Professor Stephen Hawking is a household name. You don’t know who he is? Don’t worry, neither does Captain America. ’Strue. Remember they had to explain this to him in The Avengers film? Anyway, one of his TV shows, Brave New World with Stephen Hawking, makes its debut on TopTV’s Discovery Science channel tonight.

The professor looks at some of the most astounding scientific breakthroughs of our times and how they are helping to make man’s life better.

While he narrates the programme, he also invites experts and other well-known guests such as Sir David Attenborough, Aarathi Prasad and Richard Dawkins to give their take on the breakthroughs.

The categories explored include technology (obviously), health, biology, the environment and machines.

When it comes to machinery, Hawking is probably the poster child of exactly how far mankind can go. Just look at him.

He may not look entirely comfortable, but in that chair he’s doing more significant things with his life than any cast member of Jersey Shore. All of those orange young people. Sigh.

This season of Brave New World with Stephen Hawking shows how presenter Kathy Sykes heads to San Francisco to try out a driverless car, while Mark Evans hooks his brain up to a computer in Switzerland to test a new machine.

Prasad, who is a biologist, tackles the health component of the show head-on as he takes an excursion to the dark continent and joins scientists who work tirelessly to find cures for debilitating diseases.

He also joins a group who do this as their nine-to-fives and becomes a virus hunter in “the jungles of Africa”. Or at least until the director yells “cut”.

Dawkins looks at how laser beams could actually be the answer to doing away with brain disorders if they are used in conjunction with genetically modified brain cells.

Attenborough helps scientists collect DNA from an elephant so that it can be included in the Frozen Ark – a project that attempts to keep a database of every living animal’s DNA so as to save them from extinction.

You may think this is inter- fering with nature and, if you do, this is probably not the show for you.

Brave New World with Stephen Hawking relies on science and facts and figures to put its points across. If you just don’t believe, you may have a hard time sitting through a single episode.

• Brave New World with Stephen Hawking airs on Discovery Science (TopTV channel 302) at 6.30pm.