Breakthrough provides a thought-provoking and imaginative perspective on scientific discovery as it unfolds. Each episode follows scientific explorers working on cutting-edge projects with breakthrough potential.
Part 1: Fighting Pandemics (Directed and Narrated by Peter Berg)
The Ebola outbreak of 2014 almost brought the world to its knees, but this crisis has mobilized scientists and researchers, paving the way for new treatments and vaccines. From antibiotics and vaccines to computer programs that predict how viruses will spread, new lifesaving tools will be used to fight a wide range of viruses in the near future, including HIV, influenza, dengue fever, malaria, and a host of other killer diseases.
Part 2: More Than Human (Directed and Narrated by Paul Giamatti)
Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human. Technology embedded in our bodies is fairly common: artificial limbs, pacemakers. But new research is taking us beyond replacement parts and into a new realm that is changing the nature of the human body and the human mind. Will the fusion of biology and technology change how we think, how we feel, how we experience the world?
Part 3: Decoding the Brain (Directed by Brett Ratner; Narrated by Adrien Brody)
After millennia of speculation about what goes on inside the human brain, we now have the tools to explore its hidden reaches. These tools are leading to research that may help those suffering from afflictions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also shedding light on the mystery of consciousness and what makes us who we are.
Part 4: The Age of Aging (Directed and Narrated by Ron Howard)
In recent years, close study of the aging process has opened up new ways that could help us all live healthier for longer. Can we move beyond treating individual diseases, and instead treat the aging process itself? But would a longer life necessarily be a better life? A loose-knit group of researchers believe the real breakthrough is extending our health span – the period of life spent free of disease.
Part 5: Energy on the Edge (Directed by Akiva Goldsman; Narrated by Jason Bateman)
We are surrounded by clean, raw energy waiting to be tapped – energy that could eventually replace fossil fuels. Finding new ways to harness the energy around us takes a rare breed of scientist-engineers: men and women with a combination of technical skill, imagination, and unwavering focus. If we act now, developments in energy production could avert disaster and usher in a new era of clean, safe energy.
Part 6: Water Apocalypse (Directed and Narrated by Angela Bassett)
California is on the brink of an apocalypse. The state faces a future of drought that will cost billions in lost farm revenue and thousands of jobs. But the challenges facing the state are not unique: All over the world, governments are struggling with bigger populations and a diminishing supply of freshwater. Innovators across the globe are seeking solutions in emergent technologies to prevent a planet-wide water crisis.