of science fiction writers, mathematician Hannah Fry delves into the data we have today to provide an evidence-based vision of tomorrow. With the help of the BBC's science experts - and a few surprise guests - Hannah investigates the questions the British public want answered about the future. Hannah tries to discover whether we could ever live forever or if there will ever be a cure for cancer. She finds out how research into the human brain may one day help with mental health, and if it is possible to ever ditch fossil fuels. Hannah and her guests also discover the future of transport - and when, if ever, we really will see flying cars. She discovers whether a robot will take your job or if, as some believe, we will all one day actually become cyborgs. The programme predicts what the weather will be like and discovers if we are on the verge of another mass extinction. Hannah's tenth prediction is something she - and Horizon - are confident will definitely happen, and that is to expect the unexpected!
2017 • Technology
The car has shrunk the world, increased personal freedom and in so many ways expanded our horizons, but there is a flipside. Fumes from car exhausts have helped to destroy our environment, poisoned the air we breathe and killed us in far more straightforward ways. But all that is going to change. Horizon enters a world where cars can drive themselves, a world where we are simply passengers, ferried about by wholesome green compassionate technology which will never ever go wrong. And it is almost here. Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers for cars themselves, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that, despite the glossy driverless PR (and assuming that they really can be made to work reliably), the reality is that it might not be all good news. From the ethics of driverless car crashes to the impact on jobs, it might be that cars are about to rise up against us in ways that none of us are expecting.
2017 • Technology
Psychopaths have long captured the public imagination. Painted as charismatic, violent predators lacking in all empathy, they provide intrigue and horror in equal measure. But what precisely is a psychopath? What is it that drives them to cause harm, even kill? And can they ever be cured? Presented by psychologist professor Uta Frith, this is an in-depth exploration of the psychopathic mind including one of the most notorious of all, Moors murderer Ian Brady. Through an ongoing correspondence between the Horizon team and Brady, the film features some of the very last letters he wrote. The film also features a series of candid interviews with prison inmates who not only describe their crimes but why they think they committed them. Horizon explores not only how each individual's crimes were shaped by their own life experiences, but also gives an insight into how these people think and behave. Working with the world's experts in the field, the film sheds light on the biological, psychological and environmental influences that shape a psychopath. And it looks to the future, with groundbreaking research that suggests a lifetime of incarceration is not the only option to manage violent and dangerous psychopaths.
2017 • Health
A billion miles from home, running low on fuel, and almost out of time. After 13 years traversing the Saturn system, the spacecraft Cassini is plunging to a fiery death, becoming part of the very planet it has been exploring. As it embarks on its final assignment - a one-way trip into the heart of Saturn - Horizon celebrates the incredible achievements and discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see the solar system. Strange new worlds with gigantic ice geysers, hidden underground oceans that could harbour life and a brand new moon coalescing in Saturn's magnificent rings. As the world says goodbye to the great explorer Cassini, Horizon will be there for with a ringside seat for its final moments.
2017 • Astronomy
The Horizon team have gathered together a team of scientists and doctors to investigate the incredible, natural material that is growing out of our heads - our hair. With access to the research laboratories of some of the world's leading hair care companies, including L'Oreal and ghd, the team explore the latest cutting-edge research and technology designed to push the boundaries of hair and hair care. Each one of us has a unique head of hair - an average of 150,000 individual hair strands growing approximately one centimetre every month. Over your lifetime, that is over 800 miles. The time and effort we put into styling, sculpting and maintaining this precious material has created a global hair care market worth a staggering 60 billion pounds. With such high stakes, it is inevitable that when developing hair-care products, science and business operate hand in hand. The team reveal how this industry science compares to the rigorous academic standards that they are used to. These investigations also reveal why we care so much about our hair, and whether or not it is worth splashing out on expensive shampoos. They uncover the magic ingredients found in conditioners and lay bare the secrets of the shiny, glossy hair seen in the adverts.
2017 • Lifehack
Dallas Campbell looks back through almost 50 years of the Horizon archives to chart the scientific breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of the universe. From Einstein's concept of spacetime to alien planets and extra dimensions, science has revealed a cosmos that is more bizarre and more spectacular than could have ever been imagined. But with every breakthrough, even more intriguing mysteries that lie beyond are found. This great journey of discovery is only just beginning.
2012 • Astronomy
Richard Feynman was one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers of the 20th century. He rebuilt the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and it was for this work that he won the Nobel Prize in 1965. In 1981, he gave Horizon a candid interview, talking about many things close to his heart.
1981 • Physics
Horizon follows the story of Richard Gray and his remarkable recovery from a life-changing catastrophic stroke. The film shows the rarely seen journey back to recovery. Recorded by his documentary film-maker wife Fiona over four years, this film shows the hard work of recovery. Initially bed bound and unable to do anything, including speak, the initial outlook was bleak, yet occasionally small glimmers of hope emerged. Armed always with her camera, Fiona captures the moment Richard moves his fingers for the first time, and then over months she documents his struggle to relearn how to walk again. The story also features poignant footage delivered in a series of flashbacks, in which we see and hear Richard at his professional best. He was a peacekeeper with the United Nations, immersed in the brutal war in Sarajevo, Bosnia. We also hear from the surgeons and clinicians who were integral to Richard's remarkable recovery, from describing life-saving, high-risk reconstructive surgery to intensive rehabilitation programmes that push the former soldier to his limits.
2018 • Brain
To coincide with the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator complex, Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey delves into over 50 years of the BBC science archive to tell the story behind the emergence of one of the greatest theories of modern science, the Big Bang. The remarkable idea that our universe simply began from nothing has not always been accepted with the conviction it is today and, from fiercely disputed leftfield beginnings, took the best part of the 20th century to emerge as the triumphant explanation of how the universe began. Using curious horn-shaped antennas, U-2 spy planes, satellites and particle accelerators, scientists have slowly pieced together the cosmological jigsaw, and this documentary charts the overwhelming evidence for a universe created by a Big Bang. Professor Al-Khalili comments: "This one-off documentary was made by the BBC Horizon team and was great fun to be involved with. The archive footage is fantastic too."
2008 • Astronomy
We are bad at making decisions. According to science, our decisions are based on oversimplification, laziness and prejudice. And that's assuming that we haven't already been hijacked by our surroundings or led astray by our subconscious! Featuring exclusive footage of experiments that show how our choices can be confounded by temperature, warped by post-rationalisation and even manipulated by the future, Horizon presents a guide to better decision making, and introduces you to Mathematician Garth Sundem, who is convinced that conclusions can best be reached using simple maths and a pencil!
2008 • Math
Time travel is not forbidden by the laws of nature, but to build a time machine, we would need to understand more about those laws and how to subvert them than we do now. And every day, science does learn more. In this film Horizon meets the scientists working on the cutting edge of discovery - men and women who may discover how to build wormholes, manipulate entangled photons or build fully functioning time crystals. In short, these scientists may enable an engineer of the future to do what we have so far been only able to imagine - to build a machine that allows us travel back and forward in time at the touch of a button. It could be you! Science fiction?
2018 • Physics
'To send a spacecraft there is a little bit insane,' says Scott Bolton when talking about Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. But that is exactly what he has done, because Scott is head of Juno, the Nasa mission designed to peer through Jupiter's swirling clouds and reveal the wonders within. But this is no ordinary world. This documentary, narrated by Toby Jones, journeys with the scientists into the heart of a giant. Professor Kaitlin Kratter shows us how extreme Jupiter is. She has come to a quarry to measure out each planet's mass with rocks, starting with the smallest. Mercury is a single kilogram, and the Earth is 17. But Jupiter is on another scale entirely. It is seven tonnes - that is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets combined. On Kaitlin's scale it is not a pile of rocks, it is the truck delivering them. With extreme size comes extreme radiation. Juno is in the most extreme environment Nasa has visited. By projecting a 70-foot-wide, life-size Juno on a Houston rooftop, Scott shows us how its fragile electronics are encased in 200kg of titanium. As Scott puts it, 'we had to build an armoured tank to go there.' The team's efforts have been worthwhile. Professor Andrew Ingersoll, Juno's space weatherman, reveals they have seen lightning inside Jupiter, perhaps a thousand times more powerful than Earth's lightning. This might be evidence for huge quantities of water inside Jupiter. Prof Ingersoll also tells us that the Great Red Spot, a vast hurricane-like storm that could swallow the Earth whole, goes down as far as they can see - 'it could go down 1,000s of kilometres'. Deeper into the planet and things get stranger still. At the National Ignition facility in northern California, Dr Marius Millot is using powerful lasers normally used for nuclear fusion for an astonishing experiment. He uses '500 times the power that is used for the entire United States at a given moment' to crush hydrogen to the pressures inside Jupiter. Under these extreme conditions, hydrogen becomes a liquid metal. Juno is finding out how much liquid metallic hydrogen is inside Jupiter, and scientists hope to better understand how this flowing metal produces the most powerful aurora in the Solar System. But what is at Jupiter's heart? In Nice, Prof Tristan Guillot explains how Juno uses gravity to map the planet's centre. This can take scientists back to the earliest days of the solar system, because Jupiter is the oldest planet and it should contain clues to its own creation. By chalking out an outline of the Jupiter, Tristan reveals there is a huge rocky core - perhaps ten times the mass of Earth. It is now thought Jupiter started as a small rocky world. But there is a surprise, because Juno's findings suggest this core might be 'fuzzy'. Tristan thinks the planet was bombarded with something akin to shooting stars. As he puts it, 'Jupiter is quite unlike we thought'.
2018 • Astronomy
Could the power of fake pills be used to treat some of our most common medical complaints? To find out, Dr Michael Mosley embarks on Britain's largest ever trial to investigate the placebo effect. He is heading to Blackpool to gather 117 people suffering from backache - one of the leading types of chronic pain - before trying to treat them with nothing but fake pills and the power of the mind. Working with experts from the University of Oxford, Michael discovers that the placebo effect is more than just a medical curiosity. The brain is actually capable of producing its own drugs, and these can be more powerful than prescription painkillers. Michael's volunteers come from all walks of life, but they have all suffered with bad backs for years and feel their conventional medication isn't up to the job. They include Stacey, who is struggling to keep up with her two energetic daughters, wheelchair user Jim, who longs to be able to get back on a boat, and poker player Moyra, who is looking for a painkiller which doesn't affect her performance. They think they are taking part in the trial of a powerful new painkiller, but their blue and white capsules actually contain nothing but ground-up rice. Can this fake treatment make a real difference? And how will the volunteers react when Michael reveals the truth? Michael also finds out about some remarkable placebo experiments from around the world, including a woman in Oxfordshire who experienced a near-miraculous recovery after undergoing fake surgery to fix her chronic shoulder pain. Plus a team in Lancashire who want to see if the placebo effect can cure a broken heart. And Michael discovers a team in Germany working on a placebo that works even if you know you are taking it, which might improve the lives of transplant patients. Michael also tests this out on himself - attempting to train his own body to respond to a fake treatment - a foul-tasting green drink - as if he were taking actual drugs.
2018 • Brain
Could a machine replace your doctor? Dr Hannah Fry explores the incredible ways AI is revolutionising healthcare - and what this means for all of us. This film chronicles the inside story of the AI health revolution, as one company, Babylon Health, prepare for a man vs machine showdown. Can Babylon succeed in their quest to prove their AI can outperform human doctors at safe triage and accurate diagnosis?
2018 • Health
For every pound we spend on food shopping, 77p goes to the supermarkets, giving them a huge influence over what we eat. But can we trust the supermarkets to tell us the truth about what we are buying and how it was produced? Or do their profits come first? In an experiment to discover the hidden truths about our everyday foods, Horizon has built the first ever truly 'honest supermarket'. Drawing on the latest scientific research and leading experts from across the UK, the team have built a supermarket where the products are labelled with the real story of how they are produced and their effect on us and the environment. We invite the British public to come in and discover the truth about their favourite foods. And in our on-site lab, new scientific discoveries reveal the food facts the supermarkets aren't telling you. Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and dietician Priya Tew, The Honest Supermarket takes a cold hard look at what's really going on with the food we eat. From new research that reveals you're likely to be ingesting plastic particles along with your bottled water to the lab tests that uncover the disturbing truth about just how old your 'fresh' supermarket fish really is… You'll never look at the food on your supermarket shelves in the same way again.
2019 • Health
Facebook is a company that has grown from nothing to be worth half a trillion dollars in just 15 years. Today nearly a third of all humans are using it, and yet we rarely get to see the people actually in charge of the biggest social network in the world. The company has suffered a series of deepening scandals and intense media scrutiny. In 2018, their mission - to connect everyone on the planet - seemed to be going dramatically wrong. Data leaks, fake news and hacks on user security were threatening to destroy everything Mark Zuckerberg had built. Yet throughout this difficult time, the company allowed the BBC’s flagship science strand Horizon to follow key members of the team trying to fix the problems and secure the platform. This film goes behind the scenes and follows the teams inside Facebook. It tackles difficult questions, like how our data is used and what content should and shouldn’t be on the site, but also shows how Facebook works, what the teams are doing to secure it, and reveals a hidden technological playground, where some of the smartest engineers in the world are being hired to build systems and technology no one has built before.
2019 • Economics
At an extraordinary moment in the history of one of the world’s oldest and most controversial drugs, Horizon investigates the very latest medical and scientific research into the effects of cannabis on the brain and the body. Medicinal cannabis became legal in the UK on 1 November 2018, but it is still shrouded in controversy. A&E doctor Javid Abdelmoneim wants to find out whether it will help or harm patients. Javid meets the young epilepsy patient responsible for changing the law around medicinal cannabis in the UK and sees the remarkable effects it has on his condition. He visits a medicinal cannabis farm in Denmark to learn how a company known for growing the recreational drug are now producing medicinal cannabis to be exported all over Europe. He travels to Israel, to find out why they have been using cannabis as a medicine for over 20 years and meets the scientists studying the safety and effectiveness of cannabis in treating pain. And he meets the so-called godfather of cannabis, who at 88 years old is still an active research scientist and considered the world’s leading cannabis expert. In the UK Javid encounters the first British patient to be prescribed intoxicating herbal cannabis to treat her chronic condition. He meets psychiatrists at King’s College London who reveal their new study linking cannabis more strongly than ever to alarming mental health problems. And he takes part in a groundbreaking trial looking at the effects of the different chemicals in cannabis on the brain.
2019 • Health
According to the UN, it is predicted that the human population could reach ten billion people by the year 2050. For broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham, who has dedicated his life to championing the natural world, the subject of our growing population and the impact it is having on our planet is one of the most vital – and often overlooked – topics of discussion in an era of increasing environmental awareness. Chris is worried that a world of ten billion may simply be too many people for the earth to sustain, given the impact 7.7 billion humans are already having. Travelling around the globe in search of answers to difficult and sometimes controversial questions, Chris investigates why our population is growing so rapidly, what impact it is having on the natural world, and whether there is anything that can be done. Chris travels to Brazil to discover a megacity on the verge of running out of water and an industry expanding to feed our growing numbers – with dire consequences for biodiversity. In Nigeria, a country set to become the third most populous nation on earth by 2050, overtaking the United States, Chris visits an extraordinary community surviving against the odds and a school that might hold the answer to a future fall in the birth rate. Back home in Britain, Chris interviews Sir David Attenborough – like Chris, he is a patron of the charity Population Matters. Chris also examines the role of falling birth rates around the world, the impact of an aging population, and meets a couple who are struggling to get pregnant through IVF. With interviews from several population experts, Chris's focus ultimately turns to the impact our levels of consumption are already having, and asks whether the world can rebalance to accommodate the needs of over two billion more people.
2020 • People
The opioid epidemic has devastated America. But what is the situation here? A new report from Public Health England raises serious concerns about Britain's own relationship with painkillers. Dr Michael Mosley embarks on an immersive journey to Britain’s opioid frontline and meets patients struggling with addiction and GPs fighting a constant battle to help those suffering from chronic pain. He also uncovers worrying evidence of people abusing over-the-counter opioids and discovers how easy it is to buy strong opioids online.
2020 • Health
In just over 100 days, a new coronavirus has taken an unprepared world by storm, infiltrating every corner of the globe, sending entire nations into lockdown, killing thousands and infecting countless more. Across the world, governments are scrambling to react, hospitals are struggling to cope and an increasingly anxious public are starting to panic. The world's media is awash with data, information and misinformation. But what are the facts? What is COVID-19 and why is this strain of coronavirus so dangerous? What happens in our bodies when the virus attacks? How does this compare to previous pandemics? What do all the the numbers really mean, and how can data modelling help us look for an exit strategy? This programme investigates the scientific facts and figures behind the biggest public health crisis in living memory, and explores the latest research from the frontline of the medical and scientific fightback.
2020 • Health
Maitre d' and Extraordinary Places to Eat host Fred Sirieix and GP Zoe Williams open a restaurant with a difference, welcoming 20 unsuspecting diners for a slap-up meal. It all sounds normal enough, but this restaurant has something unexpected back of house - a functioning gym, where a group of fitness fanatics are poised on exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines, ready to burn off every single calorie ordered and consumed by the diners.
2020 • Health
Is your smart phone making you stupid? Can you make yourself cleverer? The Great British Intelligence Test measures the brainpower of the nation in one of the largest intelligence experiments of its kind. Devised with leading scientists at Imperial College, London, over 250,000 people around the nation have taken part so far - revealing important new science about the nation’s changing intelligence. Dr Hannah Fry and Michael Mosley put the public to the test, pitting young and old, males and females and tech lovers and readers against each other in a battle of wits. The audience can also play along online at www.bbc.co.uk/intelligencetest The results reveal new science about how our intelligence changes through our life. Which mental abilities peak in our 80s? And when can adults be outsmarted by ten-year-olds? It explores how our gender can affect our intelligence and uncovers groundbreaking new science on how our lifestyle and love of technology is changing our brain. Which of our digital habits are improving our mental abilities and which are harming us?
2020 • Brain
Dr Chris van Tulleken, Dr Hannah Fry and Michael Mosley examine the latest research and explore some of the big questions about Covid-19 and the pandemic it has created. Michael visits the UK government's high-security laboratory Porton Down, where vaccines are being tested. He also uncovers what the experience of the 2002 SARs epidemic reveals about this one. Both were caused by coronaviruses, but certain key changes to today's virus have allowed it to infect the world, where SARs was contained.
2020 • Health
MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace and mathematician Dr Hannah Fry take over a restaurant and invite five special guests to enjoy a dinner party with a difference, where they will be scored on the carbon footprint of every dish they choose. Food accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, so making informed choices about what we eat is more important than ever. Diners Sara Pascoe, Amol Rajan, Nikki Fox, Desiree Burch and Matthew Fort choose from a menu of tantalising treats, each of which tells its own environmental story. But will they be able to sort the eco-goodies from the eco-nasties hidden in each course? Gregg is with the kitchen team preparing delicious dishes and uncovering tips and tricks we can all use to cook more sustainably. Hannah is working with environmental scientists to reveal the carbon footprint of every single item on the menu and uncovering the latest research that can help us enjoy the food we love that doesn't cost the Earth.
2021 • Environment
In this third Horizon special, Dr Chris Van Tulleken is joined by his brother Xand and Dr Guddi Singh to take us through the latest developments and answer current concerns. Though the effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to many, the team reveal the breakthroughs in genetics, medicine and modelling that have provided a way out of this situation and given hope and confidence that, in the event of a future pandemic, we can take it on and win.
2021 • Health
Dr George McGavin and Dr Zoe Laughlin set up base camp at one of the UK's biggest sewage works to investigate the revolutionary science finding vital renewable resources and undiscovered life in human waste. Teaming up with world-class scientists, they search for biological entities in sewage with potentially lifesaving medical properties, find out how pee can generate electricity, how gas from poo can fuel a car and how nutrients in waste can help solve the soil crisis. They follow each stage of the sewage treatment process, revealing what the stuff we flush can tell us about how we live today, and the mindboggling biotechnology being harnessed to clean it, making the wastewater safe enough to return to the environment.
2021 • Environment
The extraordinary inside story of the biggest scientific challenge of our age – following a small band of vaccine scientists around the world who took on Covid-19 and ultimately delivered the weapon to beat it. As news of the coronavirus broke around the globe, a small group of scientists jumped into action to tackle one of the greatest medical challenges of our time: to create a vaccine against a virus no-one had ever seen before and to do so in record time, all during a deadly, global pandemic.
2021 • Health
Tells the story of the first mammal to be cloned and the impact this monumental scientific achievement in 1996 had on the world. Featuring previously unseen footage, the film reveals how a handful of the world's best genetic scientists worked in secret on a small Scottish farm to crack the holy grail of replicating life.
2021 • Science
A third of the population regularly struggle with our sleep, which rose to one in two during the pandemic - the highest it’s ever been. However, as more and more people seek help, an explosion in sleep science is enabling the study of sleep in ways not possible before. What’s more, recent breakthroughs are uncovering what’s happening in our brains and bodies while we’re asleep, getting us closer than ever to understanding the importance of sleep for our health. Michael Mosley has struggled with his sleep for years and wants to know if the latest insights can help him and the millions like him. He discovers why cutting our sleep short can be linked to a host of illnesses, including serious diseases like Alzheimer’s. Putting his own sleeping brain and body to the test, Michael signs up for two revealing experiments: wearing a new device that maps his sleep and allows scientists to see how it measures up to an ideal night, and taking part in a sleep deprivation experiment, where he is confronted by the fact that just one sleepless night impacts his cognitive performance. Revealing the very latest science breakthroughs and packed with personal anecdotes, this programme is a useful guide to anyone looking for tips and insights on how to get the benefits from learning how to sleep well.
2022 • Lifehack
All over the world, scientists are discovering traces of ancient floods on a scale that dwarfs even the most severe flood disasters of recent times. What triggered these cataclysmic floods, and could they strike again? In the Channeled Scablands of Washington State, the level prairie gives way to bizarre, gargantuan rock formations: house-sized boulders seemingly dropped from the sky, a cliff carved by a waterfall twice the height of Niagara, and potholes large enough to swallow cars. Like forensic detectives at a crime scene, geologists study these strange features and reconstruct catastrophic Ice Age floods more powerful than all the world’s top ten rivers combined. NOVA follows their efforts to uncover the geologic fingerprints of other colossal megafloods in Iceland and, improbably, on the seabed of the English Channel. There, another deluge smashed through a land bridge connecting Britain and France hundreds of thousands of years ago and turned Britain into an island for the first time. These great disasters ripped through terrain and transformed continents in a matter of hours—and similar forces reawakened by climate change are posing an active threat to mountain communities throughout the world today.
Earthquakes have always been a terrifying phenomenon, and they’ve become more deadly as our cities have grown — with collapsing buildings posing one of the largest risks. But why do buildings collapse in an earthquake? And how can it be prevented? Vicki V. May explains the physics of why it is not the sturdiest buildings, but the smartest, that will remain standing.
The Hawaiian Islands are a study in contradictions. The fastest growing islands on earth are also the fastest disappearing. Made of one of the hardest minerals, it crumbles at a touch. The world's most active volcano is nowhere near the typical volcanic regions. Geologists strive to understand these mysteries.