Category “Science”

The Day We Learned to Think

Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre pigment, 70,000 years old, has raised some very interesting questions. Anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) emerged in Africa roughly 100,000 years ago. We know from...

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The Deep Earth

Broadcast (1998) A curious feature of our planet’s surface is that it has two distinct levels: the dry land on the continents, on average a few hundred metres above sea level, and the ocean floor, making up two thirds of the Earth’s surface, several kilometres below sea level. Only in the past fifty years have scientists begun to explore in detail this vast region, revealing beneath the waves a landscape quite unlike the world we are used to. They have discovered a vast mountain range which encircles the entire globe where new sea floor is being continuously...

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The Elephant: Inside Nature’s Giants

A four-part documentary that dissects the largest animals on the planet to uncover their evolutionary hidden secrets. A team of experts examine the anatomy of an elephant, a crocodile, a giraffe, and even a 55 tonne fin whale measuring over 19 metres long. Inside Nature's Giants is an intriguing four-part series that gives insight into the evolution of the world’s largest animals, revealing how their bodies work from the inside out, and demonstrating how the magnificent creatures have adapted to their surroundings over thousands of...

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The Elephant: Life after Death

Elephants can live for 70 years. But what happens when one of these magnificent beasts dies in the wild? This stunning film turns normal wildlife documentaries on their head to find out what happens after death, as a five-tonne adult elephant is transformed into six million calories worth of fat, meat and guts, feeding a whole new cycle of life. The documentary gives scientists the chance to watch close up, day and night, as animals from leopards, hyenas and vultures to flies and beetles take just days to reduce the largest land animal on earth to bare bones. Biologist Simon Watt leads a...

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The End of God?: A Horizon Guide to Science and Religion

As the Pope ends his visit to Britain, historian Dr Thomas Dixon delves into the BBC’s archive to explore the troubled relationship between religion and science. From the creationists of America to the physicists of the Large Hadron Collider, he traces the expansion of scientific knowledge and asks whether there is still room for God in the modern world. The relationship between science and religion has been long and troubled: from the condemnation of Galileo by the Catholic Church in 17th century Italy, through the clashes between creationism and evolution in 20th century...

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The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein

The Theory of Special Relativity as part of the educational process: not for the sake of understanding the theory itself, but in using Einstein’s particular discovery as a case study to demonstrate and walk people through real human thinking. The presentation ends with reflecting on the principle of relativity in terms of social relations and individual identities or thought processes, asking the question –how was Einstein able to make his...

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The Family That Walks on All Four

An intense scientific debate has ignited around a quiet but extraordinary family living in rural Turkey-a family with five adults who walk on all fours. Since bipedalism has long been considered one of the defining characteristics of modern humans, such a discovery raises fascinating questions about genetics, society, and the evolutionary history of our species. Is this the anthropological find of the millennium, or simply a unique medical case? NOVA sets out to unravel the controversy and meet the individuals who have captured the imagination of scientists around the...

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The Fantastical World of Hormones

Theres a mysterious set of chemicals that flow through every part of our bodies, they can rule our lives and shape our destinies, they turn children into adults, they govern our appetites and they even affect our passions. They are called hormones and they are fundamental in making us who we are. In this film professor John Wass tells the wonderful and often weird story of how hormones were...

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The Four-Winged Dinosaur

In 2002, the discovery of a beautiful and bizarre fossil astonished scientists and reignited the debate over the origin of flight. With four wings and superbly preserved feathers, the 130 million-year-old creature was like nothing paleontologists had ever seen before. In this program, NOVA travels to the Chinese stone quarry where the fossil was discovered (a famed fossil treasure trove) and teams up with the world’s leading figures in paleontology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, animation, and scientific reconstruction to perform an unorthodox experiment: a wind tunnel flight test of a...

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