The BEST Episodes of The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: May 28, 2020

Network: BBC Two

Michael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.

Can We Have Unlimited Power?

#1 - Can We Have Unlimited Power?

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired May 18, 2010

We are the most power-hungry generation that has ever lived. This film tells the story of how that power has been harnessed - from wind, steam and from inside the atom. In the early years the drive for new sources of power was led by practical men who wanted to make money. Their inventions and ideas created fortunes and changed the course of history, but it took centuries for science to catch up, to explain what power is, rather than simply what it does. This search revealed fundamental laws of nature which apply across the universe, including the most famous equation in all of science, e=mc2.

star 8.97
195 votes
Directors: Nicola Cook
What Is the Secret of Life?

#2 - What Is the Secret of Life?

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired May 25, 2010

Michael Mosley reveals how humanity has frequently turned to introspective study in an effort to discover the secret of life. He begins by revealing how surgeons in Ancient Rome worked to save the lives of gladiators wounded in combat, and examines the anatomical drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci. He also investigates how the moral crisis of unleashing a nuclear bomb helped trigger one of the greatest breakthroughs in biology - understanding the structure and workings of DNA

star 8.77
194 votes
Directors: Giles Harrison
Who Are We?

#3 - Who Are We?

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Jun 1, 2010

Michael Mosley examines one of the least understood yet most important subjects in science - the human brain. He considers why it took until the 17th century for the organ to be studied in depth, reveals the surprising results of uniting the twin sciences of anatomy and psychology to learn what shapes thoughts, feelings and desires, and argues that whether people are aware of it or not, the workings of the brain mean everyone is a scientist underneath.

star 8.73
163 votes
Directors: Nigel Walk
What Is Out There?

#4 - What Is Out There?

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Apr 27, 2010

Michael begins with the story of one of the great upheavals in human history - how we came to understand that our planet was not at the centre of everything in the cosmos, but just one of billions of bodies in a vast and expanding universe. He reveals the critical role of medieval astrologers in changing our view of the heavens, and the surprising connections to the upheavals of the Renaissance, the growth of coffee shops and Californian oil and railway barons. Michael shows how important the practical skills of craftsmen have been to this story and finds out how Galileo made his telescope to peer at the heavens and by doing so helped change our view of the universe forever.

star 8.42
260 votes
Directors: Jeremy Turner
What Is The World Made Of?

#5 - What Is The World Made Of?

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired May 4, 2010

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.

star 8.24
346 votes
Directors: Nat Sharman
How Did We Get Here?

#6 - How Did We Get Here?

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired May 11, 2010

The question of our human origins is one of the most controversial science has wrestled with. This is the story of how scientists came to explain the beauty and diversity of life on earth, and reveal how its evolution is connected to the long and violent history of our planet. Featuring ocean adventurers, eccentric French aristocrats, mountain climbers, a secret Victorian publisher with 12 fingers, a ridiculed German meteorologist, and only a brief hint of Charles Darwin.

star 8.13
281 votes
Directors: Peter Oxley