Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
A relative of jellyfish, the rice-sized freshwater creatures known as hydra are, at first glance, rather basic – all tentacles and mouth, with lives dedicated to nabbing passing prey. But, as scientists have gradually been discovering over centuries, these simple organisms have such a unique capacity for regeneration that they’re considered biologically immortal. As this video from the science documentary series Deep Look explores, the hydra’s ability to rebuild itself is so powerful that the animal can even reform after being essentially blended at a cellular level. Providing astonishing high-definition glimpses of its microscopic world, this short details why the secret to the hydra’s invincibility is in its stem cells, and how scientists hope to harness its qualities to benefit humans.
Video by KQED Science
Cinematographer and writer: Josh Cassidy
Narrator and writer: Laura Klivans
Film and visual culture
A Palme d’Or-winning animation toys with the way our eyes perceive light
Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
The Standard Model might be the most successful theory in science. But what is it?
Meet the citizen scientist who changed how we see the Sun, and science itself