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Radio 4
Adding fluoride to the water supply has always been a polarised debate. Some think it will prevent tooth decay while others say its safety has not been proven. Its not a new argument, 50 years of fluoridation studies are available but recently public health officials of both Scotland and England have revisited the issue. The difference is that Scotland has decided against increasing the amount of fluoride in the water, while in England the Strategic Health Authorities can, after consultation, request that Water Companies add fluoride to an agreed level. Richard Hannaford asks whether science can ever solve this controversy.
health expectancy
Frank Close
There's an ass in mythology that stood equidistant between two bunches of carrots. One on its left, the other on its right side. The ass, unable to choose between left and right, starved to death. Luckily for us, life made a decision and didn't perish like Buridan's ass. The molecules that make living things are all handed. What's more they all have the same handedness - but why? Frank Close finds out how a French chemist found the clue to this conundrum at the bottom of a glass of wine a hundred and fifty years ago.

The final part of this series looking at three brilliant contemporary scientists features Sir Tim Hunt, awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the mechanism of how cells divide - a discovery fundamental to the life and growth of every single creature on the planet, as well as a vital clue into the mystery of cancer.
For 10,000 years or more, humans created new plant varieties for food by trial and error and a touch of serendipity. Then 150 years ago, a new era began. Pioneer botanists unlocked the patterns found in different types of plants and opened the door to a new branch of science - plant genetics. They discovered what controlled the random colours of snapdragon petals and the strange colours found in wild maize.
The air we breathe, and all the food we eat, is created from water, sunlight, carbon dioxide and a few minerals. That\'s it, nothing else. It sounds simple, but this process is one of the most fascinating and complicated in all of science. Without it there could be no life on earth. It\'s that important.
In part two, Professor Al-Khalili looks at the 19th century chemists who struggled to impose an order on the apparently random world of the elements. From working out how many there were to discovering their unique relationships with each other, the early scientists\' bid to decode the hidden order of the elements was driven by false starts and bitter disputes. But ultimately the quest would lead to one of chemistry\'s most beautiful intellectual creations - the periodic table.
In the final part, Professor Al-Khalili uncovers tales of success and heartache in the story of chemists' battle to control and combine the elements, and build our modern world. He reveals the dramatic breakthroughs which harnessed their might to release almost unimaginable power, and he journeys to the centre of modern day alchemy, where scientists are attempting to command the extreme forces of nature and create brand new elements.
The air around us is not just empty space; it is an integral part of the chemistry of life. Plants are made from carbon dioxide, nitrogen nourishes the soil and oxygen gives us the energy we need to keep our hearts pumping and our brains alive. But how did we come to understand what air is made of? How did we come to know that this invisible stuff around us contains anything at all?
chemistryhistory of sciencenatural worldnaturescience
It's the process that powers the Sun, and scientists know that if they could just make nuclear fusion happen here on Earth they could solve all the world's energy problems. Billions of dollars have been spent on trying to make it happen, but now an American scientist claims to have created nuclear fusion simply by bombarding a flask of liquid with sound waves. Many scientists refuse to believe his claims, so Horizon has assembled a team to replicate the experiment. This film reveals the team's findings
chemistryenergynuclear energynuclear fusionphysicsscience
They are the miracle pills that shouldn\'t really work at all. Placebos come in all shapes and sizes, but they contain no active ingredient. Now they are being shown to help treat pain, depression and even alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson\'s disease. Horizon explores why they work, and how we could all benefit from the hidden power of the placebo.
chemistrymedical sciencesplacebopsychologyscience
In the second of this year's Christmas Lectures, Dr Peter Wothers drinks from the fountain and finds out whether the elements lurking in the water can restore his youth. Along the way he discovers how exploding balloons could solve the energy crisis, how water contains the remains of the most violent reactions on Earth and that the real secret to eternal youth might be drinking no water at all.
chemistryhistory of sciencescience
In the final Christmas Lecture, Dr Peter Wothers explores the elements within the earth and discovers just how difficult it is for chemists to extract the planet's greatest treasures. He discovers how our knowledge of the elements can allow us to levitate, turn carbon dioxide into diamonds and maybe turn lead into gold.
chemistryhistory of sciencescience
In a three-part series, Dr Adam Rutherford tells the extraordinary story of the scientific quest to discover the secrets of the cell and of life itself. Every living thing is made of cells, microscopic building blocks of almost unimaginable power and complexity. This episode explores how scientists delved ever deeper into the world of the cell, seeking to reveal the magic ingredient that can spark a bundle of chemicals into life.
biologycellevolutionevolutionary biologylifemicrobiologyscience
Nic Stacey
Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand.
biologychaoschaos theorychemistryevolutionphysicsscience
Science writer Dr Gabrielle Walker has been obsessed with ice ever since she first set foot on Arctic sea ice. In this programme she searches out some of the secrets hidden deep within the ice crystal to try to discover how something so ephemeral has the
Brian Cox
In this episode Brian Cox visits South East Asia's 'Ring of Fire'. In the world's most volcanic region he explores the thin line that separates the living from the dead and poses that most enduring of questions: what is life?