How Science Changed Our World

Professor Robert Winston presents his top ten scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years. Tracing these momentous and wide-ranging discoveries, he meets a real-life bionic woman, one of the first couples to test the male contraceptive pill, and even some of his early IVF patients. He explores the origins of the universe, probes the inner workings of the human mind and sees the most powerful laser in the world. To finish, Professor Winston reveals the breakthrough he thinks is most significant.

Nice Guys Finish First

Nice Guys Finish First is a 1986 documentary by Richard Dawkins which discusses selfishness and cooperation, arguing that evolution often favors co-operative behavior, and focusing especially on the tit for tat strategy of the prisoner’s dilemma game.
I find it very interesting to see examples of cooperation emerging spontaneously, very often for the sake of preserving some balance. There are many examples in our society, such as a football match in which opposing teams decided to cooperate and make it a draw rather than trying to best one another. A more extreme example are two opposing armies in a war; it happens in every war that opposing soldiers decide to cooperate, realizing that doing so actually helps them survive.

Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is just a name that scientists give a bunch of types of radiation when they want to talk about them as a group. Radiation is energy that travels and spreads out as it goes– visible light that comes from a lamp in your house and radio waves that come from a radio station are two types of electromagnetic radiation.
This is a very nice short movie series from the ScienceAtNASA YouTube channel, explaining the basics of the EM spectrum. Going from the introduction to each type of EM waves in a bit of more detail. Well worth the watch.

Living on Mars

Living on Mars is a National Geographic production documentary dealing with the possibilities of making Mars more hospitable to humans, thus terraforming it.
“On the surface, the red planet’s freeze-dried world of rocks, ice, and dust looks like an unlikely place to plant a garden. But rocks and minerals found by the Mars rovers show it must once have had warmer, habitable living conditions. Now, using photorealistic CGI visualizations, we’ll make a science fiction dream of Mars — a world of trees, rivers, and blue skies — a plausible future, bringing it to life after three-and-a-half billion years in a deep freeze.”


Swedish Television’s Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist exclusive rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it!
“From summer 2010 until now, SVT has been following the secretive media organization WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.

Code Rush

Code Rush, produced in 2000 and broadcast on PBS, is an inside look at living and working in Silicon Valley at the height of the dot-com era. The film follows a group of Netscape engineers as they pursue at that time a revolutionary venture to save their company – giving away the software recipe for Netscape’s browser in exchange for integrating improvements created by outside software developers.

Miracle Planet

Miracle Planet is a 5-video series co-produced by the NFB, NHK Japan, the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. Filmed around the world and based upon the most recent scientific findings, Miracle Planet combines location footage and interviews with leading scientists, along with computer animation, to vividly depict the cataclysmic events that have shaped our planet and all of the life-forms within it. The five episodes tells a profound and gripping story which places the evolution of life on Earth in perspective with our place in the universe – from the simplest microbes to the complexity and diversity that is found on the planet today.

DNA – The Molecule of Life

What is the force at the heart of life? What is the engine that drives it forward? That links all living things from the smallest to the largest, that links families through generations, looks, personality, health, and in sickness?
Scientists have searched for the answer for hundreds of years, until 1953 when two young men ran into a British pub shouting that they’ve discovered the secret of life.
The secret was DNA, a microscopic strand of only four chemicals but capable of such infinite variety that it carries the blueprint and directs the growth of every living thing on earth. The genetic revolution was about to begin. This is a documentary about genetics and ethics.

Inside Planet Earth

A Discovery Channel documentary film about the insides of our planet, all the way to the molten core. With the aid of stunning visual effects, the unexplored interior of the Earth is split wide open, giving us an unbelievable view. From glowing seams of pure iron ore to sparkling diamond caverns to the magnetic field that keeps us safe from the lethal radiation of space.
Very nice production with really beautiful visuals, informative and entertaining, although sometimes visuals can get a bit too much in the first plan, but still a good documentary overall.

Periodic Table of Elements: Mendelevium to Ununoctium (101 – 118)

This is a series of short documentary videos about the chemical elements. Each video describes the properties of one element in a few minutes, often with experiments. It is truly a must watch for anyone interested in chemistry.
Here are the videos for the final 18 elements of the periodic table of elements, starting with Mendelevium to Ununoctium.

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