Pure Science Specials



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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Megastructures: World's Tallest TV Tower
      Soaring a dizzying 610 meters skyward, Guangzhou’s Sightseeing and TV Tower is the tallest television tower on earth. It’s a testimony to the vision of a small architectural team who dared to dream big. Follow each phase of constructing this masterpiece.
    • Of Hearts and Minds
      The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Trace its conflicting histories as an emotional symbol and a physical organ, and reveal what the latest science has learnt about its structures, its capacities, and its role.
    • Westall '66: A Suburban UFO Mystery
      In 1966, in the Australian suburb of Westall, hundreds of students, teachers, and local residents saw the unimaginable: a UFO. Silenced by authorities at the time, now they revisit the extraordinary experience as a tenacious sleuth searches for answers.
    • Malaria: The Serial Killer
      Today, malaria kills twice as many people as AIDS, yet its progress is marked with relative indifference. In a time when global travel is easier than ever—for people and diseases—it is more important than ever to find a counter to this deadly ailment.
    • Plastic: The Real Sea Monster
      Six million metric tons of plastic wind up in the world’s ocean every year. Unlike other refuse, plastic can stay in the water forever without breaking down. How is this deadly killer affecting the world’s oceans, and how will it affect humanity?
    • Changing Sexes: Female to Male
      It is one of the most provocative personal statements a person can make: I was born the wrong sex. To express this dilemma, and the desire to resolve it, is to be transsexual. Meet four transsexual women, and share their journey to live as men.
    • Changing Sexes: Male to Female
      Transsexuals struggle to define themselves in the most fundamental way. Is this a psychological disorder, or a biological anomaly? Find out how it feels to be trapped in the wrong body, and discover what pushes men to transform themselves into women.
    • 10/1/13
      Jumping through first floor windows, being caught in the street naked, and fighting people... James Du Gard has done it all while completely sound asleep. The challenge is on to help him find out what causes his sleepwalking and find a cure.
    • The World's Highest Railway
      Opened in 2006, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the first rail link into the heart of Tibet. The railway runs an incredible five kilometers above sea level.
    • Hit by Lightning
      Hit by Lightning
      Episode 45
      We think of lightning strikes as fatal, but nine out of ten victims actually survive the hit. However, the victim's experiences, memories, and the physical consequences last a lifetime.
    • Maggot Medicine
      Maggot Medicine
      Episode 42
      Maggots are one of the most reviled animals in human society. But do these small creatures hold the key to stopping some of humanity’s worst medical problems? Could amputations become a thing of the past through the use of maggot medicine?
    • The Leech Remedy
      The Leech Remedy
      Episode 41
      By harnessing the leech, ancient healers were able to cure many common maladies. Now, modern medicine is beginning to relearn the ancient art of leeching. What advances will doctors find by utilizing these primordial creatures?
    • Man Versus Earth
      Man Versus Earth
      Episode 40
      Extreme snow can be a massive destructive force. But is this destruction avoidable? With scientific understanding growing all the time, is this the first time in history that we are gaining the upper hand on controlling the awesome power of nature?
    • Spellbound: Crimes of the Mind
      Sometimes just a tap on the shoulder is enough to put you under a stranger’s control. The mystery of mind manipulation, or “pukau” has long since been an enigma. Unravel the secrets behind these crimes of the mind.
    • Rocket Compulsion
      Rocket Compulsion
      Episode 37
      This is the story of a tenacious Australian Jet Pilot, David Mayman, as he strives to achieve his childhood dream of building and free-flying his very own Rocket Belt, only to discover he faces a nearly impossible task.
    • Transplanting Memories
      In recent years, several transplant recipients have reported unexpected side effects… including new memories, habits, and desires that they have never had before. Is there any explanation behind this phenomenon?
    • Sudden Death
      Sudden Death
      Episode 35
      Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome is a lethal disease that targets seemingly healthy people in the prime of their lives. Now, as scientists race to discover a cure, what they unravel is a disease steeped in both mythology and 21st century medical science.
    • Super Cyclone
      Super Cyclone
      Episode 34
      Follow the studios of an Indian meteorological team and a pair of Australian scientists as they work to record the geological signatures left by super cyclones in their home regions. Can their studies give an insight into the nature of these cyclones?
    • Super Cells
      Super Cells
      Episode 33
      Many believe stem cells will be the future of medicine, but in Asia the future is now. More Western patients are flying to Asia for stem cell treatment—many against their doctor’s advice. Are they being rash, or forging a new frontier in medical science?
    • Space Crabs
      Space Crabs
      Episode 32
      Science is always striving to unlocking the secrets of the cosmos. Discover how one of the most ancient creatures on earth may hold the key to NASA’s ability to detect life in outer space and learn what is being done to ensure the species survives.
    • Typhoon Hunters
      Typhoon Hunters
      Episode 31
      To unlock the secrets of typhoons, an international team of meteorologists will fly four aircraft into the very heart of these storms. If they can unlock the secret of these deadly storms, many lives around the world will be saved. But can they do it?
    • Trading Faces
      Trading Faces
      Episode 30
      Plastic surgery is a booming industry in Asia. But is getting a nose job becoming as casual an affair as getting a facial? With events like “Ms. Artificial Beauty”, what lies ahead for the Asian plastic surgery market—and its patients?
    • Chasing Earthquakes
      Embark on a journey into the strange world of earthquake prediction. Inexplicable evidence, considered scientific in some parts of the world and debunked in others, is used to foretell devastating disasters. But is there any truth behind these theories?
    • Green China Rising
      Green China Rising
      Episode 28
      In the war to save our planet's future, the battleground is China ... the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. We meet the many pioneers across China who are stepping up with new innovations and new ideas that crash through conventional thinking.
    • Manapouri: The Toughest Tunnel
      It would take 16 lives to build Manapouri power station 700 feet inside the New Zealand mountain, an undertaking lasting decades and faced with constant failure. This was indeed one of the toughest tunnels ever attempted by man.
    • Master Imitators: What Makes Us Human?
      Evolution. It’s an idea that has long fascinated scientists. Humans have the uncanny ability to see something and mimic it. But are there other animals with this type of social understanding? What is it that truly sets humans apart from other beings?
    • Evolution. It’s an idea that has long fascinated scientists. Many have tried to bridge the gap between humans and our nearest cousins: apes. But what really sets us apart? What secrets does the human brain hold, and just what is it that makes us human?
    • The Boy With a Tumor for a Face, Part 2
      Less than a year since his life-saving operations, and Novemthree Siahaan is forced to return to the hospital. His tumors have grown much faster than doctors had anticipated, and this time even their medical prowess may not be enough to save him.
    • The Boy With a Tumor for a Face, Part 1
      Novemthree Siahaan was born a normal Indonesian boy. But by age five, Novemthree’s face was completely taken over by tumors growing from his mouth. Follow the trials that his doctors and family faced as they fought to save him and give him a normal life.
    • Women Addicted to Sex
      Sex Addiction is a disease that often goes unrecorded. It manifests differently in each person’s life, but there is always the same irresistible urge. In this documentary we’ll see how four women have coped with sex addiction in their own unique ways.
    • The Oldest People in the World
      What is life actually like when you have seen a whole century go by? Visit the oldest people in the world and learn how they feel about the lives they have lived and are currently living.
    • 3/19/13
      Born with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a horrific genetic disease, Johnny Kennedy’s day-to-day life is a nightmarish struggle. He may lose his skin at the slightest touch, but there is no breaking his heart, his soul, or his incredible spirit.
    • Sex On the Brain
      Sex On the Brain
      Episode 19
      This is the bizarre story of a 40-year-old schoolteacher who suddenly found himself victim of uncontrollable deviant impulses. Something foreign in his brain may be the cause.
    • Half Ton Man
      Episode 18
      Patrick Deuel is a morbidly obese man who is literally eating himself to death. Weighing over 1000 lbs, Patrick was the world's largest man. Although having had a life changing gastric bypass, he still struggles against his compulsion to eat.
    • Born With Two Heads
      Manar Maged was born with an extremely rare birth defect that has only occurred 10 times in medical history. Although her twin head had no body or organs of its own, it displayed consciousness. It could blink, smile, and even cry.
    • Munchausen Moms
      Munchausen Moms
      Episode 16
      The bond between mother and child is one of the strongest in a human’s life. But in a lethal form of child abuse known as Munchausen by Proxy, mothers cause their children to be sick to gain attention, and the once sacred relationship can turn deadly.
    • The Devil's Sea: Beyond the Bermuda Triangle
      Why have so many ships met their doom in the sea off the south coast of Japan? Could this stretch of water be the Bermuda Triangle of the Pacific? One man sets out to find a long lost wreck, and separate fact from fantasy as he explores The Devil’s Sea.
    • Magnetic Storm
      Magnetic Storm
      Episode 14
      Generated deep within the Earth’s molten core, the magnetic field protects our planet from deadly radiation from space. Yet scientists have discovered that it is weakening. Could our world lose its vital magnetic shield, and what will happen if we do?
    • Double Identity
      Double Identity
      Episode 13
      The study of twins is changing our understanding of how personality traits are linked to genes. Double Identity brings you inside these studies, to understand how much of twins’ actions are due to their environments, and how much is hardwired from birth.
    • The World's First Time Machine
      Time travel is one of mankind's favorite fantasies. But what if it were possible to build a real time machine? To travel into the future, or the past? Scientists are now teetering on making that impossible dream, reality.
    • Super Worm
      Super Worm
      Episode 11
      The worm, a living tube of flesh, has become a lab star due to its beautiful simplicity. Worms have helped scientists solve great puzzles in genetics and disease; they've even helped map the human genome.
    • 10/22/12
      Journey with psychologist Susan Blackmore to find out if apes possess the same cognitive skills as humans. Can they use language, maps, or conscious choice? Find out the answer to these questions and more as you meet the cleverest apes in the world.
    • The Treasure
      The Treasure
      Episode 9
      In the middle of the Java Sea in Indonesia, a substantial merchant ship was lost. It’s wreckage holds invaluable information to the past on the surfaces of hundreds of thousands of ceramic pieces. What other wonders will be found?
    • The Art and Science of Freeflight
      Most people have had the "flying dream", imagining soaring high above the clouds or skimming the surface of the ocean. Technology today has allowed hobbiests to take hold of their own wings in the recreational sport of freeflight.
    • Super Cockroach
      Super Cockroach
      Episode 7
      Dirty, repugnant, and invasive, the roach is the most loathed insect on every continent. Yet, the roach has a second nature: simple, robust, alert, and prolific. These insects are providing inspiration for scientists in the field of robotics.
    • Dream Life of Rats
      Who would have thought that a creature so despised a century ago would be responsible for so many medical and scientific breakthroughs. Without the rat, the mysteries of thought and emotion would remain an enigma.
    • Chasing El Nino
      Chasing El Nino
      Episode 5
      Scientists search for a theory to explain the weather phenomenon, El Niño, which only occurs once or twice per decade. The information they gather is fed into a computer to predict when and how hard El Niño will strike.
    • The Diva Mummy
      The Diva Mummy
      Episode 4
      Scientists perform an autopsy on the best preserved mummy ever discovered: that of a Han aristocrat named Lady Dai. More than 2000 years after her death her flesh is resilient and her blood still red. What can she tell us about life in ancient China?
    • In the Mind of Plants
      Can plants perceive their environments? Can they feel? Sleep? Remember? In some ways, plants have surpassed animal on their evolutionary path. Find out how in one of the most interesting documentaries you will ever see.
    • Megawheel
      Episode 2
      The Singapore Flyer, or simply “TheFlyer,” is a giant observation wheel in Singapore. “MEGAWHEEL” documents the incredible engineering feat it took to create the world’s largest Ferris Wheel.
    • Hell On Ice
      Hell On Ice
      Episode 1
      Despite numerous attempts, the Antarctic Peninsula had never been crossed unassisted. Share the frustration, exhaustion, and calamity of two men who tackle one of the world’s most extreme and unpredictable regions.