About Earth: The Power of the Planet

In Earth: The Power of the Planet, Dr Iain Stewart travels to some of the globe's most breathtaking locations to explain how Earth works. He also wants us to understand just how privileged we are to be here. The Earth has had a number of lucky breaks on the way to becoming a life-giving planet. Are humans in danger of reversing that good fortune?

Iain Stewart

Image courtesy of the BBC

Actor and Academic

Perhaps it's no surprise that Prof Iain Stewart has ended up as a television presenter. Long before he began his studies as a geologist, Iain was a child actor, who held an Equity card. He graduated in 1986 with a degree in Geology and Geography from Strathclyde University. By 2002, he had realised that he wanted to share his enthusiasm for his subject with a television audience. His big break came when he joined the team of Rough Science in 2003. He is now Professor of Geosciences Communication at the University of Plymouth.

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Action Man

Iain loves a challenge. During the series, we follow him as he scales incredible mountains and abseils down to the lava lake of Ethiopia's Erta Ale volcano. He goes cave-diving in Mexico, to explore spectacular flooded caverns created in the aftermath of a colossal meteorite strike that wiped out the dinosaurs. There's more underwater exploration at Thinvellir, Iceland, when Iain goes scuba diving in the pools and canyons that have formed as the tectonic plates of Europe and America pull away from each other.

Lightning Flight

The adventure highlight of the series has to be the flight Iain takes aboard an English Electric Lightning. The pilot jokes to Iain that flying in the heavy Cold War-era interceptor is like being strapped to the front of a missile. But, once in the stratosphere, 15 kilometres above the Earth's surface, the flight assumes an extraordinary serenity.