Last Watched

"Ancient "  Sort by

Attenborough and the Sea Dragon

   2018    Science
A remarkable 200-million-year-old fossil - the bones of an ichthyosaur, a giant sea dragon - has been discovered on the Jurassic coast of Britain. David Attenborough joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature's story to life. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and CGI, the team reconstruct the skeleton and create the most detailed animation of an ichthyosaur ever made. Along the way, the team stumble into a 200-million-year-old murder mystery - and only painstaking forensic investigation can unravel the story of this extraordinary creature's fate.

Numbers as God

   2018    Science
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores the mystery of maths. It underpins so much of our modern world that it's hard to imagine life without its technological advances, but where exactly does maths come from? Is it invented like a language or is it something discovered and part of the fabric of the universe? It's a question that some of the most eminent mathematical minds have been wrestling with. To investigate this question, Hannah goes head first down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's law of gravity, she paraglides to understand where the theory of maths and its practice application collide, and she travels to infinity and beyond to discover that some infinities are bigger than others.
In this episode, Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented.
Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer
Series: Magic Numbers

Enigma Man

   2017    History
A team of Australian and Chinese scientists discover mysterious ancient human remains from a remote cave in South West China. The bones are unlike any living human or any ancient human known to science, yet they were alive at the same time as humans of our own kind. Could they represent a new human species? And if so, what happened to these people?

AlphaGo

   2017    Technology
With more board configurations than there are atoms in the observable universe, the ancient Chinese game of 'Go' has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and AI collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.
AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Cambridge, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of DeepMind in London, and, ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about human mind?

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.
Himalaya with Michael Palin
Himalaya with Michael Palin

   2004    Culture
The Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht

   2007    History
Earthflight
Earthflight

   2012    Nature
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works

   2014    Science
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
How Art Made the World
How Art Made the World

   2006    Art
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science