Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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0101Breaking The Time Barrier2007041620070924

Archaeologist Clive Gamble transports us back to a gravel pit in northern France in 1859, to see the first evidence of the Stone Age, proof that mankind lived long before biblical times.

0102The Pillars Of Wisdom2007041720070925

Richard Fortey is at the Bay of Naples in the 1820s with geologist Charles Lyell, discovering the forces that raised mountains and shaped the Earth.

0103Animal, Vegetable, Mineral2007041820070926

In a cluttered lab in the 1820s, two German chemists show that living matter and minerals can be chemically identical, slaying the idea of a life force.

Written by Andrea Sella

0104 LASTOn The Revolutions Of Astronomy2007041920070927

In 1610, Galileo peering into the night sky with his hand-made telescope discovers four strange stars that will destroy the old concept of the Universe.

But his abrasive attitude soon brings him into conflict with others, even his supporters, like Jesuit astronomer Father Orazio Grassi.

Written by Brother Guy Consolmagno

0201Matthew Cobb2009062220100816

Strange Encounters - scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history.

Today, biologist Matthew Cobb on the quest for spontaneously generated life.

In the sweltering heat of a 17th century Tuscan villa, surrounded by jars of putrefying meat, Francesco Redi doubts the idea, handed down from Aristotle, and accepted unquestioningly by his contemporaries, that insects and reptiles emerge without parents from dead flesh.

The painstaking experiments not only established the notion of testing theories by exhaustive experimentation, but also laid the foundations of modern ideas of continuous heredity in all life.

Producer: Roland Pease.

Biologist Matthew Cobb considers the quest for spontaneously-generated life.

In a series in which scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history, biologist Matthew Cobb considers the quest for spontaneously-generated life.

0202Stuart Clark2009062320100818

Strange Encounters - scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history.

Today, astronomer Stuart Clark recalls The Great Solar Storm of 1859, when blood-red aurorae were seen across two thirds of the earth's surface, and newly inaugurated telegraph networks were put out of action by magnetic disruption.

Producer: Roland Pease.

Astronomer Stuart Clark recalls The Great Solar Storm of 1859.

In a series where scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history, astronomer Stuart Clark recalls The Great Solar Storm of 1859.

0203Jennifer Rohn *20090624

In a series in which scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments, Jennifer Rohn discusses the work of American biologist Peyton Rous, who showed that viruses can cause tumours.

Jennifer Rohn on biologist Peyton Rous, who showed that viruses can cause tumours.

020420090625

Engineer Basil Mahon on the young genius Heinrich Hertz, who discovered radio waves, and showed they could transmit over long distances, paving the way for all broadcasting.

0205 LAST*20090626

Army doctors in the Flanders trenches were confronted in 1916 by a new and deadly respiratory disease - the first cases of what became called the Spanish Flu.

Virologist John Oxford looks at their struggle to understand the disease that eventually killed over 50 million people.