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The Human Spark

Coming January 2010

After some three and a half billion years of life’s evolution on this planet – and after almost two million years since people recognizable as human first walked its surface – a new human burst upon the scene, apparently unannounced.

It was us.

Until then our ancestors had shared the planet with other human species. But soon there was only us, possessors of something that gave us unprecedented power over our environment and everything else alive. That something was – is – the Human Spark.

What is the nature of human uniqueness? Where did the Human Spark ignite, and when? And perhaps most tantalizingly, why?

In a three-part series to be broadcast on PBS in 2010, Alan Alda takes these questions personally, visiting with dozens of scientists on three continents, and participating directly in many experiments – including the detailed examination of his own brain.

Series Airs:

Episode 1: Becoming Us - Wednesday, January 6
Episode 2: So Human, So Chimp - Wednesday, January 13
Episode 3: Brain Matters - Wednesday, January 20


The Human Spark Resources and Events

Learn More About the Program

• Coming Soon-What's Your Spark? Arizona Digital Photography Contest Winners (Winners will be announced on January 5, 2010)

The Human Spark Red Carpet Premiere Party


Funding providers for The Human Spark

Major funding for The Human Spark is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Winston Foundation and the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family.


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National Science Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Foundation John Templeton Foundation Thirteen.org