Biology

  • Botany of Desire

    They are four of the most ordinary plants. We've always had this idea that we are in charge, but what if, in fact, they have been modeling us? We don't give enough recognition to plants. They have been laboring on us, and they've been utilizing us for their own goals. There are four plants that have walked the road to accomplishment by fulfilling human ambitions. The tulip, by satisfying our longing for a certain kind of attractiveness, has gotten us to take it from its basis in Central Asia and distribute it around the world.

    Marijuana, by satisfying our ambition to change awareness, has gotten us to risk our lives and freedom, in order to produce more of it. The potato, by fulfilling our desire for mastery, the control over surrounding, so that we can nourish ourselves has gotten itself out of South America and extended its range far beyond where it was long time ago. And the apple, by satisfying our appetite for sweetness, begins in the woods of Kazakhstan and is now the worldwide fruit. These are great champions in the game of domestication.

    Running time 120 min.

  • Brain: The Last Enigma

    Man invents faster every day in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. From the beginning of the universe or the birth of a star to the origin of life and genetic inheritance, the enigmas of existence have progressively been figured out. However, the human brain which has allowed the man to achieve this knowledge is still a mystery.
     
    Running time 51 Minutes.
  • Crash Course: Biology

    And thus begins the most revolutionary biology course in history. Come and learn about covalent, ionic, and hydrogen bonds. What about electron orbitals, the octet rule, and what does it all have to do with a mad man named Gilbert Lewis? It's all contained within.

    The molecules that make up every living thing - carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins - and how we find them in our environment and in the food that we eat.

    The city of Eukaryopolis - the animal cell that is responsible for all the cool things that happen in our bodies.

    How cells regulate their contents and communicate with one another via mechanisms within the cell membrane.

    Why plants are so freaking amazing - discussing their evolution, and how their cells are both similar to & different from animal cells.

    The "economy" of cellular respiration and the various processes whereby our bodies create energy in the form of ATP.

    Running time 2 hours; 16 min.

  • Great Transitions Interactive: Exploring Transitional Fossils

    The fossils of transitional creatures were key evidence for Darwin’s evolutionary theory, but none had been found when he published On the Origin of Species. Now, there are many examples of such fossils, which clearly show that big evolutionary leaps consist of many smaller steps.
  • Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods

    One of the most exciting discoveries in the long history of fossil exploration is Tiktaalik, a creature with a mix of features common to fish and four-legged animals, or tetrapods.
  • How to Build a Beating Heart

    Science may be on the verge of producing a limitless supply of replacement parts by regenerating damaged or aging body parts grown from our own cells.

    Imagine the implications if we could custom make body parts genetically indistinguishable from our own.

    Could it eliminate the death sentence for profound birth defects, the need for prosthetics and any shortage of transplant organs?

    National Geographic delves into the science of tissue engineering and tracks how scientists are beginning to harness the body's natural powers to grow skin, muscle, body parts and vital organs, even hearts.

    Running time 46 min.

  • Molecule That Made Our World

    Oxygen – we all need it, we can't live without it. It's integral to life on this planet. And it's probable that, as you watch this film, you will be breathing in an oxygen atom that was also breathed by Genghis Khan – or by the first ever apes to stand upright on the plains of Africa.

    The oxygen that we breathe is made from two oxygen atoms joined together – O2. They were first joined more than 3 billion years ago by the earliest blue-green algae to evolve.

    Since then, both together and apart, they've had the most extraordinary adventures. Each of the two atoms in an oxygen molecule is virtually indestructible – so they have been first-hand players in some of the most dramatic events in the whole of Earth's history.

    Running time 45 min.

  • Open Heart Surgery - Of Hearts and Minds

    David Malone is a science documentary filmmaker and he came to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire. He's there at the invitation of Consultant Surgeon Mr. Francis Wells who is going to allow him to watch him perform open heart surgery. He's always wanted to see the beating human heart, that thing within us that keeps us alive. The heart is unlike any other organ in the human body. It has its own rich language and poetry.

    Running time 49 min.
  • Patent For A Pig: The Big Business of Genetics

    The American biotechnology firm, Monsanto, has applied for a patent for pig breeding in 160 countries. The patent is for specific parts of the genetic material of pigs which Monsanto's genetic researchers have decoded. If this patent is granted, pig breeding would be possible with the approval of the company.

    Farmers and breeders are naturally alarmed because these genes have long existed in the great majority of their pigs. Using DNA tests they can prove that there is no new invention in the patent applications but that, instead, granting this patent would be to allow a part of nature to fall into the hands of a single company.

    Monsanto's influence on the patent offices is huge. If the patent is approved, money will have to be paid to Monsanto for every pig in the world carrying this genetic marker. This has long been the case for certain feedstuffs, such as genetically modified maize. Many farmers in the US have already become dependent on the company.

    It is not merely a question of money, however, but also a question of the risk posed to consumers. In America, as in Europe, cases of infertility in animals fed with genetically modified maize are becoming increasingly common. No-one yet knows what effects such products are having on humans.

    Running Time 43 Min.

  • Phages: The Virus that Cures

    With Multidrug-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) threatening to infect huge numbers of patients who make even short trips to the hospital, and the gradual increase in the number of bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics, scientists are turning to new ways to conquer the killer bugs.

    The emergence of dangerous antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is most prevalent in the USA where antibiotics are available over the counter and are often mishandled.

    The answers to these problems may be locked in the science of the former Soviet Union, and whether this potential can be unlocked depends on subtle aspects of intellectual property and patent law, since pharmaceutical companies must be able to control the revenues from a discovery.

    Running time 15 min.

  • SciShow: Great Minds

    SciShow delves into the minds of some of humanity's greatest scientists. Some of them are:

    Dmitri Mendeleev - brilliant Russian chemist, the man behind the periodic table.

    Gregor Mendel - the Austrian monk who, with the help of a garden full of pea plants, discovered the fundamental properties of inheritance and paved the way for modern genetics.

    Alan Turing - openly gay man in the early 20th century faced brutal prejudice that eventually led to his suicide, despite being a genius war hero who helped the Allies defeat the Nazis.

    Fritz Haber - a great mind who is considered "the father chemical warfare," but who also made discoveries and innovations that helped lead to the Green Revolution which is credited with preventing the starvation of over a billion people.

    Elizabeth Blackburn - the Nobel Prize-winning Australian woman who discovered telomeres and telomerase, and helped scientists begin to understand the process of aging at a genetic level.

    Nikola Tesla - bizarre and eccentric genius with the crazy eyes who spent his life increasing awesome wherever he went, and contributed in some way to pretty much every cool invention you can think of.

    Nikola Tesla spoke eight languages and, at the time of his death, held over 700 patents and was being investigated by the US government for claiming to have invented a 60 million volt death ray. Tesla was an undisputed genius.

    Running time 71 min.

  • Seven Wonders of the Microbe World

    This little documentary is talking about Microbes and why some are good, some are bad and what they have done for mankind.

    Microbes have given us some devastating diseases, everything from the Black Death to cholera, syphilis, typhoid and the occasional yeast infection. But our microbial friends have also done us some good.

    The video investigates: The origins of beer and brewing in Ancient Egypt, and the role microbes play in the process. Microbial origins of the Black Death. How do microbes destroy the food that we eat and how has humankind sought out different ways of preserving foodstuffs?

    How critical microbes are to life on Earth with their role in nitrogen fixation - providing the essential elements that we need to survive. Experts reveal how the natural processes of microbes are used to fight disease.

    The ways in which humans are learning to exploit microbes to produce medicines, fuel and food. How the discovery and examination of microbes in meteorites suggests that the planet Mars could have supported life in the same way as Earth.

    Running time 27 min.

  • The Magical Forest

    In a nutshell, this documentary answers why the lynx needs a caterpillar, why does the tree need the fish and why does truffle fungus need flying squirrel. Connections like these form the planet's great ecosystems and they're vital for all life. The host, Chris Packham, wants to show you our world as you've never seen it before.

    New England in autumn - there really can't be a more magical place anywhere on Earth to appreciate the dramatic transition between summer and winter. But we mustn't get blinded by this natural fiesta because such an extreme transformation is a huge challenge for life and autumn is just one of many transformations the forest must face.

    From summer to winter this land of plenty will appear to collapse, before attempting to rebuild itself all over again in the spring. To see how, Chris is going to what is for him the greatest seasonal forest on the planet - the wooded wilderness that stretches right across North America. From the land of the Canadian lynx to the land of the grizzly bear.

    Our story begins in autumn. As the days are drawing shorter less light is feeding the forests. Deciduous trees are shedding their leaves, many creatures are hiding away to escape the cold, and others are simply leaving. But there's one animal with a crucial job to do now before the winter sets in. It's a job the entire forest depends upon. It's a creature Chris waited all his life to see - the flying squirrel.

    They really are expert gliders and they can glide for up to 200 meters, but what on earth they've got to do with our story? In preparation for winter the hungry squirrel needs to hoard food such as truffles, but the truffles also need the squirrel to eat them. As the squirrel moves through the forest the spores are dispersed and that's crucial not just for the truffle but for the trees
    Running Time 60 Min.
  • The Nine Months That Made You

    Horizon explores the secrets of what makes a long, healthy and happy life. It turns out that a time you can't remember - the nine months you spend in the womb - could have more lasting effects on you today than your lifestyle or genes.

    It is one of the most powerful and provocative new ideas in human science, and it was pioneered by a British scientist, Professor David Barker.

    His theory has inspired a field of study that is revealing how our time in the womb could affect your health, personality, and even the lives of your children.

     
    Running Time 60 Minutes.