- 1 How to Kill a Human Being
Former Conservative MP, Michael Portillo pushes his body to the brink of death in an investigation into the science of execution. As the American Supreme Court examines whether the lethal injection is causing prisoners to die in unnecessary pain Michael sets out to find a solution which is fundamentally humane. To do so he examines the key methods of execution available today: he discovers why convicts can catch on fire in the electric chair, learns how easy it is to botch a hanging and inhales a noxious gas to experience first hand the terror of the gas chamber. Armed with some startling evidence Michael considers a completely new approach. Will it be the answer? There is only one way of finding out to experience it himself.
Air Date: 2008-01-15
- 2 Total Isolation
Horizon investigates the controversial science of sensory deprivation. Six ordinary people are taken to a nuclear bunker and subjected to a world without stimulation. Three subjects are left alone in dark, sound proofed rooms, while the other three are given goggles and foam cuffs as white noise is piped into their ears. Over the 48 hour experiment the changes in their mental functioning are investigated as their brains undergo strange alterations.
Air Date: 2008-01-22
- 3 What on Earth is Wrong With Gravity?
Particle physicist and ex D:Ream keyboard player Dr Brian Cox wants to know why the Universe is built the way it is. He believes the answers lie in the force of gravity. But Newton thought gravity was powered by God, and even Einstein failed to completely solve it. Heading out with his film crew on a road trip across the USA, Brian fires lasers at the moon in Texas, goes mad in the desert in Arizona, encounters the bending of space and time at a maximum security military base, tries to detect ripples in our reality in the swamps of Louisiana and searches for hidden dimensions just outside Chicago.
Air Date: 2008-01-29
- 4 Is Alcohol Worse than Ecstasy?
Horizon hits the drugs debate head-on as it examines the latest scientific evidence behind 20 of the country's most widely used drugs. A team of leading scientists has spent two years analysing the effects of these drugs and devising a scientifically rigorous, but controversial, new ranking for them. From alcohol to ecstasy, tobacco to LSD this programme looks at the science behind the headlines and asks what is Britain's most dangerous drug?
Air Date: 2008-02-05
- 5 How to Make Better Decisions
We are bad at making decisions. According to science, our decisions are based on oversimplification, laziness and prejudice. And that's assuming that we haven't already been hijacked by our surroundings or led astray by our subconscious! Featuring exclusive footage of experiments that show how our choices can be confounded by temperature, warped by post-rationalisation and even manipulated by the future, Horizon presents a guide to better decision making, and introduces mathematician Garth Sundem, who is convinced that conclusions can best be reached using simple maths and a pencil!
Air Date: 2008-02-12
- 6 How to Live to be 101
The quest to live longer has been one of humanity's oldest dreams, but while scientists have been searching, a few isolated communities have stumbled across the answer. On the remote Japanese island of Okinawa, In the Californian town of Loma Linda and in the mountains of Sardinia people live longer than anywhere else on earth. In these unique communities a group of scientists have dedicated their lives to trying to uncover their secrets. Horizon takes a trip around the globe to meet the people who can show us all how to live longer, healthier lives.
Air Date: 2008-02-19
- 7 Professor Regan's Supermarket Secrets
Friendly bacteria, superfoods, cholesterol busting spreads, 99% germ free, whiter than white...it's almost impossible to find a product in the supermarket today that doesn't come with impressive claims...scientific claims...with an inflated price tag to match. Are they oversold? Or are they worth the extra cash? Prof Lesley Regan has already exploded some of the myths behind beauty products in a previous Horizon. Now she's back, to see if the evidence behind these supermarket products stands up to her levels of scrutiny. From organic farm produce to the billion dollar brands of the UK's major manufacturers Prof Regan asks tough questions and gets surprising answers. And there's no sitting on the fence: a product is either 'in' or 'out' of her scientifically backed supermarket trolley.
Air Date: 2008-02-26
- 8 Are we Alone in the Universe?
For fifty years, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence has been scanning the galaxy for a message from an alien civilisation. So far to no avail, but a recent breakthrough suggests they may one day succeed. Horizon joins the planet hunters who've discovered a new world called Gliese 581 c. It is the most Earth-like planet yet found around another star and may have habitats capable of supporting life. NASA too hopes to find fifty more Earth-like planets by the end of the decade, all of which dramatically increases the chance that alien life has begun elsewhere in the galaxy.
Air Date: 2008-03-04
- 9 How Much is Your Dead Body Worth?
When veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke died in 2004 few suspected that he was yet to uncover his greatest story. What happened to his body as it lay in a funeral home would reveal a story of modern day grave robbery and helped smash a body-snatching ring that had made millions of dollars by chopping up and selling-off over 1000 bodies. Dead bodies have become big business. Each year millions of people's lives are improved by the use human tissue taken from the dead. Bodies are used to supply spare parts, and for surgeons to practice on. Horizon investigates the medical revolution that has created an almost insatiable demand for body parts and uncovers the growing industry and grisly black market that supplies human bodies for a price.
Air Date: 2008-03-18
- 10 How Does Your Memory Work?
Horizon takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into the human memory. From the woman who is having her most traumatic memories wiped by a pill, to the man with no memory, this film reveals how these remarkable human stories are transforming our understanding of this unique human ability. John Forbes is not like most of us. The hardware for his memory was damaged at birth. Although he's an intelligent young man, his specific injury prevents him from doing simple tasks such as catching a bus, or cooking a meal, because he constantly forgets what he is doing. And, the same areas of the brain used to process memories also produce our ideas about the future. So, without a past, John is also unable to imagine his own future. For Genevieve Smith-Courtois her problem is how to forget: She is haunted by a sexual assault and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. But now a pioneering technique may help by dissolving her memory - simply by taking a pill. John Stevenson developed Alzheimer's at 52. John is unable to wash or dress himself, write, or even get himself a glass of water without the help of his wife. The loss of his memory is the unravelling of his life. Horizon explores how memory defines every individual and how, ultimately, everyone is little more than their own memory.
Air Date: 2008-03-25
- 11 Everest: Doctors in the Death Zone (2)
Horizon follows a team of doctors as they climb Mount Everest performing ground breaking experiments on the human body in the second of a two part special.
Air Date: 2007-09-30