Liz Bonnin presents a controversial and provocative episode of Horizon, exploring how and why zoos keep animals, and whether they need to change to keep up with modern science, or ultimately be consigned to history. Should zoos cull their animals to manage populations? Liz travels to Copenhagen Zoo to witness their culling process first hand. They think it is a natural part of zoo keeping that is often swept under the carpet. Should some animals never be kept in captivity? In a world exclusive, Liz visits SeaWorld in Florida and asks if captivity drove one of their orcas to kill his trainer. But could zoos be the answer to conserving endangered species? Liz meets one of the last surviving northern white rhinos and discovers the future of this species now lies in a multi-million dollar programme to engineer them for stem cells. Veteran conservation scientist Dr Sarah Bexel tells Liz the science of captive breeding is giving humanity false hope.
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry uses Dr Xand Van Tulleken as her guinea pig to test whether the algorithms that dating sites use to match people actually work. While Hannah builds a dating site, Xand meets the scientists investigating online dating - and learns what pictures to use and what to write in his profile. He tries out a 'bot' that has automated a swiping app and has an MRI scan to find out whether his brain is equipped for love. 50 members of the public take part in some mini experiments at a date night - and Xand goes on various dates to test whether the algorithm is better than him choosing randomly.
BBC weatherman Peter Gibbs makes an emotional return to Antarctica, years after he lived and worked at the British Antarctic Survey's Halley Research Station. During his time, the station was key to the discovery of the ozone hole, and upon his return, Peter is delighted to see the cutting-edge science being done at Halley today.
Horizon investigates a new era of Alzheimer's research, which is bringing hope to millions across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often 15 years before symptoms appear. A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. It is becoming clear that changes in lifestyle can prevent the development of the disease. A new system inside the brain has been discovered which clears amyloid when we are in deep sleep, but allows it to accumulate if we don't sleep well. The programme reveals that for sufferers in the early stages of the disease, brain connections can be strengthened and even replaced by absorbing enough of the right nutrients. In an ageing world, where the biggest risk of developing Alzheimer's is old age, these scientific breakthroughs are bringing hope where once there was despair.
Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes. They are everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal? Michael reveals what e-cigarettes are really doing to your health. Are they really better for you than cigarettes? What is actually in them? Is passive vapour harmful? And can they really stop you from smoking? Michael meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up 'vaping' himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health - no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.
Dr Xand van Tulleken investigates the world of performance-enhancing drugs - from the athletes seeking the rewards of fame, glory and lucrative sponsorship deals to the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK now regularly taking anabolic steroids to look good and buff up. What are these drugs? What do they do to the body? And is it worth it? Xand's investigation reveals the extraordinary gamble dopers take with their health. Long-term effects include kidney failure, cognitive impairment and testicular shrinkage and Xand witnesses how users are self-experimenting with drugs that have not yet been approved for human use. Horizon uncovers the new frontier of doping, from new molecules to gene therapy - where the genes that control muscle growth are altered. These new methods could be completely undetectable by the doping authorities. Finally, and with the help of his twin brother Chris, Xand discovers the legal ways some athletes try to gain the edge.
With exclusive behind-the-scenes access, Horizon follows the highs and lows of an extraordinary story in particle physics. In June 2015, teams at CERN started running the large hadron collider at the highest energy ever. Rumours quickly emerged that they were on the brink of a huge discovery. A mysterious bump in some data suggested a first glimpse of a brand new particle that could change our understanding of how the universe works. A new particle could hint at extra dimensions and help us understand the very beginning of the universe - but first the team has to find it. Horizon follows the scientists as they hunt for the elusive signals that would prove if there is a new particle or if it is just noise from their machine.
The acerbically witty and severely facially disfigured broadcaster Adam Pearson presents a personal film about genetics. He and his twin brother Neil are genetically identical and both share the same genetic disease, Neurofibromatosis 1 (Nf1) - yet they are completely different. Adam's face is covered with growths, whereas Neil looks completely normal. Neil has short term memory loss, whereas Adam is razor sharp.
How can the same genetic disease affect identical twins so differently?
Adam is on the cusp of a successful film and television career, but the disease has left tumours on his face that are growing out of control and he could lose his sight. For years, everyone thought Adam's brother Neil had escaped symptoms, but today his life is governed by epilepsy and a mysterious memory loss that suddenly came on during his teens.
Determined to save their future, Adam tries to find out why the disease affects the twins so differently and see if there is anything he can do to stop it from tearing their lives apart.
Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional paleo-anthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.
We love talking about the weather - is it too hot or too cold, too wet or too windy? It's a national obsession. Now scientists have started looking to the heavens and wondering what the weather might be like on other planets. Today, we are witnessing the birth of extra-terrestrial meteorology, as technology is allowing astronomers to study other planets like never before. They began with our solar system, sending spacecraft to explore its furthest reaches, and now the latest telescopes are enabling astronomers to study planets beyond our solar system.
Our exploration of the universe is revealing alien worlds with weather stranger than anyone could ever have imagined - we've discovered gigantic storm systems that can encircle entire planets, supersonic winds, extreme temperatures and bizarre forms of rain. On some planets, the temperatures are so hot that the clouds and rain are believed to be made of liquid lava droplets, and on other planets it is thought to rain precious stones like diamonds and rubies.
We thought we had extreme weather on Earth, but it turns out that it is nothing compared to what's out there. The search for the weirdest weather in the universe is only just beginning.
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