BBC Four puts science at the heart of its Autumn/Winter schedule
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
Babies just weeks old make complex inferences about
people and objects, music and language, and even the principles of geometry
Recent developments in 3D ultrasound scanning have shown
that conscious life before birth develops to a much greater degree than
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
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
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.