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Brave New World with Stephen Hawking

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Professor Stephen Hawking examines how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward

About the Show

Professor Stephen Hawking examines how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward

Series 1 Summary

Professor Stephen Hawking presents a global exploration of the scientific breakthroughs that are transforming our lives in the 21st century.

With the help of some of the world's leading scientific figures - including Sir David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Aarathi Prasad, Lord Winston and Maggie Aderin-Pocock - this five-part series reveals how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward.

  • Episode 1

    The team showcase breakthroughs in technology and engineering that are creating a new generation of machines. Mark Evans fuses his brain with a computer in Switzerland to test a new breed of machine.

    Kathy Sykes hits the streets of San Francisco to have the ride of her life as she experiences the future of transport in a driverless car. In Italy Jim Alei-Khalili comes face to face with a remarkable, baby-like robot called iCub, which learns like a child.

    Joy Reidenberg discovers the extraordinary exoskeleton that can make the paralysed walk and give one man the strength of three. In the Canary Islands Maggie Aderin-Pocock visits one of the world's biggest telescopes, where they're searching for new planets in the furthest reaches of the universe - planets that we could one day colonise.

  • Episode 2

    The experts examine how scientists are fighting for our survival by battling the world's big killer diseases.

    Biologist Aarathi Prasad joins virus hunters in the jungles of Africa, Robert Winston sees first-hand how the surgeons of the future could be robots, capable of operating round the clock, and Richard Dawkins investigates the way brain disorders might one day be treated using laser light and genetically modified brain cells.

    Anatomist Joy Reidenberg discovers two possible solutions to the killer disease malaria and - most extraordinarily of all - Aarathi Prasad meets a woman whose life has been saved by a revolutionary new cancer treatment, in which every patient gets an individually tailored cocktail of drugs.

    From the jungles of Cameroon to the quads of Oxford, the programme celebrates the work of scientists striving to extend and save our lives.

  • Episode 3

    The experts explore how 21st-century technology is shaping our future by changing the way we live, the way we communicate and our perception of the universe.

    Physicist Kathy Sykes explores how our mobile phones can give experts access to our every habit and action: a brave new world in which it's hard to keep a secret but where urban planners can build cities around our needs.

    Designer Max Lamb witnesses the dawn of a new era in manufacturing where lasers are printing objects in 3D, and Stephen Hawking charts the rise of the former internet entrepreneur who is transforming space exploration.

    Environmental scientist Tara Shine visits an experimental new city in the desert where the citizens get about by unmanned pod car, and Kathy Sykes descends two kilometres underground to explore how scientists are using technology to study the most mysterious particles in the universe.

    From spaceship factories in California to one of the world's largest subterranean laboratories, in northern Canada, the programme uncovers the technology that is shaping our future.

  • Episode 4

    Science turns superhero as it battles to save the planet and preserve the human race.

    In California, physicist Jim Al-Khalili sees how the power of the world's largest laser could create a fuel to answer all our needs, while at Longleat Sir David Attenborough helps collect the DNA of an elephant for the Frozen Ark - a project to save all the world's species from extinction.

    Mark Evans discovers a scientist in Holland who is growing pork in a petri dish; a way to feed the world and free up land from grazing animals.

    Jim Al-Khalili also meets the scientist in Louisiana who thinks he has found a microbe that can help clean up oil spills, and Maggie Aderin Pocock gazes into the face of the sun at NASA's solar laboratory, where they are learning how to predict solar storms.

    From the DNA banks at the Natural History Museum to the bayous of Louisiana, the programme celebrates the extraordinary efforts of scientists to preserve our future.

  • Episode 5

    The experts unearth the amazing breakthroughs that are transforming the resilience and strength of the human body.

    Mark Evans joins the bio-prospectors in Central America exploring the untapped reserves of the oceans for life-changing drugs; Aarathi Prasad meets the remarkable old people who could hold the secret to a long and healthy life; and Robert Winston explores how our behaviour and environment may be influencing the genes of future generations in ways we once thought impossible.

    Astronaut and neurologist Roberta Bondar explores the new science of heart regeneration - scientists in Dallas have discovered that baby mice can repair their own hearts; could this work for humans too?

    And Richard Dawkins and Aarathi Prasad celebrate the achievements of synthetic biology and the work of one man who has learned how to get E. Coli to produce oil.

    From the shores of the Pacific to the ice storms of Canada, the programme explores how scientists are using the secrets of our cells to change life as we know it.

Brave New World with Stephen Hawking synopsis

Professor Stephen Hawking examines how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward

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5 Episodes