Colour: The Spectrum Of Science

Confirmed for BBC Four on 4 November at 9pm to 10pm

Ep 1/3

Wednesday 4 November



The world is ablaze with colour. In the otherwise dowdy solar system, Earth stands out from the blackness of space as a multicoloured jewel. But how did a drab grey rock become filled with colour? How did colour help life colonise the planet, and what secrets can we learn from the colours that we can’t see?

In this 3x60’ series for BBC Four, Dr Helen Czerski embarks on a fascinating journey to unlock the secrets of colour, revealing the 15 colours that tell the story of the Earth, life and scientific discovery.

In the first episode Dr Czerski seeks out the colours that transformed planet earth from a baron rock to a vivid jewel. To investigate the essence of sunlight Helen travels to California to visit the largest solar telescope in the world. She discovers how the most vivid blue is formed from sulfur atoms deep within the earth’s crust and why the presence of red ochre is a key sign of life.

In Gold she discovers why this most precious of metals shouldn’t even exist on the surface of the planet, and in White Helen travels to one of the hottest places on earth to explore the role that salt and water played in shaping our planet earth.