Things to do this week: The Search for a New Earth

Looking for the best things to do this week? Don’t waste away being bored on the sofa… here’s our pick of ways to exercise your grey matter and nourish your neurons.

8th September 2017
The Search for a New Earth © BBC/Brook Lapping/Piers Leigh

#BrainFood brings you the best shows on TV and radio, science apps and books to activate your mind, and fun events to visit. This week – the search for a new Earth, graphic design in health, and the netherworld between life and death.


Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? © Wellcome Collection
© Wellcome Collection

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?

Wellcome Collection, London, 7 September 2017 – 14 January 2018, free

Health and graphic design might not sound like obvious bedfellows, but this exhibition reveals that their relationship runs deep. Find out how smart, powerful design is used around the world to raise awareness and inform the public, from digital teaching aids and 16th-Century anatomical pop-up books, to flashing pharmacy signs and comic books advocating safe sex.    


David Baddiel Tries to Understand © BBC

David Baddiel Tries to Understand

BBC Radio 4, Wed 13 September, 8:45-9:00pm

The comedian and writer attempts to get his head around another puzzling topic. This week: fracking. How does it differ from traditional drilling, what gas does it produce, and what kind of effect does it have on the environment? Previous topics, including electricity, cryptic crosswords and the Kardashians, are all available to listen to online.


Into the Grey Zone © Faber & Faber
© Faber & Faber

Into the Grey Zone

Adrian Owen, Faber & Faber, £16.99

Somewhere between life and death lies the grey zone, a realm of consciousness that was discovered by Dr Adrian Owen in 2006. This book charts the neuroscientist's attempts to communicate with those who inhabit this netherworld – people who are often labelled as being irretrievably lost. As his patients speak back, we’re prompted to ask: if a mind is able to exist unharmed within a deeply damaged brain, where does the true self lie?


The Search for a New Earth © BBC/Brook Lapping/Piers Leigh
© BBC/Brook Lapping/Piers Leigh

The Search for a New Earth

BBC Two, Mon 11 September, 9:00-10:30pm

With the global population booming, and resources limited, it might not be long before we need to find another home planet. In fact, Prof Stephen Hawking thinks we only have 100 years. In this 90-minute special, Hawking is joined by engineer Prof Danielle George and physicist Dr Christophe Galfard to find out if, and how, humans can reach for the stars and settle on a second Earth.   


ISS Finder © Harry Slotwiner
© Harry Slotwiner

ISS Finder

iOS, Harry Slotwiner, free

Is it a shooting star? A UFO? No! It’s the International Space Station! Find the ISS in the night sky with this app, and then marvel at the fact that there are humans onboard this celestial speck. You’ll get notifications when the ISS is directly overhead, and there’s also an option to learn more about the current crew, as well as see the astronauts' stunning photos. A similar app is also available for Android users.

For more fabulous apps, check out our list of the top 10 science apps for Android and iOS.


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