They are constantly circling hundreds of miles above our heads, driving our daily lives - yet we barely give satellites a second thought. Satellite engineer Maggie Aderin Pocock wants to change all that. She wants to make us realise and appreciate what these unsung heroes of the modern world have done for us. Maggie reveals how satellites have revolutionised exploration, communication, location-finding and spying. She discovers how they have transformed not only the way we see our planet but our understanding of the dangers within it, like volcanoes and earthquakes. Plus, she discovers the jaw-dropping power of the technology used by satellites to make our lives run smoothly.
Daniel Henry dives into the new world of algorithms and computer-automated hiring, with the help of an animated co-presenter to explain how the technology works. Daniel's journey begins at the first stage of a job application - writing a CV. At the University of Liverpool, he is given tips from their student career advisers about how best to tailor his CV so it isn't rejected by software used to select applicants to progress to the next stage. But he discovers there may be ways to play this system.
2022 • Technology
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.
What if we could explore the vastness of Space? Science fiction has always fed upon our need to explore – to wonder what is out there. Space journeys from Jules Verne’s earliest ideas about attempts to leave our planet, to the Star Wars far away galaxy through to Nichelle Nichols revealing how her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek led to her participation in the recruitment of NASA’s astronauts. It explores the deep sea inspiration for Avatar, finds out why Ursula K Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable. In addition, the program looks at the way Dune and The Mars Trilogy embraced the challenge of world building and discusses the appeal of the beaten up ‘dirty space’ of Dark Star and Firefly. From the horrifying scenes of Alien, to the epic spectacle of Star Wars, this is a journey to the stars and the alien encounters that await us there.
What if we could travel not just through space, but through time itself? If you could travel through time, would you change the past or the future? What if you found it couldn’t be changed? What price does the time traveller — and the people they are closest to — pay? This is a journey from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine through ideas like The Grandfather Paradox and The Butterfly Effect to the professional time traveller that is the ever popular Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, David Tennant, Karen Gillan, and Neil Gaiman offer a unique perspective on the Doctor. Edward James Olmos reveals the hidden meaning of the language he created for the vision of the future that is Blade Runner. Bob Gale and Christopher Lloyd take us behind the scenes of Back to the Future, while Ed Solomon describes the joy of solving a time travel conundrum for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But what would be the physical and emotional cost to the time traveller? Audrey Niffenegger explains what inspired her novel The Time Traveller’s Wife. And what if someone from the future tried to travel back in time to warn us? Would we believe them? From the apocalyptic tones of 12 Monkeys to the drama of Quantum Leap and the comedy of Groundhog Day, time travel is a subject that has been irresistible to the creators of every type of science fiction.