Simply the Best Documentaries

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The Great Survivors
Dark Future of the Sun
History of the Eagles 1
Is Luck Real
Children 404
Swallowed by a Black Hole
Stephen Hawking Favorite Places III
The Kingdom How Fungi Made Our World
Neptune and Uranus
That Sugar Film
Cooked: Fire
What is the Right Diet for You 2of3
The Making of Jurassic Park
Evolution: The Evolutionary Arms Race
Stephen Hawking Favorite Places
The Indian Ocean Coastal Waters
Racing Extinction
The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System
Cold War 2.0
Archimedes Secret
The Search for a New Earth
Urban Jungles
Cosmic Apocalypse
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds: 1 Akasha
Earth, the Power of the Planet: Atmosphere
The Union The Business Behind Getting High
Which Universe Are We In
Cooked: Air
World Richest Terror Army
An Everyday Miracle
Africa Fishing Leopards
Journey to Space
Flight of the Butterflies
Planet Dinosaur Ultimate Killers

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The Brain What is Reality
The Brain What is Reality 2015

Neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the human brain in an epic series that reveals the ultimate story of us, why we feel and think the things we do. This ambitious project blends science with innovative visual effects and compelling personal stories, and addresses some big questions. By understanding the human brain, we can come close to understanding humanity". In this episode, Dr. Eagleman takes viewers on an extraordinary journey that explores how the brain, locked in silence and darkness without direct access to the world, conjures up the rich and beautiful world we all take for granted.

Category:Medicine  Duration:55:00   Series: The Brain with David Eagleman

Let there be Life
Let there be Life 2014

Professor of physics Jim Al-Khalili investigates the most accurate and yet perplexing scientific theory ever - quantum physics, the perplexing theory of sub-atomic particles. Turning his attention to the world of nature, can quantum mechanics explain the greatest mysteries in biology? The European robin navigates using one of the most bizarre effects in physics - quantum entanglement, a process which seems to defy common sense. Jim finds that even the most personal of human experiences - our sense of smell - is touched by ethereal quantum vibrations. According to new experiments it seems that our quantum noses are listening to smells. Jim discovers that the most famous law of quantum physics - the uncertainty principle - is obeyed by plants and trees as they capture sunlight during the vital process of photosynthesis. Jim wonders if the strange laws of the sub-atomic world, which allow objects to tunnel through impassable barriers in defiance of common sense, could effect the mechanism by which living species evolve?

Category:Science  Duration:59:00   Series: The Secrets of Quantum Physics

The Private Life of Plants: Travelling
The Private Life of Plants: Travelling 1994

Sir David Attenborough reveals plants as they have never been seen before - on the move and dangerously devious. About the major problems of life - growing, finding food, reproduction - and the varied ways plants have evolved to solve it. Filmed from the plant's point of view, using computer animations, fibre-optics and unique time-lapse photography. The first episode looks at how plants are able to move". The bramble is an aggressive example: it advances forcefully from side to side and, once settled on its course, there is little that can stand in its way. An altogether faster species is the birdcage plant, which inhabits Californian sand dunes. When its location becomes exposed, it shifts at great speed to another one with the assistance of wind — and it is this that allows many forms of vegetation to distribute their seeds. While not strictly a plant, the spores of fungi are also spread in a similar fashion. One of the most successful (and intricate) flowers to use the wind is the dandelion, whose seeds travel with the aid of 'parachutes'. They are needed to travel miles away from their parents, who are too densely packed to allow any new arrivals. Trees have the advantage of height to send their seeds further, and the cottonwood is shown as a specialist in this regard. The humidity of the tropical rainforest creates transportation problems, and the liana-species Alsomitra macrocarpa is one plant whose seeds are aerodynamic 'gliders'. Some, such as those of the sycamore, take the form of 'helicopters', while others, such as the squirting cucumber release their seeds by 'exploding'. Water is also a widely used method of propulsion. The tropical sea bean Entada gigas has one of the biggest fruits of all plants and is dispersed by water streams. However, most plants use living couriers, whether they be dogs, humans and other primates, ants or birds, etc., and to that end, they use colour and smell to signify when they are ripe for picking.

Category:Nature  Duration:49:00   Series: The Private Life of Plants

Flowering 1995

The third episode is devoted to the ways in which plants reproduce. Pollen and a stigma are the two components needed for fertilisation. Most plants carry both these within their flowers and rely on animals to transport the pollen from one to the stigma of another. To do this, they attract their couriers with colour, scent and nectar. It isn't just birds that help pollination: some mammals and reptiles also do so. However, it is mostly insects that are recruited to carry out the task. To ensure that pollen is not wasted by being delivered to the wrong flower, some species of plant have developed exclusive relationships with their visitors, and the gentian and its attendant carpenter bees is one example. Since pollen can be expensive to produce in terms of calories, some plants, such as orchids, ration it by means of pollinia and a strategically placed landing platform. Other orchids offer no reward for pollination, but instead mislead their guests by mimicking their markings and aroma, thus enticing males to 'mate' with them (Pseudocopulation). The most extreme fertilisation method is one of imprisonment, and one plant that uses it is the dead horse arum. It is often found near gull colonies, and mimics the appearance and smell of rotting flesh. Blow-flies are attracted to it, and are forced to stay the night before being allowed to depart in the morning, laden with pollen. Finally, Attenborough introduces the world's largest inflorescence: that of the titan arum.

Category:Nature  Duration:49:00   Series: The Private Life of Plants

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