Keen to be cool like the 'brains' on The Big Bang Theory? Feed your mind with these science shows and you'll be in academic orbit in no time.
TV to help embrace your inner nerd
Hanging with the geeks is not only good, clean fun - it's cool. Already, millions around the world spend light years in their living room with Sheldon and Leonard the physicists, Howard the aerospace engineer, Raj the astrophysicist and their microbiologist and neuroscientist posse, otherwise known as The Big Bang Theory.
We all crave that witty brainiac fun, but for many of us in the real world, shameful feelings of inadequacy cause us to clam up when the conversation drifts to converting galactic radio waves to digital music, or the comparative likelihood of left-handed individuals developing cluster headaches.
Help is on the way. Watch these science shows and, faster than a Higgs boson particle, your fluency in matters of natural science, technology, physics and the cosmos will be right up there like Halley's Comet.
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
You'll be a sure-fire hit at the next Star Trek convention when you shrewdly posit that there are multiple versions of reality and that the fate of the universe may depend on hidden cosmic twins. And you'll have your old Driving Miss Daisy star Morgan Freeman, he of the silky ear-balm voice, to thank for your new Mensa membership. This superb show explores the deepest mysteries of existence - the questions that have puzzled mankind for aeons. Will eternity end? Can we eliminate evil? Can we resurrect the dead? What is nothing? (7pm tonight on Discovery Science)
Behind every myth and urban legend there's a science experiment waiting to happen, or to blow up in the faces of the hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, who try to prove or disprove their tall tale. Tonight, for example, these semi-mad scientists explore the relative merits of paper armour - and whether ancient Chinese warriors wore it. You'll be surprised. Watch these guys tonight and you'll rule the water-cooler chat tomorrow. (9.30pm tonight on Discovery HD Showcase)
Prophets of Science Fiction
If you're off to a comic con, the sci-fi tropes have got to roll off your tongue like Klingon. The director Ridley Scott hosts this engaging biography series that looks at literary visionaries whose imaginations grew our consciousness and inspired modern-day innovation and technology. Tonight, Hollywood luminaries and scientists weigh in on Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land, two tomes that ask: what is freedom? Other storytellers featured in this series include HG Wells, George Lucas, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick and Arthur C Clarke. (8.40pm tonight on Discovery HD Showcase)
Things That Move
Inject some engineering smarts into your cerebellum as the host Jeff Douglas reveals how inventors, technological innovations and historical trends have led to major developments in travel, transport and mobility - and moved us beyond the limitations of the human form. Tonight's ice breaker, literally, explains that while most ships avoid ice, these incredible vessels count on the shape of their hull and sheer momentum to cut a swath through frozen waterways. Forthcoming topics include tanks, the subway, the surfboard, RVs, rubbish lorries, racing yachts and choppers. (8.40pm tonight on Discovery Science)
It goes without saying that you've got to be conversant in the history of little green men and shiny flying discs. This series gives you the facts that have spurred our modern UFO mythology. Tonight's episode, First Contact, recalls how the townspeople of Aurora, Texas, in 1897 reportedly found an alien body and buried it in the local graveyard. Can the UFO Hunters solve one of the earliest UFO cases ever recorded? (9pm tonight on the History Channel)
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