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Episode 2 of 5

Duration: 1 hour

Professor Iain Stewart continues his epic exploration of how the planet has shaped human history.

This time he explores our complex relationship with water. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence.

He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs' success.

Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.

  • Photo: Owens Valley, California

    Photo: Owens Valley, California

    Iain Stewart gazes out over the parched bed of Owens Lake in Owens Valley, California. Once a healthy lake surrounded by lush vegetation, Owens Lake and the river that fed it dried to a trickle in the 1920s after the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

  • Photo: Chand Baori Stepwell, Rajasthan.

    Photo: Chand Baori Stepwell, Rajasthan.

    Dr Iain Stewart examines the Chand Baori stepwell in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Built in the 9th century, Chand Baori is one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India. It has 3,500 steps and 13 stories and is 100 feet deep.

  • World of Wonder

    World of Wonder

    This series is part of World of Wonder - a year of Science across the BBC in 2010. From popular science to Chaos Theory, there's a little something for everyone.

    Find out more about World of Wonder on BBC Science


Iain Stewart
Annabel Gillings
Annabel Gillings
Jonathan Renouf


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