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Powering the Mind • 2015 • episode "6/10" Catalyst: Season 1

Category: Brain

What is memory? How do our memories change from childhood to adulthood? How we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age? Brain epigenetics, how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences, is an intriguing new area of science with huge health implications.

Catalyst: Season 1 • 2015 • 10 episodes •

Polar People

Each year, over 2000 people apply for jobs in Antarctica, but few are successful. What are the physical and psychological attributes required to work in the most remote location on Earth? Could you snag a job in sub-zero temperatures at an Antarctic station?

2015 • People

Our Chemical Lives

Thousands of chemicals are used in everyday products – in our water, our food and in the air we breathe. It’s the chemical soup of modern life and it’s virtually impossible to escape them. Is there adequate regulation and testing, or are we in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment?

2015 • Health


Good to know as you travel to the Antipodes - Australia has the most venomous snakes and spiders in the world. But, if you’re bitten, can you rely on anti-venom? Dr Graham Phillips investigates the effectiveness of anti-venom.

2015 • Health

Future Cities

It's amazing to think that in the 1900s a mere tenth of the world's population lived and worked in cities. Now it is over half. With soaring populations, how will we keep our cities live-able? And what will the city of tomorrow look like?

2015 • Environment

Quantum Computing

The promise of quantum computers is that what would otherwise take a billion years to calculate, could be done in a few seconds. First-generation quantum computers have started to appear. Indeed, earlier this year, Google bought one, The D-Wave 2. How will this advance change our future lives?

2015 • Technology

Powering the Mind

What is memory? How do our memories change from childhood to adulthood? How we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age? Brain epigenetics, how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences, is an intriguing new area of science with huge health implications.

2015 • Brain

Extreme Weather

This special report looks at the domino effect of environmental and atmospheric factors that drive the globe to wetter, hotter, drier and colder extremes.

2015 • Environment

Tokyo Flood Prevention

Fifty meters beneath the teeming mega-city of Tokyo is an underworld river system - 6.4km of tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars, giant pumps that remove 200 tons of floodwater every second. It’s an engineering marvel built to protect Tokyo against the increasing threat of flooding.

2015 • Technology

Mega Tsunamis

By investigating the tell-tale signs of earthquakes and tsunamis written into the landscape over the last thousand years, Japanese scientists are rewriting the rule books for disaster prevention in the Pacific.

2015 • Environment

Alien Technology

Is there anyone out there? Does the popular movie quote 'ET phone home' have any substance? Astronomers have been pointing their radio telescopes at the skies for decades trying to pick up alien signals. Hitch a ride as we join astronomers trawling through the galaxy looking for signs of life.

2015 • Technology

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The Brain that Changes Itself

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Can We Build a Brain?

Artificially intelligent machines are taking over. They’re influencing our everyday lives in profound and often invisible ways. They can read handwriting, interpret emotions, play games, and even act as personal assistants. They are in our phones, our cars, our doctors’ offices, our banks, our web searches…the list goes on and is rapidly growing ever longer. But how does today’s A.I. actually work—and is it truly intelligent? And for that matter, what is intelligence? The world’s brightest computer programmers are trying to build brighter machines by reverse-engineering the brain and by inventing completely new kinds of computers, with exponentially greater speed and processing power. NOVA Wonders looks at how far we’ve come and where machines are headed as their software becomes ever more…cerebral. How close are we from a world in which computers take over—from diagnosing cancer to driving our cars to targeting weapons? If we place more and more of our lives under the control of these artificial brains, what are we putting at risk?

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Culture of Fear

Michael Mosley and a team of experts place human behaviour under the microscope. In the final episode, Michael and scientists Dr Jack Lewis and Dr Jennifer Wild explore the biology of fear and anxiety in the modern world. Fear is one of our most basic human emotions. In the past, it kept us from being eaten by a wild animal. But today, that isn't so much of a threat and yet we live in a state of anxiety - it's becoming unhealthy.

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Explorer: A New Normal

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What is your Brain?

In the first episode, we explore the apparently very simple question: What is your brain? This is something humans have been struggling to understand for millennia and science for several decades.

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