Monday, February 6, 2012

How to Grow a Planet

This week sees the start of what promises to be another great series of science programmes from the BBC with How to Grow a Planet.

The three part series, presented by Prof. Iain Stewart, aims to reveal how the greatest changes to the Earth have been driven, above all, by plants.

Stewart is a geologist and professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University so expect to see the links between ancient plants and geology feature highly in this series.

“I had always thought of plants as being rather boring – less dramatic than the earthquakes and volcanoes I had been studying. But when you realise what plants do at the planet scale, and when you discover just how fundamental they are to life on Earth, they take your breath away", said Stewart.

In the first episode, to be aired on Tuesday 7th February at 9pm on BBC2, Stewart examines how plants first harnessed light energy to create our life-giving atmosphere. He looks at the epic batle between dinosaurs and poisonous plants and promises to use remarkable imagery to show plants 'breathing' and communicating with each other for the first time.

Also in episode one, Stewart will be sealed inside an air-tight chamber at the Eden Project in Cornwall in an attempt to demonstrate the oxygenating properties of the plants sealed in the chamber alongside him.

Stewart added: “I think it was being stuck in a transparent air-tight container for 48 hours with 274 of them that really made me appreciate plants. Locked in there, with half the oxygen removed, I suddenly realised how much I needed plants to keep me alive. It is a hell of a way to highlight something we so take for granted: photosynthesis!”

Here's a sneak preview of episode one:


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