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Beyond the Rainbow

We live in a world ablaze with colour. Rainbows and rainforests, oceans and humanity, earth is the most colourful place we know of. But the colours we see are far more complex and fascinating than they appear. In this series, Dr Helen Czerski uncovers what colour is, how it works, and how it has written the story of our planet.

The colours that we see are only a fraction of what's out there. Beyond the rainbow there are colours invisible to our eyes. In this episode, Helen tells the story of scientific discovery. To see the universe in a whole new light, she takes to the skies in a NASA jumbo jet equipped with a 17-tonne infrared telescope.

We can't see in ultraviolet, but many animals can. Helen explores what the world looks like to the birds and the bees. With the discovery of x-rays we could look inside ourselves in ways that previously had only been possible after death. Today those same x-rays allow us to examine life at the atomic level, helping to develop new drugs and better materials. Ultimately, by harnessing all the colours there are, researchers are beginning to image the human body as never before, revealing new ways to treat disease.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Tue 18 Jul 2017 03:00


Role Contributor
PresenterHelen Czerski
Executive ProducerJacqueline Smith
Series ProducerGraeme Thomson
DirectorToby Macdonald
ProducerToby Macdonald

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Prism Break


Uncover the unseen world of colour in this interactive video