Professor Brian Cox takes on the story of the force that sculpts the entire universe - gravity. Gravity seems so familiar, and yet it is one of the strangest and most surprising forces in the universe. Starting with a zero gravity flight, Brian experiences the feeling of total weightlessness, and considers how much of an effect gravity has had on the world around us. But gravity also acts over much greater distances. It is the great orchestrator of the cosmos. It dictates our orbit around the sun, our relationship with the other planets in our solar system, and even the way in which our solar system orbits our galaxy. Yet the paradox of gravity is that it is actually a relatively weak force. Brian takes a face distorting trip in a centrifuge to explain how it is that gravity achieves its great power, before looking at the role it plays in one of the most extraordinary phenomena in the universe - a neutron star. Although it is just a few kilometres across, it is so dense that its gravity is 100, 000 million times as strong as on Earth. Over the centuries our quest to understand gravity has allowed us to understand some of the true wonders of the universe, and Brian reveals that it is scientists' continuing search for answers that inspires his own sense of wonder.
Category: Science Duration: 59:00
This episode covers the nature of how life may have developed on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets. Tyson begins by explaining how the human development of writing systems enabled the transfer of information through generations, describing how Princess Enheduanna ca. 2280 BCE would be one of the first to sign her name to her works, and how Gilgamesh collected stories, including that of Utnapishtim documenting a great flood comparable to the story of Noah's Ark. Tyson explains how DNA similarly records information to propagate life, and postulates theories of how DNA originated on Earth, including evolution from a shallow tide pool, or from the ejecta of meteor collisions from other planets. In the latter case, Tyson explains how comparing the composition of the Nakhla meteorite in 1911 to results collected by the Viking program demonstrated that material from Mars could transit to Earth, and the ability of some microbes to survive the harsh conditions of space. With the motions of solar systems through the galaxy over billions of years, life could conceivably propagate from planet to planet in the same manner. Tyson then moves on to consider if life on other planets could exist. He explains how Project Diana performed in the 1960s showed that radio waves are able to travel in space, and that all of humanity's broadcast signals continue to radiate into space from our planet. Tyson notes that projects have since looked for similar signals potentially emanating from other solar systems. Tyson then explains that the development and lifespan of extraterrestrial civilizations must be considered for such detection to be realized. He notes that civilizations can be wiped out by cosmic events like supernovae, natural disasters such as the Toba disaster, or even self-destruct through war or other means, making probability estimates difficult. Tyson describes how elliptical galaxies, in which some of the oldest red dwarf stars exist, would offer the best chance of finding established civilizations. Tyson concludes that human intelligence properly applied should allow our species to avoid such disasters and enable us to migrate beyond the Earth before the Sun's eventual transformation into a red giant.
Category: Science Duration: 42:00
Rothko is known for his abstract expressionism paintings, but he moved through more traditional styles in his early career, including Surrealist paintings in the 1940s. In 1947 he embarked on the first of his large abstract 'colour-field' paintings, formalising their structure further in the 1950s. Rothko had huge success with largescale solo shows, but committed suicide in 1970.
Category: Art Duration: 60:00
The third episode follows tigers, harpy eagles, chimpanzees, army ants and other predators as they rise to the challenge of hunting within the forest - a dense, confusing, three-dimensional world, one in which even finding prey is a maddening task. The prize for succeeding at nature's great game of hide-and-seek is one worth winning. Forests cover one third of the land surface, and concealed within are over half of the species on Earth.
Category: Nature Duration: 58:07
So far the volunteers have successfully been losing lost weight, but now the honeymoon period is over. It is the final two months of the diet, and their minds and bodies are fighting back. Dr Chris van Tulleken and Professor Tanya Byron find out if the new personalised diets will help them stay on course, and the experts reveal the scientific secrets to permanent dieting success.
Category: Medicine Duration: 59:00
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