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Janus

   2020    Science
Most planets we know of are so hellish, it seems impossible that anything could live. But it's amazing where life can take hold in the Earth. Astrobiologists look for simple single-celled microbes known as extremophiles in places as Danakil Depression, known in Ethiopia as 'The Gateway to Hell.'
In Episode 2, the fictional world is Janus, a planet in such a close orbit than its rotation is locked by the star's gravity and it always shows the same face to its sun. On one side of the planet, it's always daytime, a searing desert. On the other side, it's forever night, a frozen shadowland. Squeezed between the two, a sliver of perpetual twilight. Freezing meltwater flows from the cold side, carving canyons through the landscape. Deep in these canyons lives an extraordinary five-legged creature.
Series: Alien Worlds

Atlas

   2020    Science
The series, depicted by state of the art CGI techniques, and applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, blends fact with science fiction and conceptualizes what alien life might be like on other planets.
In the prologue, astronomer Didier Queloz makes an appearance to discuss the discoveries of exoplanets and how they are analyzed in the real world. In Episode 1, the fictional world imagined is Atlas, a world with higher gravity than Earth and a thicker atmosphere leading to airborne creatures. In explaining the aliens of Atlas, the episode also explores the handicap principle in insects, and shows a rehabilitative form of falconry as captive falcons are trained to live in the wild.
Series: Alien Worlds

Life

   2020    Science
Genetic breakthroughs have shed light on how life evolves in real-time. From filling in the missing links to creating a new species, in the last 50 years scientists have solved some of the biggest mysteries of evolution. In this episode, we look at revolutionary discoveries that shook the world and may shape our future.
Series: The Great Acceleration

Words on a Page

   2020    History
Writing itself is 5,000 years old, and for most of that time words were written by hand using a variety of tools. The Romans were able to run an empire thanks to documents written on papyrus. Scroll books could be made quite cheaply and, as a result, ancient Rome had a thriving written culture. With the fall of the Roman Empire, papyrus became more difficult to obtain. Europeans were forced to turn to a much more expensive surface on which to write: Parchment. Medieval handwritten books could cost as much as a house, they also represent a limitation on literacy and scholarship.
No such limitations were felt in China, where paper had been invented in the second century. Paper was the foundation of Chinese culture and power, and for centuries how to make it was kept secret. When the secret was out, paper mills soon sprang up across central Asia. The result was an intellectual flourishing known as the Islamic Golden Age. Muslim scholars made discoveries in biology, geology, astronomy and mathematics. By contrast, Europe was an intellectual backwater.
That changed with Gutenberg’s development of movable type printing. The letters of the Latin alphabet have very simple block-like shapes, which made it relatively simple to turn them into type pieces. When printers tried to use movable type to print Arabic texts, they found themselves hampered by the cursive nature of Arabic writing. The success of movable type printing in Europe led to a thousand-fold increase in the availability of information, which produced an explosion of ideas that led directly to the European Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that followed.
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Humboldt Epic Explorer

   2020    History
In 1799, the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt embarked on a perilous journey of discovery across South America. It would take him to the deepest jungle near the Orinoco and to the heights of the Andes. His aim was twofold: to conduct the first scientific survey of South America and to discover how the natural world actually works — at a time when most scientists believed that the world was created less than 6,000 years ago. He later became a leading scientific figure and champion of the abolitionist movement in the US.
This extremely visual docudrama follows Humboldt’s extraordinary path. Travelling in Humboldt’s footsteps is historian Andrea Wulf, whose book on Humboldt became a worldwide bestseller. For good reason, since Humboldt’s ideas on the planet’s fragile web of life are as important today as they were 220 years ago.
Galapagos
Galapagos

   2006    Nature
The Planets
The Planets

   2000    Science
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
Generation Iron
Generation Iron

   2013    Culture
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan
Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan

   2021    History
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature