Science, Technology

The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster from the BBC documentary series, Surviving Disaster. This episode follows the accident as told by Valeri Legasov (played by Adrian Edmondson, in one of his more serious roles), the Russian scientist who was a key member of the Soviet government commission formed to investigate the causes of the catastrophe and to plan the mitigation of its consequences. This is quite a chilling tale of events. Some of the documentary was filmed on location in the abandoned town of Pripyat and inside one of the remaining 3 (now closed) nuclear reactors located at Chernobyl.

Responsible for unlocking many mysteries of the final frontier, the most renowned telescope in the world is in danger of being lost forever. The Hubble Space Telescope has explored the creation of stars and planets, the glory of supernovas and the formation of super massive black holes, charted dark matter and changed forever our understanding of reality itself. Now, it's spiraling toward the Earth, and astronauts are embarking on a dangerous mission to fix it.

Broadcast (2011) If you have ever wondered what would happen in your own home if you were taken away and everything inside was left to rot, the answer is revealed in this programme which explores the strange and surprising science of decay. For two months, a glass box containing a typical kitchen and garden was left to rot in full public view within Edinburgh Zoo.

Broadcast (2007) Forty million years ago a diverse community of insects living at the bottom of a tree in a temperate forest chanced into a sticky pool of pine resin. Then a mere 67 years ago a young boy named David Attenborough was given the amber stone containing the entombed bugs. "Jewel of the Earth" explores the remarkable time capsule of ancient life preserved in this and countless other samples of fossilized tree resin, or amber. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2005) The twenty-first century will be shaped by a revolution in biology that will enable us to read the genetic code of life as easily as we would read a book. We have gained the power to control the destiny of our species and the ability to manipulate and build humans at will. This fascinating new series will take us on an incredible journey into the future of being, and give a glimpse of things to come in the new age. (www.youtube.com)

We can't compare anything on earth to the biggest things known in space. The Lymann Alpha blob is a bubble like structure containing countless galaxies -- perhaps the biggest object in the entire universe.

Regions of radio-emitting gas called "radio lobes" could be even bigger. Then there are super galaxy clusters which are hundreds of galaxies merged together due to cosmic collisions.

Discover which is the largest planet, star, star cluster, constellation, black hole, volcano, galaxy, explosions, moon, storm, impact crater and "void" in space. (www.youtube.com)

A black hole is a region of spacetime whose gravitational field is so strong that nothing which enters it, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return. It is called "black" because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing, just like a perfect black body in thermodynamics.

Broadcast (2012) Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists, the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please. This technology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars. Other researchers are looking at how we might, one day, control human emotions by sending 'biological machines' into our brains. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2003) Where did we come from? Spencer Wells, a 33 year old population geneticist, has closed the door on his laboratory and is embarking on the biggest adventure of his life. His mission to retrace the most extraordinary journey of all time, a journey that involves every man, woman and child alive today. He offers his thoughts on this puzzling question, employing the latest in DNA research and technology to track the migration of humanity across the globe.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature's most mysterious force - electricity. This series tells of dazzling leaps of imagination and extraordinary experiments - a story of maverick geniuses who used electricity to light our cities, to communicate across the seas and through the air, to create modern industry and to give us the digital revolution. (www.youtube.com)

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