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Life Rocky Start

   2016    Science
Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place, a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? Join mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It's a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.

Rare Earth

   2007    Nature
It has taken 4.6 billion years for the Earth to evolve from a barren rock into the world we know today. Explore the forces beyond our planet that have determined Earth’s destiny -- forces of destruction and regeneration in the solar system that created the planet and still protect it. And now the remarkable planet is facing a new challenge: humankind. The question is, how will it survive?
Series: Earth, The Power of the Planet

Is Saturn Alive

   2014    Science
Saturn's secrets are out. The ferocious weather, the evolving ring system and the discovery of active geology on Saturn's moons has rewritten the textbooks. Scientists are looking for life on Saturn's moons and they may have found it on Titan.
Series: How the Universe Works

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

Fightback

       Nature
Dr Iain Stewart investigates the counter-attack that was launched by the global warming sceptics in the 1990s. At the start of the 1990s it seemed the world was united. At the Rio Earth summit the world signed up to a programme of action to start tackling climate change. Even George Bush was there. But the consensus didn't last.
Iain examines the scientific arguments that developed as the global warming sceptics took on the climate change consensus. The sceptics attacked almost everything that scientists held to be true. They argued that the planet wasn't warming up, that even if it was it was nothing unusual, and certainly whatever was happening to the climate was nothing to do with human emissions of greenhouse gases. Iain interviews some of the key global warming sceptics, and discovers how their positions have changed over time.
Series: The Climate Wars
How the Universe Works Series 8
How the Universe Works Series 8

   2019    Science
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
Building Giants
Building Giants

   2019    Technology
Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston
Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston

   2004    Art
Space Phenomena
Space Phenomena

   2020    Science
The Putin Interviews
The Putin Interviews

   2017    Culture