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Archimedes Secret

       History
This is the story of a book that could have changed the history of the World. To the untrained eye, it is nothing more than a small and unassuming Byzantine prayer book. For faintly visible beneath the prayers on its pages are other, unique, writings - words that have been lost for nearly two thousand years. The text is the only record of work by one of the world's greatest minds - the ancient Greek, Archimedes - a mathematical genius centuries ahead of his time. Hidden for a millennium in a middle eastern library, it has been written over, broken up, painted on, cut up and re-glued. But in the nick of time scientists have saved the precious, fragile document, and for the first time it is revealing just how revolutionary Archimedes' ideas were. If it had been available to scholars during the Renaissance, we might have reached the Moon over a hundred years ago.

Libraries Gave Us Power

   2012    Art
The story of the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection reaches its end with the last great flowering of illumination, in the magnificent courts of the Tudors. Dr Janina Ramirez investigates astrological texts created for Henry VII, and unwraps his will - still in its original, extravagantly-decorated velvet and gold cover. She hears music written for Henry VIII, which went unperformed for centuries; and reads love notes between the king and Anne Boleyn, written in the margins of a prayer book. Nina also visits Bruges, the source of many of the greatest manuscripts, where this medieval art form collided with the artistic innovations of the Renaissance.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings

Travels with Vasari 1

   2009    Art
On a spectacular journey through Renaissance Italy, Andrew Graham-Dixon searches for the shadowy figure who wrote one of the most important books on art and looks at some dazzling works, including masterpieces of the early Renaissance by Giotto, Masaccio and Donatello. Giorgio Vasari was the grandaddy of all art critics, travelling Italy in the 16th century for his definitive Lives of the Artists. It was a time of miracles that he named 'the Renaissance'.
Series: Travels with Vasari

Travels with Vasari 2

   2009    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon retraces Vasari's footsteps for this captivating two-part film in a short Art of Italy season. He's an enthusiastic guide, lapsing easily into Italian conversation with the custodians of galleries and chapels who allow him a private view. From Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence to less familiar marvels - a Donatello sculpture; Masaccio frescoes - he illustrates how rapidly ideas developed. A final treat for him - and us - is a tour of the Vasari Corridor, a rarely accessed gallery that zigzags across the Florentine rooftops.
Series: Travels with Vasari

What Is Out There

   2010    History
An informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path. The Story Of Science tells the forces that came together to create scientific knowledge; the practical business of making instruments and machines; the great forces of history – revolutions, voyages of discovery and artistic movements – and the dogged determination of scientists and experimenters. This is the story of how scientific ideas shaped the modern world and how science made history. Michael Mosley begins the first episode with the story of one of the great upheavals in human history - how we came to understand that our planet was not at the centre of everything in the cosmos, but just one of billions of bodies in a vast and expanding universe. He reveals the critical role of medieval astrologers in changing our view of the heavens, and the surprising connections to the upheavals of the Renaissance, the growth of coffee shops and Californian oil and railway barons. Michael shows how important the practical skills of craftsmen have been to this story and finds out how Galileo made his telescope to peer at the heavens and by doing so helped change our view of the universe forever.
Series: The Story of Science

What is the Secret of Life

   2010    Science
The story of how the secret of life has been examined through the prism of the most complex organism known - the human body. It begins with attempts to save the lives of gladiators in Ancient Rome, unfolds with the macabre work and near-perfect drawings of Leonardo in the Renaissance, through the idea of the 'life force' of electricity, to the microscopic world of the cell. It reveals how a moral crisis unleashed by work on the nuclear bomb helped trigger a great breakthrough in biology - understanding the structure and workings of DNA.
Series: The Story of Science
Reel Rock

Reel Rock

2014  Culture
Future Warfare

Future Warfare

2021  Technology
Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

2022  Science
The Toys that Made Us

The Toys that Made Us

2017  Technology
Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

2007  Culture
Becoming Martian

Becoming Martian

2021  Technology
Life In Cold Blood

Life In Cold Blood

2008  Nature