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Operation Stonehenge

   2017    History
Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric British culture, an enigma that has seduced archaeologists and tourists for centuries. Why is it here? What is its significance? And which forces inspired its creators? Now a group of international archaeologists led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzman Institute in Vienna believe that a new state-of-the-art approach is the key to unlocking Stonehenge's secrets. For four years the team have surveyed and mapped every monument, both visible and invisible, across ten square kilometres of the sacred landscape to create the most complete digital picture of Stonehenge and the surrounding area over millennia. Known monuments have yielded more data than ever before, revealing hidden structures within, and new finds are revolutionising the very timeline of Stonehenge. The film takes the viewer on a prehistoric journey from 8000 BC to 2500 BC as the scientists uncover the very origins of Stonehenge, learning why this landscape is sacred, preserved and has been revered by following generations. Evidence of war and conflict, as well as the cultivation of ideas and industry, is explored to reveal complex communities with international trade links as far-reaching as Spain and central Europe.

The Lost Tribes of Humanity

   2017    History
Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional Palaeoanthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.

The Language of Science

   2017    History
Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries. Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science - there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis. For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili, this is also a personal journey, and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, Al-Khalili pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.
Series: Science and Islam

The Empire of Reason

   2017    History
Al-Khalili travels to northern Syria to discover how, a thousand years ago, the great astronomer and mathematician Al-Biruni estimated the size of the earth to within a few hundred miles of the correct figure. He discovers how medieval Islamic scholars helped turn the magical and occult practice of alchemy into modern chemistry. In Cairo, he tells the story of the extraordinary physicist Ibn al-Haytham, who helped establish the modern science of optics and proved one of the most fundamental principles in physics - that light travels in straight lines. Prof Al-Khalili argues that these scholars are among the first people to insist that all scientific theories are backed up by careful experimental observation, bringing a rigour to science that didn't really exist before.
Series: Science and Islam

The Power of Doubt

   2017    History
In the last episode, Al-Khalili turns detective, hunting for clues that show how the scientific revolution that took place in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe had its roots in the earlier world of medieval Islam. He travels across Iran, Syria and Egypt to discover the huge astronomical advances made by Islamic scholars through their obsession with accurate measurement and coherent and rigorous mathematics.He then visits Italy to see how those Islamic ideas permeated into the west and ultimately helped shape the works of the great European astronomer Copernicus, and investigates why science in the Islamic world appeared to go into decline after the 16th and 17th centuries, only for it to re-emerge in the present day. Al-Khalili ends his journey in the Royan Institute in the Iranian capital Tehran, looking at how science is now regarded in the Islamic world
Series: Science and Islam
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
Vegan
Vegan

   2017    Culture
The Mind of a Chef
The Mind of a Chef

   2017    Culture
Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero

   2007    Technology
Himalaya with Michael Palin
Himalaya with Michael Palin

   2004    Culture
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Walking with Cavemen
Walking with Cavemen

   2003    History