Although you may spend most of your Netflix viewing time catching up on The Walking Dead or enjoying B-grade horror movies in secret, the service also features an expansive selection of some of the best science documentaries recently made. These documentaries help us better understand the world around us without getting bogged down attending lectures or reading intimidating scientific journals.
From the world of nature to particle physics to how we'll deal with our future robot overlords, we've rounded up our five favorite science documentaries that you can watch on Netflix right now.
At first, a documentary about fish doesn't seem all that exciting. However, this three-part documentary from PBS, hosted by paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, is a fascinating look at how humans evolved from ocean-dwelling creatures to the two-legged upright beings we are today. By using fish fossils and DNA, Shubin teaches us about our own anatomy.
Particle Fever gives us a front row seat to the story of the scientists who worked with the Large Hadron Collider, following them for seven years as they search for, and eventually find, the elusive Higgs Boson particle.
"The film is a tribute to the creativity and curiosity that drive scientific research, which is shown to be an imaginative as well as an empirical pursuit, " writes The New York Times. "It is enormously suspenseful, too, chronicling a period that included nearly catastrophic setbacks and public relations disasters, as well as progress."
Although most of us don't really understand particle physics, after watching this documentary, we'll certainly have a new appreciation of the field.
PBS knows how to do documentaries about science and nature, and What Plants Talk About is no different. One might think plants are boring, but think again because they apparently have their own "secret world, " at least according to the documentary's host, scientist J.C. Cahill. In this film, you'll learn about how plants communicate with each other and insects, with lots of surprises along the way.
Even if you haven't seen Benedict Cumberbatch's take on Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, you can learn all about the computer scientist and World War II codebreaker in this documentary film now available on Netflix. Although Turing's abilities changed how we wage war, the British government still chastised him for being gay, eventually resulting in his suicide. This documentary is the first real insight we have at the man behind the genius that was Turing.
This documentary series, which collects a series of TEDTalks on robots, shows us a very good picture of what robot technology is currently capable of and what the future of robotics looks like. From robots that are almost (and eerily) self aware, to how robots will change the way we fight wars, to robotic surgery, this series covers the entire field of modern robotics. Robotic Machinations will change the way you see robots and uncover just how far we've come in the field.