RI Christmas Lectures 2007

Ri 2007 04 image
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Lecture 4 - Fight, Flight and Fright

When the shark is honing in, you must swim for your life. When the soldier faces enemy guns, he must run to survive. Or sometimes, stand and fight.

Such physical work involves burning a huge amount of energy. So how does the body increase that energy delivery, all of a sudden? What happens to the heart, lungs and blood vessels? How is the energy used?

Today, we shall answer some of these questions, looking at the amazing high-performance all-terrain vehicle that is the human body. We’ll find out what the skeleton is made of, and how muscles attach to move it. We’ll find out what those muscles are made of, and how they create force. And we’ll also find out how they are controlled- the ‘computer’ in our skulls, and the wiring that carries the ‘messages to move’.

Are all muscles the same or not? Why is it that one person can sprint well, and another is better at running a long distance? 

We’ll make an athlete exercise to exhaustion to find out. And then we’ll talk to someone whose ability to just keep on going determined whether he’d live… or die.



Lecture 1 - Peak Performance Humans use oxygen to burn fuels and release the energy which powers every function in every cell. This first programme will find out how this happens, even at the top of the world.

Lecture 2 - Completely Stuffed? What fuels does the body need? How do we get them from the dinner plate to the cell? And what other things are there in the food apart from fuel?

Lecture 3 - Grilled and Chilled Humans live in extraordinary places - from the middle of the Sahara desert to the frozen wastes of Alaska. So how can humans survive such extremes? And could you?

Lecture 4 - Fight, Flight and Fright When the shark is honing in, you must swim for your life. When the soldier faces enemy guns, he must run to survive. Or sometimes, stand and fight. How does the body increase that energy delivery?

Lecture 5 - Luck, Genes & Stupidity Are we all the same? Faced with the same perils, would we all cope just as well? And if not, is it down to luck? Or is there such a thing as the will to live?

Credits
for Five