This episode looks at the scientific spark that ignited the Industrial Revolution in Britain. James Dyson tells the story of how a young James Watt was inspired to perfect the steam engine that would change the world forever. Jim Al-Khalili explains how Joseph Priestley, a clergyman with a fascination for gases, discovered the very air we breathe and started a craze for soda water. David Attenborough talks about his hero Joseph Banks, the great naturalist who sailed to the South Seas and founded Kew Gardens on his return. And Robert Winston reveals the extraordinary story of John Hunter, surgeon, anatomist... and body-snatcher.
Britain's top scientific names tell the story of the British science and ingenuity that has been at the forefront of some of history's greatest advances. Britain may only be a small island, but its great scientists and inventors have literally created the modern world: from the invention of the steam engine, computers and the world-wide web to the discovery of the theory of evolution and the atom.
In this five-part series some of Britain's leading scientific figures - Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson, David Attenborough, Robert Winston, Paul Nurse, Jim Al-Khalili, Kathy Sykes and Olivia Judson - tell the stories of the people behind these innovations. From Isaac Newton to Frank Whittle, James Watt to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Joseph Banks to Rosalind Franklin, these are the people who - through blood, sweat and tears - overcame all obstacles in the search for answers.
Source: Channel 4