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24 September 2014
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Growing Babies
Growing Babies

BBC Four puts science at the heart of its Autumn/Winter schedule


Growing Babies


Infant psychologist Laverne Antrobus explores pregnancy and its role in determining human development and behaviour.


Beginning with War In The Womb, Laverne investigates the theory of foetal-maternal conflict, an idea championed by Harvard evolutionary biologist Professor David Haig as a possible cause of illnesses in pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia.


It has also been blamed for some psychological disorders in later life such as depression and autism.


On a biological level, pregnancy is dogged by conflict from the battle between 500 million sperm to reach the single egg, through the aggressive tactics employed by the cells of the placenta as they invade the wall of the uterus, to the escalation of hormones in later pregnancy that has been likened to an hormonal cold war between mother and baby.


The second programme, Brainpower, examines foetal and infant neuropsychology.


Babies just weeks old make complex inferences about people and objects, music and language, and even the principles of geometry and geography.


Recent developments in 3D ultrasound scanning have shown that conscious life before birth develops to a much greater degree than previously imagined.




Darwin Season


As part of a season across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four to mark the life and work of Charles Darwin, two specially commissioned documentaries explore the impact of the great naturalist upon the modern scientific landscape.


What Darwin Didn't Know explores a new field of genetics, "evo devo", the combined study of evolution and development in the womb, helping us to solve some of Darwin's unanswered questions.


Presenter and evolutionary biologist, Armand Marie Leroi, argues that in the 150 years since Darwin published his theory, science has not only vindicated his original idea but also brought a new understanding to the process of evolution.


Armand highlights discoveries across the basics of life: sex, death, altruism and the secrets of our genetic blueprints.


Darwin: In His Own Words uses Darwin's intimate private journals, recently released online, to chart his lonely struggle to develop his theory and the toll it took on his health and family during the long period before he went public.


February 2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and November 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On The Origin Of Species, which laid out the theory of evolution by natural selection.




Science And Islam
Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Science And Islam


Professor Jim Al-Khalili traces the lives and achievements of the great scientisits of the medieval Islamic world in a new three-part documentary.


The modern world's understanding of mathematics, optics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, engineering, cartography and cryptography is indebted to the scholarship of medieval Islamic scientists.


This series explores the contribution of early Islam to the development of scientific knowledge and recreates some of the great experiments carried out by Islamic scholars.


Professor Al-Khalili visits great centres of learning including Cairo, Damascus, Isfahan and Cordoba to offer an understanding of the achievements of the medieval Islamic scientist in such a turbulent period in history.


Part travelogue, part science programme, part observational documentary, Science And Islam tells the little-known story of the Islamic scientific revolution between 700 and 1250AD.




Story Of Maths


Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, takes viewers through the fascinating 30,000-year-old history of maths.


On a journey through the ages and around the world, Marcus du Sautoy describes the often surprising lives of the great mathematicians, explains the development of the key mathematical ideas and shows how – in a multitude of unusual ways – those ideas underpin the science, technology and culture that shape our world.







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