Professor Brian Cox concludes his exploration of our place in the universe by asking what next for the ape that went to space. In northern Spain, he begins in a cave that was once home to our distant ancestors. Here, he discovers some of the earliest art in the universe - a child's hand painted onto the wall that has remained intact for around 40,000 years. That child - if raised today - would be just as bright and just as capable as any modern child. Yet its vision of the future would be very different to ours. To understand what sets us apart, Brian heads to the Arctic. In Svalbard, he joins a group of people who are celebrating the midsummer sun. At these latitudes, the sun doesn't set for weeks on end. Brian shows how science is able to precisely predict the future passage of our star in ways our ancestors could not have imagined. The difference is that science has given us a vision of the deep future. It has shown us that we live in a clockwork universe where planets turn around stars in predictable orbits, stars around galaxies and the galaxies themselves are all falling through a probably infinite universe. But powerful as science is at predicting the motion of the heavens, our future is far from certain. In Florida, Brian joins the latest efforts to protect Earth from potential catastrophic events. He joins a team of Nasa astronauts who are training for a future mission to an asteroid - should we ever discover one coming our way - under 30 feet of water in a submerged laboratory that simulates space. It is just one example of how, for our long-term survival, space exploration may well be vital. It is a view shared by Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, who tells Brian what it was like to escape the confines of the planet. It is a dream that both Nasa and now commercial companies share as they race to get humans back into deep space. But space travel, like every leap our civilisation has ever made, requires energy. Here too, scientists are hard at wWatch Now:Amazon
In this episode, Michael demonstrates how our society is built on our search to find the answer to what makes up everything in the material world. This is a story that moves from the secret labs of the alchemists and their search for gold to the creation of the world's first synthetic dye - mauve - and onto the invention of the transistor.
A planet sculpted from cosmic violence. Earth is a very lucky planet. It has ended up the right size and in the right place. This only happened because of violent cosmic collisions. The crazy thing is, if things had been even slightly different with more or less collisions, we wouldn’t be here. We discover the moments that could have destroyed us, but instead made our planet what it is.Watch Now:Amazon
The freak accident behind complex life. All life on earth started as single cell bacteria and stayed like that for 2 billion years. Successfully spreading across the planet. So even if we do find alien life, what are the chances of that life being complex – like us? Vanishingly rare… on our strange rock, it’s all down to a freak event, which accidentally happened when one cell ate another to create a kind of cellular power pack: mitochondria. This almost miraculous event transforms earth into a complex interconnected food web based on a competition for food. And at the top of the pyramid sits us humans.Watch Now:Amazon
Series exploring the wonders of the human body. Using spectacular graphics based on real images and the latest scientific research, Michael Mosley takes viewers on a voyage through the workings of the inner human universe. Travelling through the body, tiny clusters of hairs loom as large as a forest and hidden chambers of the heart rise up like a vast cathedral. To illustrate the surprising ways bodies work, the series also tells the stories of remarkable people from around the world who have pushed theirs to the absolute limit. From the moment of creation to our last breath, the series reveals the human body's ability to amaze and delight. Mosley tells the story of human biological creation. He brings to life surprising medical research, revealing the improbable sequence of events that lead to birth. State-of-the-art graphics follow millions of sperm on their dangerous race towards the egg, revealing the ingenious ways that a woman's body selects the best; illustrate a body begining to self-assemble; and, in a television first, show a human face coming together. The programme follows the progress of a couple who are expecting triplets, from the 4D scan when they first come face-to-face with their babies to the dramatic finale of birth. Plus, meet a woman expecting her 16th baby and the oldest conjoined twins in the world.Watch Now:Amazon
Brian Cox explores the ingredients needed for an intelligent civilisation to evolve in the universe - the need for a benign star, for a habitable planet, for life to spontaneously arise on such a planet and the time required for intelligent life to evolve and build a civilisation. Brian weighs the evidence and arrives at his own provocative answer to the puzzle of our apparent solitude.Watch Now:Amazon
Ada Lovelace was a most unlikely computer pioneer. In this film, Dr Hannah Fry tells the story of Ada's remarkable life. Born in the early 19th century Ada was a countess of the realm, a scandalous socialite and an 'enchantress of numbers'. The film is an enthralling tale of how a life infused with brilliance, but blighted by illness and gambling addiction, helped give rise to the modern era of computing. Hannah traces Ada's unlikely union with the father of computers, Charles Babbage. Babbage designed the world's first steam-powered computers - most famously the analytical engine - but it was Ada who realised the full potential of these new machines. During her own lifetime Ada was most famous for being the daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron ('mad, bad and dangerous to know'). It was only with the advent of modern computing that Ada's understanding of their flexibility and power (that they could be far more than mere number crunchers) was recognised as truly visionary. Hannah explores how Ada's unique inheritance - poetic imagination and rational logic - made her the ideal prophet of the digital age. This moving, intelligent and beautiful film makes you realise we nearly had a Victorian computer revolution.