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War of the Galaxies

   2021    Science
Our universe is at war. The universe is a very violent and deadly place. Entire galaxies fight to the death. Only the strongest survive. If a galaxy wants to stay alive, it has to feed on other galaxies. Our own galaxy also fights for survival. These battles are how galaxies live, grow, and die. These collisions got us to where we are today, and they're going to determine the future of the universe.
Series: How the Universe Works Series 9

The Milky Way: Island of Light

   2021    Science
Professor Brian Cox continues his epic exploration of the cosmos by looking at the faint band of light that sweeps across the night sky - our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The Sun is just one of almost 400 billion stars that form this vast, majestic disk of light, our own home in the universe. Thanks to a cutting-edge space we’re finally able to reveal the Milky Way’s dramatic history and predict its cataclysmic future.
Our galaxy started out a fraction of the size it is today, and Gaia telescope has revealed how it grew over the eons. Beautifully rendered VFX based on the very latest Gaia data has uncovered the remarkable story of our galaxy’s evolution. As our young galaxy encountered rival galaxies, it experienced a series of violent growth spurts and intense periods of cataclysmic change while battling to survive. Each time our galaxy feeds, a new era of star formation begins, fuelled by incoming torrents of fresh gas and energy. And there is another collision to come. Another, larger galaxy is coming our way. Andromeda is heading straight for us at a quarter of a million miles per hour. The Milky Way’s long-term fate is in the balance.
Series: Universe

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

Hannibal March on Rome

   2020    History
Even 2,000 years after his death, General Hannibal's battle strategies are still studied today. But of all his military feats, perhaps his greatest was leading his massive Carthaginian army of men and three-dozen elephants across the Alps and into the heartland of Rome in 218 B.C. Until now, the route they took has been a matter of dispute, but thanks to modern-day technology, geomorphologist Bill Mahaney and microbiologist Chris Allen believe they've accurately traced this ancient journey.

Eden

   2020    Science
Planets beyond our solar system are known to astronomers as exoplanets. They are at trillions of miles from Earth and yet, it might be possible to detect a faint signature of life in them. From the light of the stars they orbit that passes through the atmosphere of an exoplanet, it is possible to capture the chemical fingerprint of the elements in that atmosphere.
The fictional world Eden is orbiting not one star, but two. The light from its twin stars powers photosynthesis, pumping more oxygen into the atmosphere than in Earth, allowing life to thrive. Grazers are constantly alert to danger, because the canopy is home to predators perfectly evolved to live among the trees. In Episode 3, another topic are fungi and the role they could play on exoplanets. Ecologist Thomas Crowther talks about the role mycelial networks play in the Rothiemurchus forest in Scotland.
Series: Alien Worlds
Catalyst
Catalyst

   2017    Science
Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami
Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami

   2021    History
How the Universe Works Series 9
How the Universe Works Series 9

   2021    Science
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
The Beatles: Get Back
The Beatles: Get Back

   2021    Art
Bronze Age
Bronze Age

   2016    History
Inside the World Toughest Prisons
Inside the World Toughest Prisons

   2020    Culture
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology