Airdate: Searching For Superhuman

Science documentary Searching For Superhuman is coming to ABC.

The 6 part series featuring discoveries over the past few decades, which have revolutionised our understanding of what it means to be human – and how to live longer, better, smarter and stronger.

What makes us human? What hidden powers lie in the bodies of those who live longer, healthier lives? How can we grow faster, stronger, smarter? Is there a way to delay ageing? For millennia, humans have searched the heavens and Earth for answers, but in the last thirty years science has begun to unravel those most elusive secrets. The pace of discovery has been breathtaking.

In six, one-hour documentaries presented by Dr Shalin Naik, drawing from the rich film archives of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Searching For Superhuman chronicles the incredible scientific advances that have changed the way we understand ourselves and our biological destiny.

Kicking off with the most ambitious biological research project in history, the race to decode the human genome, the series examines the genetic revolution that came from sequencing the three billion letters of our DNA – and how it changed our outlook on health and disease. Technologies from the Human Genome Project opened up new fields of science, including the recent explosion of research into our gut microbiome with profound implications for our western diet and chronic new ailments. Surgery also experienced a transformation, with new technologies and interventions that allowed scientists to tinker with our cellular function and study life at the nano-scale.

At the same time, neuroscience developed new ways to explore the living brain, eavesdropping on electrical messaging, spying on growth and development, overturning concepts of the static adult brain. With a powerful new understanding of brain plasticity, scientists gained critical new insights into improving memory and learning, the importance of sleep and childhood enrichment.

For the disabled, scientific progress has been astonishing. With advanced new prosthetics, amputees are giving able-bodied athletes a run for their money and brain-directed bionic limbs are giving tetraplegics greater degrees of freedom. Everything from freshly built organs, to synthetic muscles promise a stronger, brighter future for those of us struck down by disease.

As scientists found new ways to extend and improve life, they also found ways to create it, bringing the moment of conception from the womb to the laboratory and developing a raft of reproductive technologies to overcome fertility problems and monitor the life of the unborn.

What was once seen as inevitable, the process of ageing, is now also under review, as scientists achieve remarkable results in laboratory experiments, extending health span, increasing lifespan and reversing signs of decay in animals. Are we finally within reach of the magical elixir of youth?

Featuring expert commentary by the world’s leading researchers in genetics, microbiology, stem cell science, surgery, exercise medicine, nutrition, bionics, fertility, mental health, longevity and neuroscience, the series tells the science journey of our recent past and extraordinary future.

This is our journey. This is our Search for Superhuman.

Tuesday October 27 9:30pm on ABC.

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