The air around us is not just empty space; it is an integral part of the chemistry of life. Plants are made from carbon dioxide, nitrogen nourishes the soil and oxygen gives us the energy we need to keep our hearts pumping and our brains alive. But how did we come to understand what air is made of? How did we come to know that this invisible stuff around us contains anything at all?
Professor Iain Stewart uncovers clues hidden within the New York skyline, the anatomy of American alligators and inside Bolivian silver mines, to reconstruct how North and South America were created. We call these two continents the New World, and in a geological sense they are indeed new worlds, torn from the heart of an ancient supercontinent - the Old World of Pangaea.
Welcome to the Collision Zone – the fiery unpredictability of Indonesia’s volcanoes at one end, the massive Himalayas at the other and millions of years of tectonic tension in between. The collision zone of the old world is about to be the hub of the new. India, the Himalayas and the island arc of Indonesia - these lands will form the centre of the world’s next supercontinent. A story unfolds—a tale of where the earth has been and what the earth shall be: a whole new world that we’ll barely recognize.
Six months after the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the release of radiation there, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to discover whether nuclear power is safe. He begins in Japan, where he meets some of the tens of thousands of people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. He travels to an abandoned village just outside the zone to witness a nuclear clean-up operation.
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.
Venture into the danger zone of two volcanic craters posing widely divergent threats. Hawaii's Kilauea is a shield volcano that threatens communities with its slow-but-relentless lava flow, while the Sumatran Sinabung is a stratovolcano delivering carnage via a sudden and explosive surge of superheated gas and rock.