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The Great Salmon Run

   2009    Nature
Every year grizzly bear families in North America depend for their survival on a spectacular natural event: the return of hundreds of millions of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the mountain streams where they were born. The salmon travel thousands of miles to spawn and then die. The great run not only provides food for bears, but for killer whales, wolves, bald eagles, and even the forest itself. The question is: will the salmon return in time to keep hungry bears alive?
A mother grizzly and her cubs emerge from their den high in snowy Alaskan mountains. Filming from the air the team capture a TV first, following the bears as they negotiate a near vertical slope on their journey to the coast where they await the return of the salmon. Meanwhile, the salmon are making their way to the to river mouths where they must swim upstream and against the current. The programme reveals how they tackle the torrents and leap over waterfalls, a feat equivalent to a human jumping over a house. Dozens of hungry bears eagerly await the salmon that make it up river. In another TV first, underwater cameras record the ingenuity and fancy footwork they use to collect dead salmon from the bottom of deep pools.
Series: Nature Great Events

The Hunt for Gravitational Waves

   2015    Science
Travel to the South Pole to discover the inside story of the greatest scientific quest of our time. In March 2014, a team of astronomers stunned the scientific world when they announced that their BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole had possibly detected a signal of 'gravitational waves' from the early universe. This is the inside story of the hunt for gravitational waves from the beginning of time. How the BICEP2 team came close to making one of the greatest discoveries of the century – and what happened when it all began to unravel...

The Immortals

   2014    Science
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.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

The Incredible Human Journey: Australia

   2009    History
Dr Alice Roberts looks at our ancestors' seemingly impossible journey to Australia. Miraculously preserved footprints and very old human fossils buried in the outback suggest a mystery: that humans reached Australia almost before anywhere else. How could they have travelled so far from Africa, crossing the open sea on the way, and do it thousands of years before they made it to Europe? The evidence trail is faint and difficult to pick up, but Alice takes on the challenge. In India, new discoveries among the debris of a super volcano hint that our species started the journey much earlier than previously thought, while in Malaysia, genetics points to an ancient trail still detectable in the DNA of tribes today. Alice travels deep into the Asian rainforests in search of the first cavemen of Borneo and tests out a Stone Age raft to see whether sea travel would have been possible thousands of years ago, before coming to a powerful conclusion.
Series: The Incredible Human Journey

The Incredible Human Journey: Europe

   2009    History
When our species first arrived in Europe, the peak of the Ice Age was approaching and the continent was already crawling with a rival: stronger, at home in the cold and even (contrary to their popular image) brainier than us. So how did the European pioneers survive first the Neanderthals and then the deep freeze as they pushed across the continent? Alice Roberts reconstructs the head of the 'first European' to come face to face with one of our ancestors; she discovers how art became crucial for survival in the face of Neanderthal competition; and what happened to change the skin colour of these European pioneers from black to white.
Series: The Incredible Human Journey
Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors
Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors

   2018    History
Our Planet
Our Planet

   2019    Nature
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

   2014    Science
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works

   2014    Science
Alien Worlds
Alien Worlds

   2020    Science
Heavens Gate
Heavens Gate

   2020    Culture