There are scientific innovations and discoveries happening on a near daily basis. And now, with abundant streaming options, you can learn about these right in your living room. There are innumerable science documentaries across Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and so many others that are designed to keep you educated and informed on everything, from what’s happening across the world to what’s happening inside your own body.
Here, we’re highlighting the 7 best science documentaries you can watch right now.
Best Science Documentaries on Netflix
Chasing Ice (2012)
It’s likely that you’ve heard about how ice caps around the world are melting into our oceans due to climate change. You’ve heard this, yes. But have you seen it with your own eyes? If you’re curious to actually see how global warming is affecting our earth, then we suggest Chasing Ice.
The film depicts acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog as he tries to deliver real, hard evidence of the very real effects of global warming. Along with a team of young adventurers, Balog deploys innovative time-lapse cameras across the Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
A documentary full of both tragedy and hope, directed by Jeff Orlowski, Chasing Ice is a must-see for any environmental enthusiast.
Chasing Coral (2017)
Only a few years after Chasing Ice, director Jeff Orlowski heard news of a new environmental phenomenon, the bleaching of coral reefs. As he said to me in a 2017 interview, what he saw was both “beautiful and devastating.” He went on to explain, “By being able to showcase both the beauty and the horror of what’s happening in the oceans right now, we knew there was ripe material for a film.” Then came Chasing Coral.
By utilizing divers and photographers all over the world, Orlowski and his team were able to show the devastation of our ocean’s coral reefs. Similar to Chasing Ice, the goal of Chasing Coral was to show the effects of climate change of the reefs overtime, which meant employing time-lapse cameras.
In all, the film required over three years to shoot, 500+ hours underwater, and the support of 500 people from various locations around the world. And, like Chasing Ice, Chasing Coral can be bleak at times, but the main message is this: if action is taken now, the oceans can still recover.
Watch Chasing Coral on Netflix Now!
From Executive Producer Leonard DiCaprio comes Virunga, the emotional, gripping story of the group of people risking their lives to build a better future in the Congo. Nominated for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, Virunga tells the story of Virunga National Park in eastern Congo, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s remaining mountain gorillas.
A small but brave team of park rangers protect this UNESCO site from armed militia, poachers, and other forces struggling to control Congo’s natural resources. It’s a story built on courage, tragedy, and so much more. If you’re looking for an impassioned, gripping story, check out Virunga on Netflix ASAP. When it comes to science documentaries, Virunga is likely among the most engaging.
The Mars Generation (2017)
Believe it or not, we’ll be going to Mars one day. Believe it or not, the people who are going to set the first steps on Mars are growing up right now. The 2017 Netflix documentary, The Mars Generation, looks at precisely that, the generation that will one day take humanity’s first steps on Mars.
These teens are going to space camps, participating in STEM programs, and doing all they can to best prepare themselves to be intergalactic explorers one day. Not only does the film follow these teens, it also takes a look at what will truly have to happen for us to make it to Mars one day. And with these kids at the helm, we might just do it.
Best Science Documentaries on Amazon
Antibiotics have undoubtedly changed our society for the better. Being first massed-produced in the 1940s, antibiotics’ ability to fight and kill bacteria changed medicine forever; but not just medicine, everything from agriculture to war was impacted. But, 80 years later, Resistance takes a look at a new danger coming from antibiotics.
Resistance looks at this miracle drug to see how it has changed medicine, and it isn’t all good. Antibiotic-resistant infections kill hundreds of thousands of people each year, and more and more Superbugs are developing. Resistance, using microscopic footage and expert insights, dives deep into the problem of antibiotic resistance and what can be done to change things for the better.
Alive Inside (2014)
With an estimated 5.8 million U.S. citizens with Alzheimer’s disease, chances are you may know someone being affected in one way or another. However, Alive Inside, a 2014 Sundance Audience Award winner, looks at music’s unique ability to awaken memories in Alzheimer’s patients by documenting the experiences of individuals whose minds have been reinvigorated by the simple act of listening to music.
Featuring musicians, scientists, and personal stories, Alive Inside shows viewers the true power of music and how complicated the brain truly is. When it comes to science documentaries, many can be bleak in nature. This one, however, is a feel-good film that shows how music can connect people of all ages.
Life on Us: A Microscopic Safari (2014)
We’ve looked at the Arctic and the oceans across the world, but this next film should hit very close to home. Very, very close. Life on Us: A Microscopic Safari is exactly what it sounds like. What type of microscopic living organisms take residence on our bodies? Why are they there? Are they here to harm or to help?
Life on Us will answer all these questions and more as it takes you on a journey so close to home that you can’t even see it. These are the creatures that live, compete, feed, and breed on the surface and deep inside of our bodies, and we may need them more than we think.