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Silverback

Award-winning wildlife cameraman Vianet Djenguet has been invited by a team of conservationists from the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Democratic Republic of the Congo to closely document their effort to protect the eastern lowland gorilla, a critically endangered great ape and the largest primate on earth.
By living amongst this group of our primate kin for three months, will the habituation of this gorilla family, coupled with Vianet’s extraordinary journey, succeed in the effort to save the eastern lowland gorillas from extinction?

2024 •
Nature


Wild Scandinavia

Discover a land of hauntingly beautiful coasts, magical forests, and volcanic and arctic extremes – and the lynx, orcas, puffins and wolves who call this frozen kingdom home.
Chapter 1: Life on the Edge
Wild and unpredictable, the Scandinavian coast is a place of haunting beauty and dangerous extremes – a journey from storm-swept islands crowded with seal pups to 3,000ft deep fjords where sea eagles fly and base jumpers parachute from the edge.
In the far north, tropical currents and Arctic seas collide, creating riches – billions of herring tracked by orcas and humpback whales – while providing a home to thousands of seabirds, including the feisty puffin.
Chapter 2: Heartlands
Great forests form the heart of Scandinavia, stretching towards the Arctic and cutting through with a labyrinth of waterways. Incredible creatures like lynxes, wolves, bears and reindeer must survive the ever-changing seasons – from the chilling grip of winter to the warm riches of summer. Here, all life is deeply interconnected through surprising and ancient partnerships, creating a balance that has evolved over millennia.
Chapter 3: Ice and Fire
Scandinavia’s northern extremes have been shaped by ice and fire, but it’s the sun that reigns over these frozen kingdoms. Here, musk oxen, polar bears and arctic foxes must endure the long, dark polar night, but in spring, the sun’s return ignites a dramatic transformation in the landscape and heralds the return of thousands of migrant visitors.
Under the midnight sun, the north bursts into a sleepless rush of life and opportunity, a race against time to raise a family, but for some, it’s the summer heat which brings the greatest dangers before the first frost and winter’s welcome return.

2023 •
Nature


Wonders of Nature

This special (9th) episode brings together highlights from the series, from hidden forests and turbulent coasts to vast, unexplored deserts.

S1E9
Planet Earth III
2023 •
Nature


The Future of AI: Dream or a Nightmare

Mike Wooldridge grapples with the future of AI in the third and final Christmas lecture.
Mike takes a ride in a driverless car. Autonomous vehicles, once a science fiction dream, are now a reality. Many AI researchers believe removing human drivers will eventually make our streets much safer. Mike explores how the car ‘sees’ and perceives the world – and how with the help of AI, it gets better the more it drives.
Although AI will create many exciting opportunities, advances in AI have raised fears – some justified, others not. With the help of expert guests, Mike talks us through some of the risks AI poses. He unpacks the very real danger of bias in AI, asking how we avoid creating AI that favours those who resemble its creators, and he explores the dangers of ‘fake news’ and how AI algorithms can lead to dangerous online ‘echo chambers’, helping to foment extreme views. Mike also demonstrates deepfake technology and asks if AI means we simply can’t trust our eyes any more?
The prospect of super-intelligent AI means that in the future we may be able to mobilise AI to uncover radical large-scale solutions to the biggest problems facing humanity, such as climate change. But we need to think carefully about what we want to let AI control. Could AI in charge of weapons accidentally begin wars – and present a risk to our survival?
And, as AI gets ever more intelligent, how should we treat it? How does our audience feel about kicking an AI robot dog? This lecture addresses the big question of AI: can it ever truly be like us, or are humans unique? As AI advances, it seems these ethical questions are destined to get ever more complex…
The Christmas Lectures are the most prestigious event in the Royal Institution calendar, dating from 1825 when Michael Faraday founded the series. They are the world’s longest running science television series, and always promise to inspire and amaze each year through explosive demonstrations and interactive experiments with the live theatre audience.

S1E3
BBC Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Truth about AI
2023 •
Technology


My AI Life

Mike Wooldridge reveals the huge role AI already plays in our daily lives – sometimes without us even realising its role.
Mike investigates how games like chess and Go have become a training ground for AI, helping to bring about key advances we are now seeing in the field, and he reveals how simple methods of learning, like rewarding success, have been used to train AI in spectacular ways. We also feature some of the revolutionary innovations that AI has brought about in healthcare, from the use of AI tools in planning cancer treatment, to monitoring Parkinson’s.
Mike is joined by members of DeepMind’s AlphaFold team, who use AI to predict the structures of large numbers of proteins, which will revolutionise the creation of new drugs across the world.
We also reveal the huge impact AI has had on our creative lives – as it is able to write songs and create artworks in seconds. With the help of artist Eric Drass (aka shardcore), the audience creates a collaborative artwork and discovers how image generation works. Mike explores the thorny question of who the creator is – the AI itself, the human who set it to work, or the creators of the art that AI has learned from?
The Christmas Lectures are the most prestigious event in the Royal Institution calendar, dating from 1825, when Michael Faraday founded the series. They are the world’s longest running science television series, and always promise to inspire and amaze each year through explosive demonstrations and interactive experiments with the live theatre audience.

S1E2
BBC Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Truth about AI
2023 •
Technology


How to Build an Intelligent Machine

Mike Wooldridge examines real-life neurons in action and explains how artificial neural networks are inspired by neural structures in the brain. To demonstrate how AI learns, we watch drones as they are trained to recognise and fly through structures in the lecture theatre autonomously.
AI exploded into the public consciousness in 2022 with the release of ChatGPT and boasts around 100 million monthly users. Mike unravels the mystery of how large language models like ChatGPT work, and he finds out if one day this technology – along with a whole suite of different AI tools – will allow us to understand the animals we share this planet with.
The Christmas Lectures are the most prestigious event in the Royal Institution calendar, dating from 1825, when Michael Faraday founded the series. They are the world’s longest running science television series and always promise to inspire and amaze each year through explosive demonstrations and interactive experiments with the live theatre audience.

S1E1
BBC Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Truth about AI
2023 •
Technology


Berlin 1945: Diary of a Metropolis

Journey back in time to Berlin’s most fateful year – 1945 – through the eyes and voices of those who experienced it – ordinary German people and the Allies who entered the city.
AKA Berlin 1945: Tagebuch einer Großstadt and Berlin 1945: Le journal d’une capitale.

2020 •
History


Heroes

David Attenborough introduces conservation heroes fighting to save the world’s wildlife, from exploring remote jungles to going undercover to catch criminals in the illegal ivory trade. In South Africa, new breeding populations of black rhino are set up in safe havens where they will be protected from poachers, while a conservationist in Ecuador works to protect endangered frogs.

S1E8
Planet Earth III
2023 •
Nature


Human

The ways in which wild animals have adapted to survive in human population centres, from cobras in India hunting in houses, to macaques in Bali stealing mobile phones to barter with temple staff in return for food. Rhinos walk through the streets of Sauraha, Nepal, while in Australia, tawny frogmouths find streetlights useful in catching prey, but have to avoid being eaten by household cats.

S1E7
Planet Earth III
2023 •
Nature


Extremes

David Attenborough reveals the extraordinary ways in which animals battle to survive in a world of extremes, from mountain summits to deserts, polar tundra to the world’s largest cave in Vietnam. On Ellesmere Island, a pack of Arctic wolves fight to rebuild their strength after one of the toughest winters on record, while in the mountains of Mexico, millions of Monarch butterflies huddle together to survive. But the calm is shattered when a storm hits their forest shelter.

S1E6
Planet Earth III
2023 •
Nature


Forests

David Attenborough journeys into the hidden world of forests, from the temperate rainforests of Canada, where rarely seen spirit bears fish for salmon, to the teak forests of India, where whistling wild dogs work together to bring down prey three times their size. In the misty mountainous forests of China, male tragopan have developed a comical dance routine, whilst in the dense tropical rainforest, treehoppers form surprising alliances to fight off assassin bugs and oriental pied hornbills go to incredible lengths to protect their young.

S1E5
Planet Earth III
2023 •
Nature


Chasing Black Holes

This is the story of two of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century, told by the incredible scientists who made them happen. The first is LIGO’s measurement of gravitational waves coming from a black hole merger, and the second, the Event Horizon Telescope’s image of a black hole.

Secrets of the Universe (Curiosity)
2021 •
Astronomy


The Origami Revolution

The centuries-old tradition of folding two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional shapes is inspiring a scientific revolution. The rules of folding are at the heart of many natural phenomena, from how leaves blossom to how beetles fly. But now, engineers and designers are applying its principles to reshape the world around us—and even within us, designing new drugs, micro-robots, and future space missions. With this burgeoning field of origami-inspired-design, the question is: can the mathematics of origami be boiled down to one elegant algorithm—a fail-proof guidebook to make any object out of a flat surface, just by folding? And if so, what would that mean for the future of design? Explore the high-tech future of this age-old art as NOVA unfolds “The Origami Revolution.”

NOVA PBS
2017 •
Design


Are We Alone

Brian Cox explores the ingredients needed for an intelligent civilisation to evolve in the universe – the need for a benign star, for a habitable planet, for life to spontaneously arise on such a planet and the time required for intelligent life to evolve and build a civilisation. Brian weighs the evidence and arrives at his own provocative answer to the puzzle of our apparent solitude.

S1E3
Human Universe
2014 •
Astronomy


The Electric Boy

Travel to 19th century England and meet Michael Faraday, a child of poverty who grew up to invent the motor and the generator. His ideas about electricity and discovery of magnetic fields changed the world and paved the way for future scientists to make giant strides in the world of high technology and instantaneous communication.

S1E10
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Astronomy


Anxiety

Feeling anxious? You’re not alone. Stand-up comedian Maria Bamford shares her personal experience with OCD in this examination of anxiety disorders.

S1E3
The Mind, Explained
2019 •
Brain


The Joy of Data

A witty and mind-expanding exploration of data, with mathematician Dr Hannah Fry. This high-tech romp reveals what data is and how it is captured, stored, shared and made sense of. Fry tells the story of the engineers of the data age, people most of us have never heard of despite the fact they brought about a technological and philosophical revolution.
For Hannah, the joy of data is all about spotting patterns. Hannah sees data as the essential bridge between two universes – the tangible, messy world that we see and the clean, ordered world of maths, where everything can be captured beautifully with equations.
The film reveals the connection between Scrabble scores and online movie streaming, explains why a herd of dairy cows are wearing pedometers, and uncovers the network map of Wikipedia. What’s the mystery link between marmalade and One Direction?
The film hails the contribution of Claude Shannon, the mathematician and electrical engineer who, in an attempt to solve the problem of noisy telephone lines, devised a way to digitise all information. Shannon singlehandedly launched the ‘information age’. Meanwhile, Britain’s National Physical Laboratory hosts a race between its young apprentices in order to demonstrate how and why data moves quickly around modern data networks. It’s all thanks to the brilliant technique first invented there in the 1960s by Welshman Donald Davies – packet switching.
But what of the future? Should we be worried by the pace of change and what our own data could be used for? Ultimately, Fry concludes, data has empowered all of us. We must have machines at our side if we’re to find patterns in the modern-day data deluge. But, Fry believes, regardless of AI and machine learning, it will always take us to find the meaning in them.

2016 •
Math


A Universe of Big Numbers

John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel and CuriosityStream, explores the largest numbers in the Universe and describes how the average person might be able to comprehend their scale. How can a normal person understand “quadrillion” in real terms?

6/10
Curiosity Retreats: 2014 Lectures
2014 •
Math


How to Bend the Rules

Dr Hannah Fry reveals how data-gobbling algorithms have taken over our lives and now control almost everything we do, without us being aware of it. Pitching the UK speed-cubing champion against a machine in the opening seconds of the lecture, Hannah sets the pace for a rapid voyage through this superhuman world.
Hannah teams up with famed YouTuber Tom Scott to create a viral video and decipher YouTube’s secret algorithm, comes face to face with four-legged guests to put animal image recognition machines to the test, and reveals how the NHS is matching organ donors in chains across the country to save hundreds of lives.
But the breakthroughs are not restricted to the real world. Bafta award-winning special guests reveal the secrets of CGI in films such as The Avengers and Lord of the Rings, and supersized laser illusions bring the Royal Institution to life. An unexpected feathery guest opens our eyes to a new type of coding, where computers can be trained like animals using tasty rewards, with maths comedian Matt Parker and computing expert Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon bringing the topic to life.
Finally, Hannah reveals how we’ve all been training up Google’s AI in this way for years without realising it, and discovers how Google Health is using big data to give doctors a helping hand. The power of algorithms is undeniable. Hannah ultimately discovers how we can bend the world to our will and make anything possible, with a bit of mathematical thinking.

S1E2
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies – The Hidden Power of Maths
2019 •
Math


How big is infinity?

Using the fundamentals of set theory, explore the mind-bending concept of the “infinity of infinities” — and how it led mathematicians to conclude that math itself contains unanswerable questions.

TED-Ed
Math


The Language of the Universe

In Egypt, professor Marcus du Sautoy uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand and discovers that the way we tell the time is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system. In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a counting tool into the analytical subject of today.

S1E1
The Story of Maths
Math


The Heist

This time it is the turn of the heist movie, with its unique combination of suspense and action. Whether it is the big bank job or netting a fortune in diamonds, why, asks Mark, do otherwise law-abiding audiences find themselves rooting for robbers and even killers? More than any other genre, the heist movie plays with our sympathies, encouraging us to identify with characters we would run a mile from in real life.
From The Asphalt Jungle to Ocean’s Eleven by way of The Italian Job and even The Wrong Trousers, Mark shows how recurring character types, such as the mastermind, and sequences like the planning scene and the getaway, draw us into the big score. And he demonstrates how recent hits like Inception, The Wolf of Wall Street and Baby Driver have pushed the conventions of the heist in thrilling new directions. At the box office, at least, crime really does pay.

Part 2
Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema
2018 •
Creativity


Roy Lichtenstein: Behind the Mirror

Approaching 40 years of age, Roy Lichtenstein finally finds his artistic inspiration for his unique works in his son’s comic books and begins the Pop Art movement. With interviews and footage from the mid-twentieth century, see the evolution of this influential modern artist.

6
Behind the Artist
2016 •
Creativity


Antony Gormley: How Art Began

Why do humans make art? When did we begin to make our mark on the world? And where? In this film, Britain’s most celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley is setting out on a journey to see for himself the very beginnings of art.
Once we believed that art began with the cave paintings of Ice Age Europe, tens of thousands of years ago. But now, extraordinary new discoveries around the world are overturning that idea. Antony is going to travel across the globe, and thousands of years back in time, to piece together a new story of how art began. He discovers beautiful, haunting and surprising works of art, deep inside caves across France, Spain and Indonesia, and in Australian rock shelters. He finds images created by hunter-gatherers that surprise him with their tenderness, and affinity with the natural world. He discovers the secrets behind the techniques used by our ancestors to create these paintings. And he meets experts making discoveries that are turning the clock back on when art first began.

2019 •
Creativity


Matisse

This programme is the second in a series looking at four great modern artists: Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali. Tracing the biography of this fascinating artist, and travelling through France, America and Russia, the programme explores some of the painter’s greatest works. Sooke explains why Matisse’s art is considered so great and also looks at how Matisse’s brilliant use of colour and simplification of form continues to inspire illustrators, designers and of course artists today. Acknowledging the debt the famous couturier Yves St Laurent owed the painter, Sooke also talks to British designers Sir Paul Smith and Tricia Guild about their passion for Matisse, he travels to Utrecht to discover how even children’s character Miffy the rabbit owes its origin to art, and reveals how logos and images as diverse as Apple’s iPod advertising and even the 2012 olympic logo are inspired by the modern master.

S1E2
Modern Masters
2015 •
Creativity


Rodin

Auguste Rodin followed his intuition and was inspired as well by the relationships with his models. Behind each of his works there was either a scandal or a controversy. He left us “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”, two of the most famous sculptures in the world. Here is his story.

2
Behind the Artist
2016 •
Creativity


A Grand Tour

Starting with a grand tour of the Solar System, powerfully told by the world’s top space scientists. From the raging inferno of the Sun to the icy beauty of Pluto, discover the secrets that the planets have kept for billions of years, revealed with stunning images from space.

S1E1
Secrets of the Solar System
2020 •
Astronomy


Energy

To respond to global demand and population growth, energy production will have to increase by 75% between now and 2050. The fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) that we use currently use on a massive scale are becoming increasingly rare and are highly polluting, wreaking havoc on the climate.

S2E5
Dream the Future
2018 •
Technology


Space

What if we could explore the vastness of Space? Science fiction has always fed upon our need to explore – to wonder what is out there. Space journeys from Jules Verne’s earliest ideas about attempts to leave our planet, to the Star Wars far away galaxy through to Nichelle Nichols revealing how her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek led to her participation in the recruitment of NASA’s astronauts. It explores the deep sea inspiration for Avatar, finds out why Ursula K Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable. In addition, the program looks at the way Dune and The Mars Trilogy embraced the challenge of world building and discusses the appeal of the beaten up ‘dirty space’ of Dark Star and Firefly. From the horrifying scenes of Alien, to the epic spectacle of Star Wars, this is a journey to the stars and the alien encounters that await us there.

Part 2
The Real History of Science Fiction
2014 •
Technology


The Secret Life of Materials

Materials Science is set to define the next century of human history, and it promises to revolutionize every aspect of our lives. This film takes us on a journey where we meet the pioneers of Materials Science and see the extraordinary discoveries that are transforming the world around us.

2015 •
Physics

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