Supercharged: Fuelling the future – People power (2016)

Saiful Islam

Saiful Islam continues his exploration of one of the most important questions facing humankind – how to generate and use energy.

Watch time: 59:01

In this Lecture, Saiful Islam investigates how humans as living pulsing machines actually use energy, asking whether it’s possible to ‘supercharge’ the human body and increase its performance.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary since the BBC first broadcast the Christmas Lectures on TV, Saiful invited former Christmas Lecturers to join him on stage, and repeated some of the most exciting (and dangerous) experiments and demonstrations from the past.

Live experiments explore everything from the explosive potential of everyday foods, to what we put into our bodies (and what comes out), as well as how we measure up to the machines we use every day.

Saiful even experiments on himself, showing images captured inside his own stomach. Every single one of us is an incredibly sophisticated energy conversion machine, finely tuned over millions of years of evolution. So will we ever be able to improve the human body’s performance? Can we ever do more with less energy?


These CHRISTMAS LECTURES describe something invisible that drives everything around us, from our bodies to mobile phones, from aeroplanes to all the stars in the universe: energy.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just transforms from one form to another – the challenge is whether we can harness and use it for our own purposes when it changes from one form to another.

The three Lectures will take us on an incredible journey through these powerful transformations to inspire the next-generation of scientists.

In each lecture, Saiful Islam faces a big question – what is energy and where does it come from? How can we best make use of it? and How can we store energy to use later on? Along the way we learn about the energy that powers our homes, the energy that powers our cars and see how the most important machine of them all, the human body, compares to all the gadgets we carry around with us.

Whilst Saiful has access to amazing cutting-edge technology, it we are a long way from meeting the energy demands of the future. The real solutions and great breakthroughs will come from tomorrow’s researchers, quite possibly the young people watching these CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES supporters