Every Breath We Take: Understanding Our Atmosphere

Every Breath We Take: Understanding Our Atmosphere


Continuing the Beeb's bounty of programmes about atmospheric matters, Dr Gabrielle Walker charts our evolving knowledge of air and the discovery of the gases that make it up.

So, we learn how, before the discovery of oxygen (who discovered it is still a matter of debate, apparently), scientists dreamt up a substance called phlogiston to explain what's now known as oxidation. It's a shame the ancient Greeks' thoughts on the subject are glossed over, but this is still a rare treat for chemistry buffs and it's fascinating to see how oxygen fuels life. "Without it, we'd all be pond slime," remarks Dr Walker.


Science writer Gabrielle Walker reveals how humanity has acquired an ever-greater understanding of air, upon which its life depends. By tracing the development of early scientific studies into the natural world, the presenter reveals how people came to appreciate that plants are supported by carbon dioxide, nitrogen enriches the soil, and oxygen gives people the energy they need to stay alive.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Gabrielle Walker
Executive Producer Jonathan Renouf