NOVA

Continuing Wednesday / 7:00pm PBS US 60 min.
Seen in more than 100 countries, NOVA is the most watched science television series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over.

Season 48

21 Episodes

Nov 24 2021
Nov 17 2021
Nov 10 2021
Nov 03 2021
Oct 27 2021
From crunchy crickets to nutty fly grubs, NOVA takes a tasty look at insect foods and how they could benefit our health and our warming planet. From Thailand to Texas, insect farmers are showing how the tiny critters stack up as an environmentally friendly alternative to beef protein and can, pound for pound, deliver better nutritional value than the finest steak. But will Americans overcome the “ick” factor and share the appetite of many cultures around the world for insect feasts?
Oct 20 2021
Join scientists on the biggest Arctic research expedition of all time. Facing hungry polar bears, perilous sea ice cracks, and brutal cold, the team strives to understand the forces that are changing the region and the world forever.
Oct 13 2021
Outnumbering atoms a billion to one, neutrinos are the universe’s most common yet most elusive and baffling particle. NOVA joins an international team of neutrino hunters whose discoveries may change our understanding of how the universe works.
Oct 06 2021
As state-legalized cannabis spreads, NOVA investigates the latest scientific evidence for its potential benefits and risks, and how criminalization has disproportionately harmed communities of color.
Sep 29 2021
Bats have been implicated in deadly epidemics such as COVID-19 and Ebola, yet scientists are discovering evidence that they may hold a key to a longer and healthier life. From caves in Thailand and Texas to labs around the globe, NOVA meets the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat.
Sep 15 2021
Some five centuries ago, a major revolution overturned traditional ship design: in just a few years, ships were transformed from small coastal-bound transports into massive ocean-going vessels. Once regular trans-oceanic travel became feasible, everything changed. Powerful navies arose and fought for supremacy at sea, while the new ships enabled empire-building European powers to invade and colonize Indigenous lands and exploit their peoples. How did this transformative change in ship design come about? Scholars and historians have always faced a problem: few wrecks dating back to this crucial period survive, so rough drawings and incomplete records have been their only evidence. Now, a well-preserved wreck off the coast of Sweden dating back to the era of Columbus reveals new details about the engineering that changed the world. Dive with NOVA as we recover the sunken clues to this significant new discovery.
Jun 02 2021
Will electric planes replace polluting airliners and lead to flying taxis in our cities?
May 26 2021
80 years after the world’s largest airship ignited in a giant fireball, newly discovered footage sparks a reinvestigation of what exactly caused the Hindenburg disaster.
May 19 2021
Meet people struggling with infertility and the challenges of assisted reproduction.
May 12 2021
Coral reefs are not just beautiful, they are also home to over a quarter of all marine life and are crucial to human societies around the globe. But as the climate changes and oceanic heat waves become commonplace, corals are bleaching and reefs are dying off. Now, marine biologists from across the world are teaming up to counteract this catastrophe with a technique called assisted evolution. Follow scientists as they attempt to crossbreed heat-resistant corals, and even transplant corals’ algae, in a race to save the coral reefs from extinction.
Apr 21 2021
Apr 14 2021
NASA launches its most ambitious hunt for traces of life on Mars, landing a car-sized rover in a rocky, ancient river delta. The rover will stow samples for possible return to Earth and test technology that may pave the way for human travel to Mars.
Feb 24 2021
David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we’re all made of—literally.
Feb 17 2021
David Pogue explores the fantastic chemistry behind the everyday materials we depend on, and how the quest for durability can be balanced with products’ environmental impact.
Feb 10 2021
Host David Pogue dives into the transformative world of chemical reactions, from the complex formula that produces cement to the single reaction that’s allowed farmers to feed a global population by the billions—a reaction that when reversed, unleashes the powerful chemistry of high explosives.
Feb 03 2021
The value of DNA testing and the risks of entrusting this private data to commercial enterprises and online databases.
Jan 13 2021

Season 47

16 Episodes

When the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral erupted in flames in April of 2019, firefighters battled for nine grueling hours to save the historic landmark. Still, Paris came alarmingly close to losing more than 800 years of history. Now engineers are in a different race against time: to rebuild the roof and secure the medieval structure of Notre Dame. Underneath the charred scaffolding and vaulted ceilings of the cathedral, scientists study the components of Notre Dame’s iconic structure to puzzle out how best to repair it.
Nov 25 2020
As global temperatures continue to rise, scientists are wondering if we need solutions beyond reducing emissions. Enter geoengineering. From sucking carbon straight out of the air to physically blocking out sunlight, the options may seem far-fetched. But as time runs out on conventional solutions to climate change, scientists are asking the hard questions: Can geoengineering really work? How much would it cost? And what are the risks of engineering Earth's climate?
Oct 28 2020
If spacecraft OSIRIS-REx can grab a piece of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, scientists could gain great insight into our planet's origins, and even how to defend against rogue asteroids. But NASA only gets three shots at collecting a sample.
Oct 21 2020
For animals in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, the normal balance of competition and predation was upended when a war wiped out the top predators. The remaining animals didn’t simply grow in numbers—they began behaving in unusual ways, veering outside their typical territories and feeding patterns. Could it be that it’s not just predators’ kills that keep other populations in check, but also the fear they inspire? NOVA joins a team of scientists as they reintroduce wild dogs to Gorongosa to find out if restoring the park’s “landscape of fear” can restore balance to an entire ecosystem.
Oct 14 2020
Just as writing changed the course of human history, the evolution of paper and printing revolutionized the spread of information. The printing press kicked off the Industrial Revolution that fast-tracked us to the current digital age. But as the 4,000-year-old tradition of penmanship falls out of favor, should we consider what might be lost in this pursuit of ever more efficient communication?
Sep 30 2020
Writing shaped our world and the rise of human knowledge, from the trading of goods to tales of ancient goddesses and kings. Follow the evolution of the written word, from 4,000-year-old carvings in an Egyptian turquoise mine to modern-day alphabets.
Sep 23 2020
Who says you need brains to be smart? Extremely primitive life-forms called slime molds can navigate mazes, choose between foods, and create efficient networks—no brain required. New research on these organisms, which are neither plant nor animal, could help reveal the fundamental rules underlying all decision making.
Sep 16 2020
With an extraordinary new technology called CRISPR, we can now edit DNA—including human DNA. But how far should we go? Gene-editing promises to eliminate certain genetic disorders like sickle cell disease. But the applications quickly raise ethical questions. Is it wrong to engineer soldiers to feel no pain, or to resurrect an extinct species? And is there harm in allowing parents to choose their child’s features, like eye color or height? The scientists who pioneered human genome studies and CRISPR grapple with these questions.
Sep 09 2020
Eagles dominate the skies. But what makes these predators so special? Researchers study one special bird—and stunning up-close footage reveals her exceptional strength, eyesight, and flying skills. With intimate access to a new bald eagle family, NOVA takes you into the nest to witness the drama of chicks struggling to survive.
May 20 2020
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has upended life as we know it in a matter of mere months. But at the same time, an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus—and find a treatment for the disease it causes—is underway. Join the doctors on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as they strategize to stop the spread, and meet the researchers racing to develop treatments and vaccines. Along the way, discover how this devastating disease emerged, what it does to the human body, and why it exploded into a pandemic.
May 13 2020
The mysteries of fat and its role in hormone production, hunger and pregnancy.
Apr 08 2020
Cuban scientists develop their own biotech industry, including lung cancer vaccines that may give new hope to patients around the world.
Apr 01 2020
From fruit flies to whales, virtually every animal sleeps. But why? Why do we need to spend nearly a third of our lives in such a defenseless state? Scientists are peering more deeply into the sleeping brain than ever before, discovering just how powerful sleep can be, playing a role in everything from memory retention and emotional regulation to removing waste from our brains. So why are we getting so little of it?
Feb 26 2020
Cat Tales 47x03
Worshipped as a goddess, condemned as satanic, and spun into a stunning array of breeds, cats have long fascinated humans. But did we ever really domesticate them? And what can science tell us about our most mysterious companions?
Feb 19 2020
Dog Tales 47x02
Dogs have long been dependable companions by our sides. But it wasn’t always that way, and a look at their closest living relative, the wolf, makes it clear why. Research into dog domestication and intelligence offers clues into what the human-dog relationship is all about. And analyzing dogs’ brain activity and genes may even help answer the question of whether dogs are in it for the food—or if they really love us.
Feb 12 2020
In this two-hour special, renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson takes us on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet. Following a trail of strange fossils found in all the wrong places—beech trees in Antarctica, hippo-like mammals in the Arctic—Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. What caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what can the past reveal about our planet’s climate today—and in the future?
Feb 05 2020

Season 46

23 Episodes

How do you study giant armadillos when hardly anyone has ever seen one? Or figure out if a whale is losing weight—without getting too close? Camera and drone technologies are allowing scientists to watch animals more closely than ever before, without disturbing them. Scientists in India are using thousands of camera trap photos to track tigers' movements. In Canada, caribou outfitted with collar cams show conservationists which habitats they rely on throughout the winter. Capturing everything from the unexpected to the comical, these technologies are giving wildlife managers insights that could ultimately help them fight extinction and habitat loss.
Nov 27 2019
Violence is all over the news. But some say we’re living in the most peaceful time in history. Journey through time and the human mind to investigate whether—and how—violence has declined. And witness how people are working to stop violence today.
Nov 20 2019
Discover the science behind Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces—and Mona Lisa's iconic smile.
Nov 13 2019
New technologies unravel the Dead Sea Scrolls’ mysteries and uncover million-dollar fakes.
Nov 06 2019
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs in a fiery global catastrophe. But we know little about how their successors, the mammals, recovered and took over the world. Now, hidden inside ordinary-looking rocks, an astonishing trove of fossils reveals a dramatic new picture of how rat-sized creatures ballooned in size and began to evolve into the vast array of species
Oct 30 2019
As self-driving cars take to the streets, investigate how they work, and if they are safe.
Oct 23 2019
In 2018, Italy’s Morandi Bridge collapsed, tragically killing 43 people. For 50 years, the iconic bridge had withstood the elements—and stress from ever-increasing traffic. What went wrong that fateful day? And how can new engineering technology protect bridge infrastructure to prevent such tragic failures in the future?
Oct 16 2019
Beyond the bizarre, icy worlds of Uranus and Neptune, Pluto dazzles with its mysterious ocean.
Aug 14 2019
Nasa's Cassini reveals the mysteries of Saturn's rings and new hope for life on one of its moons.
Aug 07 2019
Jupiter's massive gravitational force has made it both a wrecking ball and a protector of Earth.
Jul 31 2019
Before it was the dry Red Planet, Mars was a wet world that may have had the ingredients for life.
Jul 24 2019
The rocky planets have similar origins, but only one supports life. Was it always this way?
Jul 24 2019
Fifty years after humans first stepped foot on the moon, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs engage in new discoveries to make life on the moon a reality.
Jul 10 2019
Bioarchaeologists investigate a ninth-century mass grave in a rural English village. Will the remains unlock the mystery of the “Great Heathen Army,” a legendary Viking fighting force that once invaded England?
May 22 2019
Horse riding played a key role in human expansion and civilization. Scientists use archeology and genetics to uncover clues about the first horse riders and how they shaped the world.
May 15 2019
From the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 fire season. Scientists racing to understand what’s behind the rise of record-breaking megafires across the American West take to the forest, and even a fire lab, in search of answers. They investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades.
May 08 2019
The Dead Sea is dying: Since 1976, its level has dropped more than 100 feet, leaving its coastline pockmarked with thousands of sinkholes. But after more than a decade of research and debate, scientists, engineers, and political leaders have come up with a daring plan: connect the Red Sea to the Dead Sea by way of a massive desalination plant. If it’s successful, the project could not only revive the sea, but also help ease political tensions and water shortages in the region. NOVA follows this unprecedented endeavor—perhaps the world’s largest water chemistry experiment—as scientists race to save the Dead Sea and bring water to one of the driest regions on Earth.
Apr 24 2019
In the shadow of Vesuvius and Pompeii, a lesser-known volcano puts the city of Naples at risk.
Feb 20 2019
With new technologies, NASA and private companies are promising a new renaissance in space travel.
Feb 13 2019
New archeological evidence sheds light on the stunning engineering of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Feb 06 2019
Journey to Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which sent rivers of lava through communities and into the sea when it erupted in 2018. A group of scientists and locals investigate the spike in volcano activity that turned paradise into an inferno.
Jan 23 2019
Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance,” but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology from computers to cryptography. Physicists have gradually become convinced that the phenomenon—two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance—is real.
Jan 09 2019
Since it explored Pluto in 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft has been zooming toward NASA’s most distant target yet. Join the mission team as the probe attempts to fly by Ultima Thule, an object 4 billion miles from Earth.
Jan 02 2019

Season 45

17 Episodes

Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The U.S. space program suffered a bitter setback when Apollo 1 ended in a deadly fire during a pre-launch run-through. In disarray, and threatened by the prospect of a Soviet Union victory in the space race, NASA decided upon a radical and risky change of plan: turn Apollo 8 from an earth-orbit mission into a daring sprint to the moon while relying on untried new technologies. Fifty years after the historic mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers recount the feats of engineering that paved the way to the moon.
Dec 26 2018
Peregrine falcons are examined in order to learn how they achieve such incredible speed.
Nov 21 2018
In July 2018, the world held its breath as an international team of cave divers endeavored to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach stranded deep in a flooded cave in Thailand. Follow the harrowing operation and discover the scientific ingenuity that made the rescue possible. Hear how rescuers explored every option—from pumping water, to drilling a new exit, to ultimately cave diving with the children through the treacherous, flooded passages.
Nov 14 2018
Last B-24 45x14
Underwater archaeologists and technical divers excavate the wreckage of the B-24 Liberator bomber Tulsamerican in hopes of finding out what happened to the three airmen who went missing when the plane crashed off the coast of Croatia in 1944.
Nov 07 2018
NOVA takes you inside the historic international race to develop the first supersonic airliner, the Concorde. Hear stories from those inside the choreographed effort to design and build Concorde in two countries at once—and the crew members who flew her. Then, follow Concorde’s legacy to a new generation of innovators reviving the dream of supersonic passenger travel today.
Oct 24 2018
Addiction 45x12
Hear firsthand from individuals struggling with addiction and follow the cutting-edge work of doctors and scientists as they investigate why addiction is not a moral failing, but a chronic, treatable medical condition. Easy access to drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and even prescription medications like OxyContin has fueled an epidemic of addiction—the deadliest in U.S. history.
Oct 17 2018
Explore Nyamuragira, one of the world’s most active and mysterious volcanoes in Africa. Decades of civil strife have prevented scientists from investigating the volcano, but a brief pause allows an international team of experts to fly by helicopter to the summit to investigate. Discover the volcano’s hidden dangers and probe whether magma pressure is building up to threaten another eruption.
Oct 10 2018
Climb with volcano experts to the summit of Nyiragongo, a highly active volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Twice in recent memory it has erupted, devastating Goma, a neighboring city of 1 million people. To investigate when it might erupt next, scientists climb into its crater toward a bubbling lava lake to deploy sensors and monitor the volcano’s activity.
Oct 10 2018
Follow the race to rebuild the Old Blenheim Bridge in New York State, an icon of 19th century American engineering, destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Watch a team of elite craftsmen faithfully reproduce the massive, intricate wooden structure under grueling time pressure as flooding threatens their worksite. In China, witness craftsmen restoring thousand-year-old covered bridges based on ingenious frameworks of woven timber beams. Discover how Chinese artisans are keeping traditional skills alive to ensure the survival of these stunning ancient structures.
Oct 03 2018
The experience of organ donation, including patients who need transplants and families who make the choice to donate organs of deceased family members; the critical shortage of organs; research into "organs by design."
Sep 26 2018
In just one devastating month, Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean were changed forever. In summer 2017, three monster hurricanes swept in from the Atlantic one after another, shattering storm records and killing hundreds of people. First, Harvey brought catastrophic rain and flooding to Houston, causing $125 billion in damage. Less than two weeks later, Irma lashed the Caribbean with 185 mile per hour winds - and left the island of Barbuda uninhabitable. Hot on Irma's heels, Maria intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in just 15 hours, then ravaged Puerto Rico and left millions of people without power. As the planet warms, are these superstorms the new normal? How well can we predict them? And with hurricane season just around the corner, does the U.S. need to prepare for the reality of climate refugees? NOVA takes you inside the 2017 superstorms and the cutting-edge research that will determine how well equipped we are to deal with hurricanes in the future.
Jun 27 2018
Disastrous hurricanes. Widespread droughts and wildfires. Withering heat. Extreme rainfall. It is hard not to conclude that something’s up with the weather, and many scientists agree. It’s the result of the weather machine itself—our climate—changing, becoming hotter and more erratic. In this two-hour documentary, NOVA will cut through the confusion around climate change. Why do scientists overwhelmingly agree that our climate is changing, and that human activity is causing it? How and when will it affect us through the weather we experience? And what will it take to bend the trajectory of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the world on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how we can be resilient—even thrive—in the face of enormous change.
Apr 18 2018
Predictions underlie nearly every aspect of our lives, from sports, politics, and medical decisions to the morning commute. With the explosion of digital technology, the internet, and “big data,” the science of forecasting is flourishing. But why do some predictions succeed spectacularly while others fail abysmally? And how can we find meaningful patterns amidst chaos and uncertainty? From the glitz of casinos and TV game shows to the life-and-death stakes of storm forecasts and the flaws of opinion polls that can swing an election, “Prediction by the Numbers” explores stories of statistics in action. Yet advances in machine learning and big data models that increasingly rule our lives are also posing big, disturbing questions. How much should we trust predictions made by algorithms when we don’t understand how they arrive at them? And how far ahead can we really forecast?
Feb 28 2018
As France fell to the German armies in May 1940, 300,000 Allied troops were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Their annihilation seemed certain - a disaster that could have led to Britain's surrender. But then, in a last-minute rescue dramatized in Christopher Nolan's recent film, Royal Navy ships and a flotilla of tiny civilian boats evacuated hundreds of thousands of soldiers to safety across the Channel - the legendary "miracle of Dunkirk." Now, NOVA follows a team of archaeologists, historians, and divers as they recover the remains of ships, planes, and personal effects lost during the epic operation. With access to previously classified files recently released by the UK government, they also uncover the truth behind the myths of Dunkirk - notably, a claim that the Royal Air Force failed to protect the stranded men from the Luftwaffe's constant bombing of the beaches. Featuring an exclusive excavation of a newly-found Spitfire wreck, NOVA debunks the myth and highlights the essential role that the RAF's iconic fighter played in reversing the desperate stakes that played out in the air above the beleaguered men.
Feb 14 2018
The remains of a 13,000-year-old skeleton of a prehistoric teenager are located in an underwater cave in Mexico. One unlucky day 13,000 years ago, a slight, malnourished teenager missed her footing and tumbled to the bottom of a 100-foot pit deep inside a cave in Mexico’s Yucatán. Rising seas flooded the cave and cut it off from the outside world—until a team of divers chanced upon her nearly complete skeleton in 2007. Intricate detective work reveals that the young woman’s bones are among the earliest known human remains in the Americas. What drove her to venture nearly a mile underground inside a vast cave? Where did her people come from, and why does she look so distinct from today’s Native Americans? From a stunning Mexico cave to the wilderness of the Yukon, from the genetics lab to the forefront of forensics, NOVA pursues tantalizing new clues that are rewriting the story of the forgotten first people who ventured into our continent.
Feb 07 2018
For the first time, two intrepid pilots fly a solar-powered airplane around the world.
Jan 31 2018
Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the most powerful, with gravity so strong it can trap light. And they’re destructive, swallowing entire planets, even giant stars. Anything that falls into them vanishes…gone forever. Now, astrophysicists are realizing that black holes may be essential to how our universe evolved—their influence possibly leading to life on Earth and, ultimately, us. In this two-hour special, astrophysicist and author Janna Levin takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of black hole science. Along the way, we meet leading astronomers and physicists on the verge of finding new answers to provocative questions about these shadowy monsters: Where do they come from? What’s inside? What happens if you fall into one? And what can they tell us about the nature of space, time, and gravity?
Jan 10 2018

Season 44

21 Episodes

Scientists discover new clues as to the catastrophe that ended the reign of the dinosaurs on Earth.
Dec 27 2017
Scientists test avian aptitude with brainteasers that reveal acute intelligence.
Dec 20 2017
Why some animals have extreme armaments, including claws, horns, fangs and stings.
Nov 22 2017
Efforts to uncover the geologic footprints of colossal megafloods in Iceland and on the seabed of the English Channel.
Nov 08 2017
Researching the Great Hurricane of 1780, which blasted its way across the Caribbean, why it was so dangerous and the potential for more mega-storms in the future.
Nov 01 2017
The hunt for a volcanic mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze includes geologic evidence from Greenland to Antarctica.
Oct 25 2017
The architectural design of Beijing's ancient complex of palaces and temples enabled it to survive centuries of earthquake shocks.
Oct 18 2017
Archaeological digs reveal new clues as to who built Stonehenge and why.
Oct 11 2017
A re-engineering of Greenwich armor to get a sense of what it was like to be a knight and how the armor was manufactured in medieval times.
Oct 04 2017
The Cassini space probe attempts to dive between the innermost ring and top of Saturn's atmosphere.
Sep 13 2017
The history of eclipse science and research into the solar corona.
Aug 21 2017
The water crisis in Flint, Mich., brings awareness to the vulnerabilities of water systems across the U.S.
May 31 2017
Design secrets that made chariots a war machine for hundreds of years; how they were used and how they helped unify China.
May 17 2017
Engineers build a dome to contain the crumbling remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Apr 26 2017
Archaeologists discover a tunnel near Vilnius, Lithuania, which served as an escape route for Jews fleeing the Nazis during World War II.
Apr 19 2017
Investigators study wreckage of train accidents; safety experts test crash prevention designs.
Feb 22 2017
The art of origami reshapes the world, affecting drug development and future NASA space missions.
Feb 15 2017
Shipbuilders in Italy work around the clock to build the Seven Seas Explorer, the world's largest and most luxurious cruise ship.
Feb 08 2017
David Pogue investigates how batteries work and what the future may hold for technical innovation.
Feb 01 2017
Scientists and engineers work to control a nuclear renaissance five years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Jan 11 2017
The towering Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that humanity settled. Scaling sheer cliff sides, a team of daring scientists hunts for clues to how ancient people found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted to survive the high altitude. They discover rock-cut tombs filled with human bones and enigmatic artifacts, including gold masks and Chinese silk dating back thousands of years, and piece together evidence of strange rituals and beliefs designed to ward off the restless spirits of the dead.
Jan 04 2017

Season 43

20 Episodes

Drill down to discover how Earth's natural treasures provide bountiful energy to power our modern world yet are also driving us to seek new, cleaner alternatives that can help us keep the lights on.
Nov 16 2016
Gold, bronze, iron, steel... metals are pillars of our civilization, but what makes them so special? Discover their unique properties and explore how our mastery of metals has led us from the stone age to today's hi-tech world.
Nov 09 2016
Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, opal and jade are the ultimate treasures. Delve into Earth's depths to discover how these precious stones are forged and what explains the unique allure of each captivating gemstone.
Nov 02 2016
Join engineers as they build a massive new railway deep beneath the streets of London.
Oct 12 2016
Follow our ancient ancestors’ footsteps out of Africa and into every corner of our planet.
Oct 05 2016
How the science of learning may change education for all children.
Sep 14 2016
From 9/11 to today’s crowd-sourced violence, trace how terrorists’ strategies have evolved.
Sep 07 2016
Engineers and World War II historians investigate Hitler's fearsome bank of "superguns."
May 11 2016
Engineers race to rescue the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard from the ocean's erosion.
May 04 2016
Wild Ways 43x11
Explore how newly established wildlife corridors offer hope to endangered species.
Apr 20 2016
Alzheimer's ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide. Join scientists as they untangle the cause of this tragic illness and go behind the scenes of major drug trials to discover the therapies that may slow and even prevent the disease.
Apr 13 2016
Uncover the truth behind the legendary Vikings and their epic journey to the Americas.
Apr 06 2016
Machines are everywhere. They run our factory assembly lines and make our coffee. But humanoid robots—machines with human-like capabilities—have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until now. Fueled by an ambitious DARPA challenge, the race is on to design a robot that can replace humans in disaster relief situations. Follow the robots and the engineers that program them as they strive to make their way out of the lab and into the real world. But how capable are they, really? How close are we to a future where humanoid robots are part of our everyday lives? And what will the future look like with robots that can do a human’s job? NOVA investigates the cutting-edge technologies that are advancing robotics—and the enormous challenges that robots still face.
Feb 24 2016
He was stalked, attacked and left to die alone. Murdered more than 5,000 years ago, Otzi the Iceman is Europe’s oldest known natural mummy. Miraculously preserved in glacial ice, his remarkably intact remains continue to provide scientists, historians, and archeologists with groundbreaking discoveries about a crucial time in human history. But in order to protect him from contamination, this extraordinary body has been locked away, out of reach, in a frozen crypt—until now. NOVA joins renowned artist and paleo-sculptor Gary Staab as he has been granted rare access into the Iceman’s frozen lair. Gary has been charged with creating an exact replica of the mummy, which scientists and the public alike can then study up close and in person. As we see the Iceman reborn from 3D printing, resin, clay and paint, new revelations about Otzi’s life and legacy come to light, including surprising secrets hidden in his genetic code.
Feb 17 2016
Memory is the glue that binds our mental lives. Without it, we’d be prisoners of the present, unable to use the lessons of the past to change our future. From our first kiss to where we put our keys, memory represents who we are and how we learn and navigate the world. But how does it work? Neuroscientists using cutting-edge techniques are exploring the precise molecular mechanisms of memory. By studying a range of individuals ranging—from an 11-year-old whiz-kid who remembers every detail of his life to a woman who had memories implanted—scientists have uncovered a provocative idea. For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays intact. But now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories. The question is—are we ready?
Feb 10 2016
On a summer’s night, there’s nothing more magic than watching the soft glow of fireflies switching on and off. Few other life forms on land can light up the night, but in the dark depths of the oceans, it’s a different story: nearly 90% of all species shine from within. Whether it’s to scare off predators, fish for prey, or lure a mate, the language of light is everywhere in the ocean depths, and scientists are finally starting to decode it. NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to this hidden undersea world where most creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer, or simply glow. Join deep sea scientists who investigate these stunning displays and discover surprising ways to harness nature’s light—from tracking cancer cells to detecting pollution, lighting up cities, and even illuminating the inner workings of our brains.
Feb 03 2016
On April 25, 2015, a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. As it ripped across the Himalayas, it wiped out villages and left thousands dead. Hear the harrowing stories of the Nepalese people who lived near the epicenter and of survivors trapped on Everest. Through dramatic eyewitness footage, expert interviews, and stunning graphics, NOVA reveals the anatomy of this megaquake while scientists race to answer urgent questions—Is another big one just around the corner? What can we learn from the deadly combination of earthquakes and landslides? And can we rebuild to survive the next big one?
Jan 27 2016
Tiny, transparent, and threatened, krill are crucial to the Antarctic ecosystem. But the population of krill is crashing for reasons that continue to baffle the experts. A leading theory says that krill’s life cycle is driven by an internal body clock that responds to the waxing and waning of the Antarctic ice pack, and as climate change alters the timing of the ice pack, their life cycle is disrupted. To test it, NOVA travels on the Polarstern, a state-of-the-art research vessel, to the frigid ice pack in the dead of winter. From camps established on the ice, scientists dive beneath the surface in search of the ice caves that shelter juvenile krill during the winter. There, they hope to discover what’s causing the krill to vanish and, ultimately, how the shifting seasons caused by climate change could disrupt ecosystems around the world.
Jan 20 2016
Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place—a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? NOVA joins mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It's a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.
Jan 13 2016
During World War I, the Allies and Germans repeatedly struggled to break the hideous stalemate of trench warfare. In the winter of 1916, Allied engineers devised a massive surprise attack: over 1 million pounds of explosives hidden in secret tunnels driven under German lines. Building the tunnels was desperate work, with tunnelers at constant risk from flooding, cave-ins, and enemy digging teams. In June of 1917, the planted mines at Messines were simultaneously triggered, killing an estimated 10,000 German troops instantly. Now, archaeologists are revealing the extraordinary scale and risks of the Allied tunneling operations in one of the biggest excavations ever undertaken on the Western Front. “Secret Tunnel Warfare” opens a unique window on the frenzy of Allied mining activity that led up to the attack and its bitter aftermath.
Jan 06 2016

Season 42

21 Episodes

On November 25th, 1915, Einstein published his greatest work: general relativity. The theory transformed our understanding of nature’s laws and the entire history of the cosmos, reaching back to the origin of time itself. Now, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s achievement, NOVA tells the inside story of Einstein’s masterpiece. The story begins with the intuitive thought experiments that set Einstein off on his quest and traces the revolution in cosmology that is still playing out in today’s labs and observatories. Discover the simple but powerful ideas at the heart of relativity, illuminating the theory—and Einstein’s brilliance—as never before. From the first spark of an idea to the discovery of the expanding universe, the Big Bang, black holes, and dark energy, NOVA uncovers the inspired insights and brilliant breakthroughs of “the perfect theory.”
Nov 25 2015
Explore the intimate connections between the landscape, the colonizing of the continent, and the emergence of our industrial world. Beginning with Native American ancestors who crafted hunting weapons from stone traded across hundreds of miles, the program shows how pre-Columbian civilizations developed an expert knowledge of the landscape and its resources. With the arrival of Europeans, North America’s hidden riches became to key to prosperity, from the gold rush to today’s oil and gas boom. As a result, human activity has transformed the continent on a scale that rivals the geological forces that gave birth to it billions of years before. Yet, scientists warn of sleeping giants like the Cascadia fault, and the earthquake/tsunami one-two punch it could unleash on the Pacific Northwest. Even as we re-mold the continent to suit our needs, geologic processes inexorably continue, and they raise potential risks of catastrophe to our human civilization.
Nov 18 2015
How did life emerge on our primeval continent? Why was North America home to so many iconic dinosaurs like T. rex? And how did a huge sea filled with giant marine reptiles end up covering Kansas? We tell the surprising intertwined story of life and the landscape in North America.
Nov 11 2015
The epic 3 billion-year story of how our continent came to be. From the palm trees that once flourished in Alaska to titanic eruptions that nearly tore the Midwest in two, discover how forces of almost unimaginable power gave birth to North America.
Nov 04 2015
NOVA joins a team of leading Egyptologists who deploy the latest medical imaging to peer beneath the wrappings of Egyptian mummified beasts without damaging the animal bodies inside. The results are enlightening, often surprising insights into the weird beliefs and practices that clung to the Egyptian quest for immortality.
Oct 28 2015
NOVA examines the science and technology behind cyber warfare and asks if we are already in the midst of a deadly new arms race.
Oct 14 2015
A team of historians and expert boat builders investigates the fascinating Noah's Ark flood legend and sets out to rebuild a tantalizing, ancient forerunner of the Ark.
Oct 07 2015
The Franklin Expedition is explored 160 years after vanishing while charting the Northwest Passage.
Sep 23 2015
Deep in a South African cave, an astounding discovery reveals clues to what made us human.
Sep 16 2015
NOVA reveals the minute-by-minute story of the Fukushima nuclear crisis—the one you know about, and the one you likely don’t: the perilously close call at the other Fukushima nuclear power plant a few miles away from the meltdowns. With unprecedented access inside both Fukushima nuclear power plants, NOVA speaks with workers who were there during the harrowing days—a crisis that began as a natural a disaster but was made worse by human beings. But why did the worst happen at one plant while another that faced nearly identical challenges emerged unscathed? It may come down to the skill and knowledge of one man, who has worked there since they started construction. These are crucial questions as the company that runs both plants, TEPCO, tries to clean up an unprecedented radioactive mess and seeks to reopen the plant that was just barely saved.
Jul 29 2015
On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, one of the most advanced ever built, is scheduled to fly by Pluto to take the very first detailed images of the dwarf planet. After nine years and 3 billion miles, we will finally get a close look at this strange, icy world, but only if the craft can survive the final, treacherous leg of its journey, which could take it through a dangerous field of debris. If it does, New Horizons is poised to make dramatic new discoveries, not just about Pluto, but about the vast realm of icy bodies lurking beyond Neptune, relics of the earliest days of the solar system’s formation. Back on Earth, the planetary scientists who have spent decades working on this mission anxiously await a signal from their spacecraft. Our cameras will be there to witness the moment. If all goes well, we’ll see Pluto’s mysterious surface in unprecedented detail and learn new secrets about other alien worlds at the far limits of our solar system.
Jul 15 2015
A unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea shows what the future may hold as oceans acidify
May 13 2015
A sunken German U-boat off the coast of New Orleans tells the story of Operation Drumbeat
May 06 2015
Follow the historic rescue of Hubble—the space telescope that unveiled the cosmos.
Apr 22 2015
Join NOVA on a mathematical mystery tour—a provocative exploration of math's astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math's signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond. It all leads to the ultimate riddle: Is math a human invention or the discovery of the language of the universe?
Apr 15 2015
Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its saring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world—the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its dome with room to spare. How has it survived its location on one of the world’s most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since it was built in 537? As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is urgently investigating Hagia Sophia’s seismic secrets. Follow engineers as they build a massive 8-ton model of the building’s core structure, place it on a motorized shake table, and hit it with a series of simulated quakes, pushing it collapse—a fate that the team is determined to avoid with the real building.
Feb 25 2015
More than 2,000 years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants whose camel caravans transported incense and spices from the Arabian Gulf. They carved spectacular temple-tombs into its soaring cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple at its heart, and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains, and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra's unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly a thousand years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone. Meanwhile, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes uncover the vast city and its sophisticated water system. The race is on to discover how these nomads created this oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on Earth.
Feb 18 2015
One of the ancient world's most iconic buildings, the Colosseum is a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Its graceful lines and harmonious proportions concealed a highly efficient design and advanced construction methods that made hundreds of arches out of 100,000 tons of stone. In its elliptical arena, tens of thousands of gladiators, slaves, prisoners, and wild animals met their deaths. Ancient texts report lions and elephants emerging from beneath the floor, as if by magic, to ravage gladiators and people condemned to death. Then, just as quickly, the Colosseum could be flooded with so much water that ships could engage in sea battles to the delight of the crowd. Now, archaeologists and engineers are teaming up to recreate a 25-foot lifting machine and trap door system capable of releasing a wolf into the Colosseum's arena for the first time in 1,500 years. Do they have what it takes to replicate the innovation and ingenuity of the Romans?
Feb 11 2015
A look at one of the most destructive natural phenomena known to man. All over the world sinkholes are causing chaos and destruction wherever they appear: swallowing up whole streets, ripping up motorways, destroying entire forests and even dragging unfortunate bystanders to their untimely deaths.
Jan 28 2015
Efforts to secure, raise and salvage the Costa Concordia cruise ship which capsized off the Italian coast on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 people.
Jan 21 2015
CERN scientists prepare to restart the Large Hadron Collider to examine the world's tiniest particles.
Jan 14 2015

Season 41

23 Episodes

Everyone knows Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon. But this modest and unassuming man was determined to stay out of the spotlight. NOVA presents an intimate portrait of Armstrong through interviews with his family and friends, many of whom have never spoken publicly before. Discover and relive his achievements before and after Apollo, from his time as a Navy combat veteran and later as a pioneer of high-speed flight to his leading role in the inquiry into the Challenger disaster and his efforts to encourage young people to take to the skies.
Dec 03 2014
Just before 11 a.m. on March 22, 2014, an ominous rumble startled the residents of the little town of Oso, Washington, about an hour’s drive from Seattle. It was the terrifying sound of the United States’ deadliest landslide in decades. In less than two minutes, a 250 acre field of debris 20 feet deep slammed into a neighborhood of 35 homes. In the wake of the tragedy, geomorphologists are tracing the geological history of Oso to explain why the site was so unstable. But Oso isn't alone. Globally, landslides and other ground failures cost more lives and money each year than all other natural disasters combined. The threat of bigger, more frequent landslides is growing as climate change increases intense precipitation events. As NOVA follows scientists surveying landslide danger zones, discover how and why landslides happen and how new laser monitoring technologies may help predict landslides before disaster strikes.
Nov 19 2014
In central China, a vast underground mausoleum conceals a life-size terracotta army of cavalry, infantry, horses, chariots, weapons, administrators, acrobats, and musicians, all built to serve China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, in the afterlife. Lost and forgotten for over 2,200 years, this clay army, 8,000-strong, stands poised to help the First Emperor rule again beyond the grave. Now, a new archaeological campaign is probing the thousands of figures entombed in the mausoleum. With exclusive access to pioneering research, "Emperor's Ghost Army" reveals how the Emperor directed the manufacture of the tens of thousands of bronze weapons carried by the clay soldiers. NOVA tests the power of these weapons with high-action experiments and reports on revolutionary 3D computer modeling techniques that are revealing new insights into how the clay figures were made, revealing in the process the secrets of one of archaeology's greatest discoveries.
Nov 12 2014
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to roam the Earth: spectacular fossil bones from a dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus. But the fossils were completely destroyed during a World War II Allied bombing raid, leaving only drawings, questions, and a mystery: What was Spinosaurus? Now, the discovery of new bones in a Moroccan cliff face is reopening the investigation into this epic beast. What did it feed on and how? Why did it grow so big? We follow the paleontologists who are reconstructing this terrifying carnivore, revealing a 53-foot-long behemoth with a huge dorsal sail, enormous, scimitar-like claws, and massive jaws tapered toward the front like a crocodile. Bringing together experts in paleontology, geology, climatology and paleobotany, this NOVA/National Geographic special brings to life the lost world over which Spinosaurus reigned more than 65 million years ago.
Nov 05 2014
When World War I began in 1914, the air forces of the opposing nations consisted of handfuls of rickety biplanes from which pilots occasionally took pot shots at one another with rifles. By the war’s end, the essential blueprint of the modern fighter had emerged: it was now an efficient killing machine that limited the average life expectancy of a front line pilot to just a few weeks. To trace the story of this astonishingly rapid technological revolution, NOVA takes viewers inside The Vintage Aviator, a New Zealand-based outfit of aviation buffs dedicated to bringing back classic World War I fighters such as the SE5A and Albatros DV. NOVA joins the team as they discover the secrets of some of aviation’s most colorful and deadly early flying machines and explores how their impact played a key role in the nightmare slaughter on the Western Front.
Oct 29 2014
The first stage in human flight didn’t begin with the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, but with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th century Paris. In a period of just 19 months, humanity not only left the ground for the first time—a moment as significant as the Apollo moon landing—but thanks to a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers, developed all the essential features of today's hot air and gas balloons. Their exploits fascinated Benjamin Franklin, who was serving in Paris as the American ambassador. He reported that these early flights brought tens of thousands of citizens into the streets to watch the spectacle. To explore this burst of innovation, NOVA recreates key flights, including the world’s first manned voyage that took place on November 21, 1783. Joining the team will be a descendant of the Montgolfier brothers, inventors of the hot-air balloon, who will build an accurate replica of the fragile paper and canvas craft using 18th century tools and materials. NOVA reveals the secrets of how the Montgolfiers invented flight and relives the experiences of the balloon pioneers who left Earth for the first time.
Oct 22 2014
In December, 2013, in a small village in West Africa, a young boy died from the dreaded disease, Ebola. Over the next nine months the virulent killer would claim more victims than all previous Ebola epidemics put together. And for the first time, the disease escaped the isolated, rural villages where it had first appeared and traveled in infected patients by air to densely populated cities in several African countries. As the epidemic threatens to spiral out of control, NOVA reports from the hot zone, where courageous medical teams struggle to cope with a flood of victims, and in labs where scientists are racing to test vaccines and find a cure. "Surviving Ebola" includes chilling first-hand interviews of what it’s like to catch—and—survive this terrible affliction.
Oct 08 2014
The disappearance of Flight MH370 stunned the world. In an era of smart-phones and GPS, how could a 270-ton passenger jet vanish into thin air? It was a rude awakening for all of us, showing just how far we are from the world we imagined we lived in—in which every move is monitored all the time. NOVA tells the inside story of the search for Flight MH370 and meets the key players from all corners of the globe who have spent months searching for the lost plane. In the search for answers, we'll reveal how today's planes must fly through vast radar "blind spots," and investigate new technologies that could allow ground stations and satellites to track planes automatically, without pilot intervention, even in remote areas with no radar coverage. What will it take to guarantee that in the future, nothing will ever be 'lost' again?
Oct 08 2014
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank, and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious—and cybercriminals want it. Now, NOVA goes behind the scenes of the fast-paced world of cryptography to meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe. They are experts in extreme physics, math, and a new field called "ultra-paranoid computing," all working to forge unbreakable codes and build ultra-fast computers. From the sleuths who decoded the world's most advanced cyber weapon to scientists who believe they can store a password in your unconscious brain, NOVA investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science—all to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
Sep 24 2014
Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. NOVA’s “Vaccines—Calling the Shots" takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.
Sep 10 2014
On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched the biggest armada in history to invade the Normandy beaches and liberate Europe from the Nazis. In less than 24 hours, more than 5,000 ships crossed the English Channel, along with thousands of tanks and landing craft and nearly 200,000 men. Throughout the operation, hundreds of ships sank running the gauntlet of mines and bunkers, creating one of the world's largest underwater archaeological sites. Now, NOVA has exclusive access to a unique collaboration between military historians, archaeologists, and specialist divers to carry out the most extensive survey ever done of the seabed bordering the legendary beachheads. Dive teams, submersibles, and underwater robots will discover and identify key examples of Allied craft that fell victim to German shellfire, mines, and torpedoes, using the latest 3D-mapping tools to plot the relics on the sea floor. Highlighting the ingenious technology that helped the Allies overcome the German defenses, and featuring first-hand accounts from Allied veterans who have returned to the site of this epic battle to share their harrowing stories, "D-Day's Sunken Secrets" unfolds a vivid blow-by-blow account of the tumultuous events of D-Day and reveals how the Allies' intricate planning and advanced technology assured the success of the most ambitious and risky military operation ever launched.
May 28 2014
Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in the dark days at the end of World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up the ultimate escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. Their plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test. Now a crack team of aero engineers and carpenters rebuild the glider in the same attic using the same materials, and they’ll do something the prisoners never got a chance to try: use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof of the castle. As the hair-raising launch 90 feet up draws near, the program explores the Colditz legend and exposes the secrets of other ingenious and audacious escapes. Then, after a 70-year wait, the team finally finds out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.
May 14 2014
In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia, resulting in five deaths in ten months. At the same time, great white sharks have begun appearing in growing numbers off the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not far from the waters where Steven Spielberg filmed the ultimate shark fright film, Jaws. What's behind the mysterious arrival of this apex predator in an area where they've rarely been seen for hundreds of years? Are deadly encounters with tourists inevitable? To separate fact from fear, NOVA teams up with leading shark experts in Australia and the United States to discover the science behind the great white's hunting instincts. Do sharks ever target humans, or is each attack a tragic case of mistaken identity? And can a deeper understanding of shark senses lead scientists to design effective deterrents and help prevent future attacks?
May 07 2014
On Inside Animal Minds’ third and final installment, “Who’s the Smartest?”, we ask “What makes an animal smart?”. Many scientists believe the secret lies in relationships. Throughout the animal kingdom, some of the cleverest creatures — including humans — seem to be those who live in complex social groups, like dolphins, elephants and apes. Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter? To find out, NOVA goes inside the social lives of some of the smartest animals on the planet.
Apr 23 2014
On Inside Animal Minds’ second installment, “Dogs & Super Senses”, see everything from a dog that seems to use smell to tell time to a dolphin that can “see” with its ears, discover how animals use their senses in ways we humans can barely imagine. But it’s not just the senses that are remarkable -- it’s the brains that process them.
Apr 16 2014
Inside Animal Minds explores how animals understand the world around them through the eyes of three iconic creatures: dogs, birds, and dolphins. As we discover how scientists are pushing the animal mind to its limits, we’ll uncover surprising similarities to--and differences from--the human mind. In the first installment, “Bird Genius”, we’ll meet a cockatoo with a talent for picking locks; a wild crow on a mission to solve an eight-step puzzle; and a tame raven who can solve a puzzle box so quickly that his performance has to be captured with high-speed photography. Are these skills really evidence of high intelligence or just parlor tricks, the result of training and instinct?
Apr 09 2014
Over the last few centuries we have shot, trapped, and skinned the predators that formerly thrived at the top of the food chain in the wild. Wild bears, wolves, and big cats are all in retreat, and a growing number of scientists are discovering that by eliminating predators, we have changed the environment. Removing predators from the wild has thrown ecosystems off-kilter, triggering domino effects that scientists are just beginning to understand. In "Wild Predator Invasion," NOVA follows scientists who are trying a simple but controversial solution: returning apex predators—like wolves, bears, and panthers—to their natural environments. Can these newly reintroduced predators restore the natural balance of their ecosystems without threatening the humans who live among them?
Apr 02 2014
It was the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, whipping the low-lying and densely-populated islands with 200 mph winds and sending a two-story-high storm surge flooding into homes, schools, and hospitals. It wiped villages off the map and devastated cities, including the hard-hit provincial capital Tacloban. Estimates count more than 5,000 dead and millions homeless. What made Haiyan so destructive? Meteorologists charged with tracking Pacific storms reveal why the Pacific is such fertile ground for cyclones, and NOVA’s film crew documents how conditions dramatically deteriorated in the storm’s aftermath, as impassable roads and shuttered gas stations paralyzed the critical relief effort, leaving food, water, and medicine to pile up at the airport. Disaster preparedness experts scramble to understand why the Philippines was so vulnerable. As climate change and sea level rise threaten millions of the world’s most impoverished people with stronger, and perhaps more frequent, storms, how can we prepare for the next monster typhoon?
Jan 22 2014
The dome that crowns Florence’s great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore—the Duomo—is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth after more than six centuries, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as an average cruise ship. Historians and engineers have long debated how its secretive architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, managed to keep the dome perfectly aligned and symmetrical as the sides rose and converged toward the center, 40 stories above the cathedral floor. His laborers toiled without scaffolding or safety net, applying novel, untried methods. Over 4 million bricks might collapse at any moment—and we still don’t understand how Brunelleschi prevented it. To test the latest theories, a team of U.S. master bricklayers will help build a unique experimental model Duomo using period tools and techniques. Will it stay intact during the final precarious stages of closing over the top of the dome?
Feb 12 2014
Beneath the streets of Rome lies a city of the dead known as the Catacombs—a labyrinth of tunnels, hundreds of miles long, lined with the neatly laid out tombs of the citizens of ancient Rome. Here, in 2002, maintenance workers fixing a broken water main stumbled upon a previously unknown burial chamber like none other in the complex. It was a mass grave of hundreds of bodies spread across six roughly carved caverns, locked away for nearly 2000 years. Who were these people? And can we discover, after all these centuries, what killed them? Could they be Christian martyrs massacred by the Emperor? Or were they felled by a deadly plague? In “Roman Catacomb Mystery,” NOVA’s forensic investigation follows a trail of ancient clues to uncover new secrets of life, death, and disease in the heyday of a mighty empire.
Feb 05 2014
In the rolling hills of Ireland's County Tipperary, a laborer harvesting peat from a dried-up bog spots the remnants of a corpse and stops his machine just in time, revealing a headless torso almost perfectly preserved and stained dark brown by the bog. Archeologists recognize the corpse as one of Europe's rare bog bodies: prehistoric corpses flung into marshes with forensic clues often suggesting execution or human sacrifice. The corpse will eventually be dated to the Bronze Age, over 3,000 years ago. Many of these were victims of shocking violence, showing evidence of axe blows, hanging, and stab wounds. Like a crime thriller, NOVA follows archaeologists and forensic experts in their methodical hunt for clues to the identity and the circumstances of this and other violent deaths of bog body victims. A new theory emerges that they are those of ritually murdered kings, gruesomely slain to assure the fertility of land and people. NOVA’s ancient detective story opens a tantalizing window on the strange beliefs of Europe's long vanished prehistoric peoples.
Jan 29 2014
In the early days of World War I, Germany, determined to bring its British enemies to their knees, launched a new kind of terror campaign: bombing civilians from the sky. But the aircraft delivering the lethal payloads weren’t planes. They were Zeppelins, enormous airships, some the length of two football fields. With a team of engineers, explosives experts, and historians, NOVA investigates the secrets behind these deadly war machines. "Zeppelin Terror Attack" explores the technological arms race that unfolded as Britain desperately scrambled to develop defenses that could neutralize the threat, while Germany responded with ever bigger and more powerful Zeppelins. Why were these German monsters of the sky, filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas, so difficult to shoot down? How were their massive gas bags pieced together from the intestines of millions of cows? Experts reconstruct and detonate deadly WWI incendiary bombs and test fire antique flaming bullets, all to discover how the British came up with the unique artillery that would finally take down the biggest flying machines ever made. This also aired on the following: • Channel 4 (UK) Documentaries - S2013E46 - Attack of the Zeppelins • NOVA - S41E11 - Zeppelin Terror Attack • National Geographic Documentaries - S2014E08 - Attack Of The Zeppelins
Jan 15 2014
It’s a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b, might even be able to harbor life. How did we come upon this distant planet? Combining startling animation with input from expert astrophysicists and astrobiologists, “Alien Planets Revealed” takes viewers on a journey along with the Kepler telescope. How does the telescope look for planets? How many of these planets are like our Earth? Will any of these planets be suitable for life as we know it? Bringing the creative power of veteran animators together with the latest discoveries in planet-hunting, “Alien Planets Revealed” shows the successes of the Kepler mission, taking us to planets beyond our solar system and providing a glimpse of creatures we might one day encounter.
Jan 08 2014

Season 40

24 Episodes

The asteroid that exploded over Siberia—injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities—was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, these space rocks have the potential to be killers. In a collision with Earth, they could set off deadly blast waves, raging fires and colossal tidal waves. But some audacious entrepreneurs look up at asteroids and see payday, not doomsday. Some asteroids are loaded with billions of dollars’ worth of elements like iron, nickel, and platinum. NASA is planning an ambitious mission to return samples from a potentially hazardous asteroid, and would-be asteroid miners are dreaming up their own program to scout for potentially profitable asteroids. Will asteroids turn out to be our economic salvation—or instruments of extinction?
Nov 20 2013
Between the blue sky above and the infinite blackness beyond lies a frontier that scientists have only just begun to investigate. In "At the Edge of Space," NOVA takes viewers on a spectacular exploration of the Earth-space boundary that's home to some of nature's most puzzling and alluring phenomena: the shimmering aurora, streaking meteors, and fleeting flashes that shoot upwards from thunderclouds, known as sprites. Only discovered in 1989, sprites have eluded capture because they exist for a mere split-second—40-times faster than an eye blink. NOVA rides with scientists in a high-flying weather observation plane on a hunt for sprites, finally snaring them in 3D video and gaining vital clues to unraveling their mystery. Combining advanced video technology with stunning footage shot from the International Space Station, "At the Edge of Space" probes the boundary zone and offers an entirely new perspective on our home planet.
Nov 20 2013
For decades, the assassination of John F. Kennedy has fueled dark rumors of conspiracies and mishandled evidence. Now, fifty years later, NOVA asks: Could modern investigators do better? We’ll see how state-of-the art forensic tools would be applied to the investigation were it to happen today. At the same time, NOVA takes a critical look at contemporary cases, like the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, to reveal how charges of evidence mishandling and human error can mar even scientifically sophisticated detective work. Will forensics ever be truly foolproof, or does modern technology just give a scientific sheen to a practice that will always be more art than science?
Nov 13 2013
The world has always been a dangerous place, so how do we increase our odds of survival? In "Making Stuff Safer," David Pogue explores the cutting-edge research of scientists and engineers who want to keep us out of harm’s way. Some are countering the threat of natural disasters with new firefighting materials and safer buildings. Others are at work on technologies to thwart terrorist attacks. A next-generation vaccine will save millions from deadly disease. And innovations like smarter cars and better sports gear will reduce the risk of everyday activities. We’ll never eliminate danger—but science and technology are making stuff safer.
Nov 06 2013
Cold is the new hot in this brave new world. For centuries we've fought it, shunned it, and huddled against it. Cold has always been the enemy of life, but now it may hold the key to a new generation of science and technology that will improve our lives. In "Making Stuff Colder," David Pogue explores the frontiers of cold science from saving the lives of severe trauma patients to ultracold physics, where bizarre new properties of matter are the norm and the basis of new technologies like levitating trains and quantum computers.
Oct 30 2013
What happens when scientists open up nature's toolbox? In "Making Stuff Wilder," David Pogue explores bold new innovations inspired by the Earth's greatest inventor, life itself. From robotic "mules" and "cheetahs" for the military, to fabrics born out of fish slime, host David Pogue travels the globe to find the world’s wildest new inventions and technologies. It is a journey that sees today's microbes turned into tomorrow’s metallurgists, viruses building batteries, and ideas that change not just the stuff we make, but the way we make our stuff. As we develop our own new technologies, what can we learn from billions of years of nature’s research?
Oct 23 2013
Ever since humans stood on two feet we have had the basic urge to go faster. But are there physical limits to how fast we can go? David Pogue wants to find out, and in "Making Stuff Faster," he’ll investigate everything from electric muscle cars and the America’s cup sailboat to bicycles that smash speed records. Along the way, he finds that speed is more than just getting us from point A to B, it's also about getting things done in less time. From boarding a 737 to pushing the speed light travels, Pogue's quest for ultimate speed limits takes him to unexpected places where he’ll come face-to-face with the final frontiers of speed.
Oct 16 2013
In October 2012, superstorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the East Coast, killing hundreds and doing tens of billions of dollars in damage. Now, one year after Sandy’s deadly strike, NOVA follows up on its 2012 film “Inside the Megastorm” with a fresh investigation of the critical questions raised by this historic storm: Was Hurricane Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate and rising seas? How can we gird cities against future storm surges? Join NOVA on a trip to the Netherlands, a country which has combined extraordinary engineering with natural landscape restoration to protect its low-lying cities from the sea. And meet climate scientists who are racing to understand how a warming world will affect extreme—but unpredictable—weather phenomena like hurricanes and tornadoes. To many, Sandy was a wake-up call: One year later, are we still listening? And how will we answer?
Oct 09 2013
NOVA kicks off the fall season with a return to Ground Zero to witness the final chapter in an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit. “Ground Zero Supertower” examines the new skyscraper, One World Trade Center, rising up 104 stories and 1,776 feet from the site where the Twin Towers once stood. NOVA also goes underground to see another engineering marvel taking shape here: the construction of the National September 11 Memorial Museum that will house almost a thousand artifacts from that devastating day. In this update of NOVA’s Emmy-nominated special “Engineering Ground Zero,” which featured extraordinary behind-the-scenes access to the struggles of the engineers and architects working at 1 WTC and the 9/11 Memorial, NOVA goes inside the construction of the tower’s final floors and the installation of its soaring, 408-foot spire and beacon. The greatest test is still to come, though: Will One World Trade Center, a multi-billion dollar supertower, live up to its promise to be safe, beautiful and ahead of its time?
Sep 11 2013
On May 20, 2013, a ferocious EF5 tornado over a mile wide tore through Moore, Oklahoma, inflicting 24 deaths and obliterating entire neighborhoods. It was the third time an exceptionally violent tornado had struck the city in 14 years. Yet predicting when and where these killer storms will hit still poses a huge challenge. Why was 2011—the worst ever recorded tornado season that left 158 dead in Joplin, Missouri—followed by the quietest ever year of activity prior to the Moore disaster? Can improved radar and warning technology explain why so many fewer died in Moore than in Joplin? And will tornadoes get worse as Earth's climate heats up? In this NOVA special, we meet scientists in the front ranks of the battle to understand these extreme weather events. We also meet storm survivors whose lives have been upended and learn how we can protect ourselves and our communities for the uncertain future.
May 29 2013
NOVA follows the manhunt for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers examining the role modern technology played in the case.
May 29 2013
In the wake of the catastrophic asteroid impact believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, Australia was set adrift on a lonely voyage across southern seas. With host Richard Smith, NOVA travels the walkabout continent to uncover how it became the strange land it is today. In this final episode, "Strange Creatures," NOVA traces the last 65 million years, revealing the events that shaped the Australia we know today. Prehistoric jungles retreated, replaced by eucalypt forests, grasslands, and deserts. When humans first arrived, giant marsupials dominated the land and the Great Barrier Reef was yet to form. This is a tale of calamity and conquest; how a conspiracy of climate, biology, and geology shaped the Earth we now call home.
May 01 2013
"Monsters" begins Down Under at the dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs. Host Richard Smith comes face-to-face with the previously unknown reptilian rulers of prehistoric Australia. NOVA resurrects the giants that stalked the Great Southern Land and discovers that some of these animals were among the largest ever to have walked the Earth. Others were some of the most dangerous. In the dry desert heart, scientists unearth an ancient inland ocean full of sea monsters. Opal fossils of some of these beasts paint a colorful picture of the exotic seascape, where long-necked plesiosaurs snacked on shelled creatures that grew as large as truck tires. The most fearsome was Kronosaurus, with a skull twice as long as T. rex. But reptiles didn't have the world all to themselves. Mammals like the enigmatic platypus lived alongside them, ready for their moment in the sun.
Apr 24 2013
How did life storm the beaches and dominate planet Earth? Ancient Australian fossils offer clues in "Life Explodes." Half a billion years ago, Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwana. The oceans were teeming with weird and wonderful animals, but the world above the waves remained an almost lifeless wasteland. All that was about to change, though. Host Richard Smith introduces Earth's forgotten pioneers: the scuttling arthropod armies that invaded the shores and the waves of green revolutionaries whose battle for the light pushed plant life across the face of a barren continent. Evolution continued underwater as well, with armor-plated fish experimenting with teeth, jaws, sex, and lungs. NOVA's prehistoric adventure continues with four-legged animals walking onto dry land—and the planet poised for disaster.
Apr 17 2013
What can Australia reveal about how Earth was born and how life took hold? Join NOVA and host Dr. Richard Smith as they journey back to the very beginning of the Australian story in "Awakening." The first stop is Western Australia, around four and a half billion years ago, where we encounter an Earth shortly after its fiery birth. Hidden in the red hills of Australia are clues to the mysteries of when the Earth was born, how life first arose, and how it transformed the planet. Experts unveil how the earliest forms of life—an odd assortment of bacterial slime—flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, sparking the biological revolution that made animal life possible. It is the beginning of the great drama of life on Earth.
Apr 10 2013
In 1900, Greek sponge divers discovered a 2,000 year-old shipwreck containing a geared bronze mechanism whose workings have puzzled scientists for decades. New hi-tech imaging has revealed that this clockwork machine was the world's first computer.
Apr 03 2013
On February 15, 2013, a 7,000-ton asteroid crashed into the Earth's atmosphere over Russia with the power of 30 Hiroshima bombs. Within days, NOVA crews joined impact scientists in Russia as they hunted for clues about the meteor's origin and makeup.
Mar 27 2013
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide any clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA correspondent Miles O’Brien separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die. Could suicide–and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory–be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about the violent brain? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time—and stop the next Newtown?
Feb 20 2013
"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.
Feb 13 2013
3,600-year-old reliefs in Egyptian tombs and temples depict pharaohs and warriors proudly riding into battle on horse-drawn chariots. Some historians claim that the chariot launched a technological and strategic revolution, and was the secret weapon behind Egypt's greatest era of conquest known as the New Kingdom. But was the Egyptian chariot really a revolutionary design? How decisive a role did it play in the bloody battles of the ancient world? In "Building Pharaoh's Chariot," a team of archaeologists, engineers, woodworkers, and horse trainers join forces to build and test two highly accurate replicas of Egyptian royal chariots. They discover astonishingly advanced features, including spoked wheels, springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars, and even a convex-shaped rear mirror, leading one of them to compare the level of design to the engineering standards of 1930's-era Buicks! By driving our pair of replicas to their limits in the desert outside Cairo, NOVA's experts test the claim that the chariot marks a crucial turning point in ancient military history.
Feb 06 2013
In the aftermath of his 1927 solo transatlantic flight, Colonel Charles Augustus Lindbergh–the Lone Eagle–became the most famous human being on earth. And when he and his lovely wife Anne produced an adorable baby son, Charlie, an eager press quickly dubbed him Little Lindy or sometimes just the Eaglet. But on the evening of March 1, 1932 Lucky Lindy's luck ran out. Bold kidnappers snatched his baby from the family home near Hopewell, New Jersey, while everyone in the house was awake. Negotiations with the kidnappers stretched out for weeks. But Little Charlie never came back. His body was discovered not five miles from Hopewell. Now, NOVA is reopening one of the most intriguing, grisly, and confounding crime mysteries of all time as a team of expert investigators employ state-of-the-art forensic and behavioral science techniques in an effort to determine what really happened to Lindbergh's baby and why.
Jan 30 2013
Drones. These unmanned flying robots–some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds–do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center. From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other. And it's just the beginning. Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history as NOVA gets ready for "Rise of the Drones."
Jan 23 2013
Examining evidence about Neanderthals that sheds light on the hominids, which died off some 30,000 years ago. Included: geneticist Svante Pääbo's 2010 reconstruction of the Neanderthal genome, which posits that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred at some point in the distant past.
Jan 09 2013
In April, 2010 the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano turned much of Europe into an ash-strewn no-fly zone, stranding millions of travelers. But was Eyjafjallajökull just the start? Now, an even more threatening Icelandic volcano, Katla, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences could be global. As CGI takes us inside these geological monsters, we meet atmospheric scientists who are working to understand just how devastating an eruption could be—not just for air travel but for the global food supply and for Earth's climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the disaster to come?
Jan 02 2013

Season 39

16 Episodes

Was Hurricane Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a warming climate? How did this perfect storm make search and rescue so dangerous? "Inside the Megastorm" takes viewers moment by moment through Hurricane Sandy, its impacts, and the future of storm protection. Through first person accounts from those who survived, and from experts and scientists, "Inside the Megastorm" gives scientific context to a new breed of storms.
Nov 18 2012
Why go back to Mars? Far from dead, Mars holds untold potential. Nearly half a century of Mars exploration has yielded tantalizing clues that Mars may once have harbored life—and may harbor it still. The extraordinary landing of a revolutionary rover named Curiosity—which successfully touched down inside the Gale Crater—means we have wheels down on the planet once again, in the form of the most sophisticated robot ever to rove the Mars surface. Will NASA's bold mission and this marvel of technology answer some of our biggest questions and usher in a new golden age of exploration? NOVA goes behind the scenes on NASA’s quest to solve the riddles of the red planet.
Nov 14 2012
A remote, bleak speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues or moai, weighing up to 86 tons? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to "walk" the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory—serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world's most intriguing enigmas.
Nov 07 2012
There is a startling gap between the glamorous television world of “CSI” and the gritty reality of the forensic crime lab. With few established scientific standards, no central oversight, and poor regulation of examiners, forensics in the U.S. is in a state of crisis. In "Forensics on Trial", NOVA investigates how modern forensics, including the analysis of fingerprints, bite marks, ballistics, hair, and tool marks, can send innocent men and women to prison—and sometimes even to death row. Shockingly, of more than 250 inmates exonerated by DNA testing over the last decade, more than 50 percent of the wrongful convictions stemmed from invalid or improperly handled forensic science. With the help of vivid recreations of actual trials and cases, NOVA will investigate today’s shaky state of crime science as well as cutting-edge solutions that could help investigators put the real criminals behind bars.
Oct 17 2012
The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time. Yet only a select few carried the ultimate weapon of their era: the feared Ulfberht sword. Fashioned using a process that would remain unknown to the Vikings’ rivals for centuries, the Ulfberht was a revolutionary high-tech tool as well as a work of art. Considered one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle. But how did Viking sword makers design and build the Ulfberht, and what was its role in history? Now, NOVA uses cutting edge science and old-fashioned detective work to reconstruct the Ulfberht and finally unravel the "Secrets of the Viking Sword."
Oct 10 2012
It contains 99.9 percent of all the matter in our solar system and sheds hot plasma at nearly a million miles an hour. The temperature at its core is a staggering 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. It convulses, it blazes, it sings. You know it as the sun. Scientists know it as one of the most amazing physics laboratories in the universe. Now, with the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are seeing the sun as they never have before and even recreating what happens at its very center in labs here on Earth. Their work will help us understand aspects of the sun that have puzzled scientists for decades. But more critically, it may help us predict and track solar storms that have the power to zap our power grid, shut down telecommunications, and ground global air travel for days, weeks, or even longer. Such storms have happened before—but never in the modern era of satellite communication. "Secrets of the Sun" reveals a bright new dawn in our understanding of our nearest star—one that might help keep our planet from going dark.
Apr 25 2012
Twenty million passengers embark on cruises each year, vacationing in deluxe "floating cities" that offer everything from swimming pools to shopping malls to ice skating rinks. And the ships just keep getting bigger: The average cruise ship has doubled in size in just the last ten years. Some engineers fear that these towering behemoths are dangerously unstable, and the recent tragedy of the Costa Concordia has raised new questions about their safety. Now, NOVA brings together marine engineering and safety experts to reconstruct the events that led up to famous cruise disasters, including the ill-fated Concordia, the Sea Diamond, and the Oceans.
Apr 18 2012
In April 2011, the worst tornado outbreak in decades left a trail of destruction across the U.S., killing more than 360 people. Why was there such an extreme outbreak? How do such outbreaks form? With modern warning systems, why did so many die? Is our weather getting more extreme—and, if so, how bad will it get? In this NOVA special, we meet scientists striving to understand the forces at work behind last year's outbreak. Could their work improve tornado prediction in the future? We also meet people whose lives have been upended by these extreme weather events and learn how we all can protect ourselves and our communities for the future.
Apr 11 2012
Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? They’re the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, the lively host of NOVA’s popular "Making Stuff" series and technology correspondent of The New York Times, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe’s most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.
Apr 04 2012
What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA—all three billion chemical letters of it—read, stored, and available for analysis? In "Cracking Your Genetic Code," NOVA reveals that we stand on the verge of a revolution. We meet cancer patients returned to robust health and a cystic fibrosis sufferer breathing easily because scientists have been able to pinpoint and neutralize the genetic abnormalities underlying their conditions. What are the moral dilemmas raised by the new technology? Will it help or hurt us to know our genetic destiny? What if such information falls into the hands of insurance companies, employers, and prospective mates? One thing is for certain: The new era of personalized, gene-based medicine is relevant to everyone. Soon, all of us may be deciding whether to join the ranks of the DNA generation.
Mar 28 2012
Witness the extraordinary surgery that will allow twin girls, born joined at the head, to live separate lives.
Feb 08 2012
In a race against developers in the Rocky Mountains, archaeologists uncover a unique fossil site packed with astonishingly well-preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons, and other giant extinct beasts. The discovery opens a highly focused window on the vanished world of the Ice Age in North America.
Feb 01 2012
In October 2007, a striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress made world news headlines. Originally sold nine years before for around $20,000, the portrait is now thought to be an undiscovered masterwork by Leonardo da Vinci worth more than $100 million. How did cutting-edge imaging analysis help tie the portrait to Leonardo? NOVA meets a new breed of experts who are approaching "cold case" art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover "who committed the art." And it follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multibillion-dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.
Jan 25 2012
During World War II, Hitler’s scientists developed terrifying new weapons of mass destruction. Alarmed by rumors of advanced rockets and missiles, Allied intelligence recruited a team of brilliant minds from British universities and Hollywood studios to a country house near London. Here, they secretly pored over millions of air photos shot at great risk over German territory by specially converted, high-flying Spitfires. Peering at the photos through 3D stereoscopes, the team spotted telltale clues that revealed hidden Nazi rocket bases. The photos led to devastating Allied bombing raids that dealt crucial setbacks to the German rocket program and helped ensure the success of the D-Day landings. With 3D graphics that recreate exactly what the photo spies saw, NOVA tells the suspenseful, previously untold story of air photo intelligence that played a vital role in defeating the Nazis.
Jan 18 2012
In 1943 a squadron of Lancaster bombers staged one of the most audacious raids in military history: destroying two gigantic dams in Germany’s industrial heartland and cutting the water supply to arms factories. Their secret weapon? A revolutionary bouncing bomb invented by British engineer Barnes Wallis. Wallis and the pilots of 617 Squadron—a lively mix of Britons, Australians, Americans, and Canadians—were hailed as heroes who dealt a mighty blow to the German war machine. Now, NOVA recreates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots. A crack team of experts, including dam engineers, explosives specialists, mechanics, and aircrew, steps into the shoes of the "dambusters" and attempts to overcome each of the obstacles the original team faced. They must adapt a vintage World War II DC-4 to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum, train to drop it from a dangerously low altitude in pitch darkness, and get it to bounce over obstacles and onto the target, a scale model the German dam struck by the original dambusters. Can they succeed in destroying the dam and unraveling the mysteries of the one-of-a-kind bouncing bomb?
Jan 11 2012
Millions of people around the world live in the shadow of active volcanoes. Under constant threat of massive volcanic eruptions, their homes and their lives are daily at risk from these sleeping giants. From Japan’s Mount Fuji to the "Sleeping Giant" submerged beneath Naples to the Yellowstone "supervolcano" in the United States, we will travel with scientists from around the world who are at work on these sites, attempting to discover how likely these volcanoes are to erupt, when it might happen, and exactly how deadly they could prove to be.
Jan 04 2012

Season 38

24 Episodes

Our universe may be just one of an infinite number of worlds that make up the multiverse. In this show, Brian Greene explains why scientists believe this is true and shows what some of these alternate realities might be like.
Nov 23 2011
Brian Greene explores the weirdness of quantum physics, which governs the universe on the tiniest of scales. While counterintuitive, it's one of the most successful theories in the history of science.
Nov 16 2011
Ask physicists what time actually is, and the answer might shock you: they have no idea. The deep sense we have of time passing from present to past may be an illusion. How can our understanding of something so familiar be so wrong? In search of answers, Brian Greene takes us on the ultimate time-traveling adventure.
Nov 09 2011
Brian Greene reveals space as a dynamic fabric that can stretch, twist, warp, and ripple under the influence of gravity. Stranger still is the newly discovered dark energy, an ingredient of space that makes up 70 percent of the universe.but scientists have no idea what it is.
Nov 02 2011
He’s been dead for more than 5,000 years and poked, prodded, and probed by scientists for the last 20. Yet Ötzi the Iceman, the famous mummified corpse pulled from a glacier in the Italian Alps, continues to keep many secrets. Now, through an autopsy like none other, scientists will attempt to unravel mysteries about this ancient mummy, revealing not only the details of Ötzi’s death but also an entire way of life. How did people live during Ötzi’s time, the Copper Age? What did they eat? What diseases did they cope with? Join NOVA as we defrost the ultimate time capsule—the 5,000-year-old man
Oct 26 2011
Take a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden. Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling animation, this program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system. We used to think our neighboring planets and moons were fairly boring—mostly cold, dead rocks where life could never take hold. Today, however, the solar system looks wilder than we ever imagined.
Oct 19 2011
The earthquake that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, was recorded at magnitude 9.0 the worst ever recorded in Japan. It generated an unprecedented tsunami, obliterating coastal villages and towns in a matter of minutes. In some areas, the tsunami climbed above 100 feet in height and traveled miles inland. Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured it all on video, including remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined. As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after the fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons for how we should all act in the face of life-threatening disasters.
Sep 28 2011
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NOVA presents an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit. With extraordinary access granted by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, “Engineering Ground Zero” follows the five-year construction of One World Trade Center (1 WTC) and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Sep 07 2011
Can emerging technology defeat global warming? The United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in clean energy projects as our leaders try to save our crumbling economy and our poisoned planet in one bold, green stroke. Are we finally on the brink of a green-energy "power surge," or is it all a case of too little, too late? From solar panel factories in China to a carbon capture-and-storage facility in the Sahara desert to massive wind and solar installations in the United States, NOVA travels the globe to reveal the surprising technologies that just might turn back the clock on climate change. NOVA will focus on the latest and greatest innovations, including everything from artificial trees to green reboots of familiar technologies like coal and nuclear energy. Can our technology, which helped create this problem, now solve it?
Apr 20 2011
In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a death toll likely in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear meltdown. With exclusive footage, NOVA captures the unfolding human drama and offers a clear-headed investigation of what triggered the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis. Can science and technology ever prevent devastation in the face of overwhelmingly powerful forces of nature?
Mar 30 2011
Over the millennia, thousands of creatures have developed that most sophisticated of biological and chemical weapons: venom. These complex chemicals can scramble your brain signals, paralyze your muscles, puncture your blood cells, even begin digesting you from within. But nature's most potent toxins might also contain the keys to a new generation of advanced drugs. Such drugs might help doctors treat heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. Follow NOVA crews as they join scientists on a dangerous quest to track down and capture the world's most venomous animals - to find out both how they can kill us, and how they can save us.
Feb 23 2011
Feb 23 2011
On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of all 228 lives. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply fall out of the sky? NOVA assembles a team of seasoned pilots, engineers, and safety experts to examine the evidence that emerged in the weeks following this horrific disaster. What led Flight 447's crew to fly straight into a towering thunderstorm? With expert testimony, satellite weather images, and messages transmitted by the doomed plane's computer system, NOVA pieces together the fatal chain of events.
Feb 16 2011
Augmenting human intelligence is a lot tougher than it looks, and the promise of "Hal" from 2001: A Space Odyssey is still just a fantasy. But scientists are edging closer with machines like "Watson," an IBM computing system that is gearing up for a first-of-its-kind challenge: taking on human contestants on the game show Jeopardy! With a brain the size of 2,400 home computers and a database of about 10 million documents, will Watson be able to compute its way to victory? Given the complexity of human language, could any computer truly understand it? It remains to be seen if this amalgam of circuits and silicon can really take us closer to the dream of a fully developed artificial intelligence, a truly "conscious" machine. Win or lose, the difficulty of mimicking the human thought process with software is showing artificial-intelligence researchers that there's more than one way to be "intelligent."
Feb 09 2011
Feb 16 2011
Feb 09 2011
"Making Stuff: Smarter" looks at materials that respond to their environments and even learn, such as an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies. Scientists are turning to nature in developing such "smart" stuff. Sharkskin, for instance, has inspired a substance that, when sprayed in hospitals, could eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. David Pogue visits a scientist who has even created a material that can render objects invisible. "Smarter" concludes with a vision of the ultimate in "life-like" stuff: programmable matter that could create a duplicate of a human being.
Feb 09 2011
Feb 02 2011
Can innovations in materials science help clean up our world? In "Making Stuff: Cleaner," David Pogue explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it. Is hydrogen the way to go? What about lithium batteries? Does this solve an energy problem or create a new dependency? Pogue investigates the latest developments in bio-based fuels and in harnessing solar energy for our cars, homes, and industry in a program full of the stuff of a sustainable future.
Feb 02 2011
Jan 26 2011
How small can we go? Could we one day have robots taking "fantastic voyages" in our bodies to kill rogue cells? The triumphs of tiny are seen all around us in the Information Age: transistors, microchips, laptops, cell phones. Now, David Pogue takes NOVA viewers to an even smaller world in "Making Stuff: Smaller," examining the latest in high-powered nano-circuits and micro-robots that may one day hold the key to saving lives.
Jan 26 2011
Jan 19 2011
What is the strongest material in the world? Is it steel, Kevlar, carbon nanotubes, or something entirely new? NOVA kicks off the four-part series "Making Stuff" with a quest for the world's strongest substances. Host David Pogue takes a look at what defines strength, examining everything from steel cables to mollusks to a toucan's beak. Pogue travels from the deck of a U.S. naval aircraft carrier to a demolition derby to the country's top research labs to check in with experts who are re-engineering what nature has given us to create the next generation of strong stuff.
Jan 19 2011
In 2010, several epic earthquakes delivered one of the worst annual death tolls ever recorded. The deadliest strike, in Haiti, killed more than 200,000 people and reduced homes, hospitals, schools, and the presidential palace to rubble. In exclusive coverage, a NOVA camera crew follows a team of U.S. geologists as they enter Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. The team hunts for crucial evidence that will help them determine exactly what happened deep underground and what the risks are of a new killer quake. Barely a month after the Haiti quake, Chile was struck by a quake 100 times more powerful, unleashing a tsunami that put the entire Pacific coast on high alert. In a coastal town devastated by the rushing wave, NOVA follows a team of geologists as they battle aftershocks to measure the displacement caused by the earthquake. Could their work, and the work of geologists at earthquake hot spots around the U.S., one day lead to a breakthrough in predicting quakes before they happen? NOVA investigates compelling new leads in this profound scientific conundrum.
Jan 11 2011

Season 37

17 Episodes

Almost three miles of ice buries most of Antarctica, cloaking a continent half again as large as the United States. But when an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapsed in less than a month in 2002, it shocked scientists and raised the alarming possibility that Antarctica may be headed for a meltdown. Even a ten percent loss of Antarctica's ice would cause catastrophic flooding of coastal cities unlike any seen before in human history. What are the chances of a widespread melt? "Secrets Beneath the Ice" explores whether Antarctica's climate past can offer clues to what may happen. NOVA follows a state-of-the-art expedition that is drilling three-quarters of a mile into the Antarctic seafloor. The drill is recovering rock cores that reveal intimate details of climate and fauna from a time in the distant past when the Earth was just a few degrees warmer than it is today. As researchers grapple with the harshest conditions on the planet, they discover astonishing new clues about Antarctica's past—clues that carry ominous implications for coastal cities around the globe.
Dec 28 2010
Countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon's mines, trekking through burning deserts and scaling the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant, inspired by the Bible's account of splendid temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper. Yet to date, the evidence that has claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kings in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom has been found that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. In the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two cutting-edge field investigations that illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty biblical kingdoms. These groundbreaking expeditions expose important new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan, including ancient remnants of an industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message with the words "slave," "king," and "judge."
Nov 23 2010
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued to elude us. Now investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt, and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Bluestonehenge, a prehistoric stone-circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.
Nov 16 2010
"Dogs Decoded" reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with surprising implications for the evolution of human culture. Other research is proving what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently?
Nov 09 2010
New Yorker Nicholas White was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours. How did it happen? How do elevators work? Are they safe? Why are so many people afraid of them? Across North America, elevators move 325 million passengers every day, most of the time without problems. But will the elevator-wary be comfortable handing over the reins to computers? Once brawny but simple machines, elevators are now getting a brainy makeover and reaching new heights. "Trapped in an Elevator" reveals the secrets of these ubiquitous machines and investigates personal stories of those who have been caught inside when they do fail.
Nov 02 2010
This one-hour film chronicles the fate of the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed Chilean gold and copper mine in August 2010 and investigates the many challenges faced by both the miners and those working around the clock to bring them safely to the surface. NOVA was on-site at the San José mine in Chile by early September. Conferred special access, NOVA's film crew interviewed engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel, and key figures from the companies that provided drills and crucial rescue equipment to give a more detailed scientific account of the unfolding events. The resulting film, using footage from the scene as well as advanced animation, showcases the extraordinary feats of engineering as well as the biological and geological factors inherent in the rescue. "Emergency Mine Rescue" also examines the psychological and physiological impact of this kind of prolonged ordeal on the miners and those involved in the rescue efforts.
Oct 26 2010
Take a dazzling architectural journey inside those majestic marvels of Gothic architecture, the great cathedrals of Chartres, Beauvais and other European cities. Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, some cathedrals now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, a team of engineers, architects, art historians, and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell-towers for clues. NOVA investigates the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their towering, glass-filled walls and reveals the hidden formulas drawn from the Bible that drove medieval builders ever upward.
Oct 19 2010
For 27 years, biologist Charlie Crisafulli has been documenting the dramatic return of plant and animal life to Mt. St. Helens after the 1980 eruption. / When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, every living thing in the blast zone was buried beneath 300 feet of avalanche debris, covered with steaming mud and, finally, topped with a superheated layer of frothy rock from deep within the earth. Biologist Charlie Crisafulli has remained at the site for 27 years, documenting the dramatic return of plant and animal life to the barren landscape and pioneering a new understanding of the interaction between geologic forces and the life surrounding the mountain.
May 04 2010
Exposes the mysterious and surprising nature of the two most powerful forces on the planet: the human mind and money. Using analysis and experiment, this film explores why economists failed to predict the 2008 crash and why we so often make irrational financial decisions.
Apr 27 2010
In a two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe.
Apr 13 2010
In a two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe.
Apr 06 2010
When the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium stopped calling Pluto a planet, director Neil deGrasse Tyson found himself at the center of a firestorm led by angry Pluto-loving elementary school students. What is it about Pluto—a cold, distant, icy rock—that captures so many hearts? Four years after the IAU (International Astronomical Union) officially reclassified the ninth planet as a plutoid, NOVA travels cross-country with Tyson to find out.
Mar 02 2010
"Extreme Cave Diving" follows a fearless team of scientists as they venture into blue holes—underwater caves that formed during the last ice age, when sea level was nearly 400 feet below what it is today. These caves, little-known treasures of the Bahamas, are one of Earth's least explored and perhaps most dangerous frontiers. The interdisciplinary team of biologists, climatologists, and anthropologists, led by renowned cave explorer Kenny Broad, discover intriguing evidence of the earliest human inhabitants of the islands, find animals seen nowhere else on Earth, and recover a remarkable record of the planet's climate. The stakes are high as the scientists swim hundreds of feet through narrow, dark passages that have trapped and killed divers in the past, but the scientific payoff is considerable.
Feb 09 2010
Perched atop a mountain crest, mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. In the years since Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, there have been countless theories about this "Lost City of the Incas," yet it remains an enigma. Why did the Incas build it on such an inaccessible site? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces, and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven't been touched since the time of the Incas. See what they discover when they unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.
Feb 02 2010
A team of archeologists carries out experiments that reveal the techniques and labor invested in the carving of the Sphinx. The team also unearths new discoveries about the people who built the gigantic sculpture and why they created such a haunting and stupendous image.
Jan 19 2010
A magnificent trading vessel embarks on a royal expedition to a mysterious, treasure-laden land called Punt. Is this journey, intricately depicted on the wall of one of Egypt's most impressive temples, mere myth--or was it a reality? NOVA follows a team of archeologists and boat builders as they reconstruct the mighty vessel shown in the mysterious carving, and then finally launch it in to the Red Sea on a unique voyage of discovery.
Jan 12 2010
NOVA dives beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace provocative new clues to one of the most tragic events of World War II -- the sinking of the USS Arizona.
Jan 05 2010

Season 36

17 Episodes

NOVA takes viewers on a journey from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the Cambrian explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Here scientists are finally beginning to crack nature’s biggest secrets at the genetic level. And, as NOVA shows in this absorbing detective story, the results are confirming the brilliance of Darwin’s insights while exposing clues to life’s breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely have imagined.
Dec 29 2009
What are dreams and why do we have them? Are they a window into a hidden realm within us? Science is only just beginning to understand. NOVA joins the leading dream researchers and witnesses the extraordinary experiments they use to investigate the world of sleep. From human narcoleptics to sleepwalking cats, from recurrent nightmares to those who can’t dream, each sequence contains a vital clue to the question these scientists are pursuing: Why do we dream?
Nov 24 2009
The final program examines the roots of our own species, Homo sapiens, which new evidence pinpoints to southern Africa some 200,000 years ago. New discoveries are upending old ideas and suggesting that our exodus from Africa was far earlier than previously thought.
Nov 17 2009
In gripping forensic detail, the second program in “Becoming Human” investigates the first skeleton that really looks like us — “Turkana Boy” — an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya.
Nov 10 2009
The first hour examines the factors that caused the split from the apes. The film explores the fossil of “Selam,” also known as “Lucy’s Child” — an amazing, nearly complete child fossil that helps shed light on our ancestors’ early development and how we began to depart from that of chimps.
Nov 03 2009
Though they may look like dragons and inspire stories of man-eating, fire-spitting monsters with long claws, razor-sharp teeth and muscular, whip-like tails, these creatures are actually monitor lizards, the largest lizards to walk the planet. With their acute intelligence — including the ability to plan — these lizards are a very different kind of reptile, blurring the line between reptiles and mammals. And even though these bizarre reptiles haven’t changed all that much since the dinosaurs, they are a successful species, versatile at adapting to all kinds of settings. “Lizard Kings” looks at what makes these tongued reptiles so similar to mammals and what has allowed them to become such unique survivors. But while the creatures can find their way around many different habitats, finding them is no easy task. Natural loners, and always on guard, they sense anything or anyone from hundreds of feet away. NOVA follows expert lizard hunter Dr. Eric Pianka as he tracks the elusive creatures through Australia’s heartland with cutting-edge “lizard cam” technology for an unparalleled close encounter with these versatile “living dragons.”
Oct 20 2009
The best-known scientific instrument in history was dying. After nearly 20 years in space and hundreds of thousands of spectacular images, the Hubble Space Telescope's gyroscopes and sensors were failing, its batteries running down, and some of its instruments were already dead. The only hope to save Hubble was a mission so dangerous that in 2004 NASA cancelled it because it was considered too risky.
Oct 13 2009
This two-hour scripted drama tells the remarkable story behind the unveiling of the most influential scientific theory of all time, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. The program is a special presentation from NOVA and National Geographic Television, written by acclaimed British screenwriter John Goldsmith and directed by John Bradshaw.
Oct 06 2009
An exploration of the effect of music on the brain via four case studies from neurologist Oliver Sacks book "Musicopia" and the MRI visualizations from Sacks' own brain as classical music is played, including Bach's "Mass in B Minor." Study subjects include a man with Tourettes syndrome who has found relief while playing the drums; an autistic savant who is simply dazzling on the piano; a woman who suffers the inability to process music, known as amusia; and a surgeon whose life changed after being struck by lightning.
Jun 30 2009
Seven doctors, 21 years... Saving lives is only part of the story.
Apr 14 2009
In 1987, NOVA's cameras began rolling to chronicle the lives of seven young, bright medical students embarking on the longest and most rigorous endeavor in higher education: the years-long journey to become a doctor. From their first days at Harvard Medical School to the present day, none of them could have predicted what it would take, personally and professionally. In "Doctors' Diaries," a two-hour special, NOVA returns to find out what sorts of doctors—and people—the seven young students have become. The program is the latest installment in the longest-running U.S. documentary of its kind.
Apr 07 2009
What killed the mammoths? Near the end of the last ice age 13,000 years ago, these mighty beasts disappeared from North America together with some 35 other groups of mammals, including giant ground sloths, saber-tooth cats, and American lions. For four decades, debate has raged over the cause of their abrupt demise. In Last Extinction, NOVA presents an exclusive in-depth investigation of a bold and controversial new hypothesis, which suggests that a massive impact from space could be the culprit. According to the theory, an incoming comet broke up over North America in a devastating series of explosions, causing widespread forest fires and wiping out plants, animals, and prehistoric people. The evidence comes from a mysterious black mat layer discovered at more that fifty sites across the continent. The black mat contains exotic materials including rare microscopic nanodiamonds that are claimed to be the signature of an extraterrestrial impact. But other scholars question the evidence and argue that ancient hunters armed with a lethal stone weapon the Clovis spear point drove the giant beasts into oblivion. Still others believe the unstable climate at the end of the Ice Age was responsible. NOVA explores the dramatic new evidence of a cosmic explosion and the possibility that all three explanations may be correct.
Mar 31 2009
In collaboration with National Geographic, NOVA follows the exploits of acclaimed photojournalist James Balog and a scientific team as they deploy time-lapse cameras in risky, remote locations in the Alps and Arctic, including Alaska and Greenland. Grappling with blizzards, fickle technology, and climbs up craggy precipices, the team must anchor cameras capable of withstanding subzero temperatures and winds up to 170 miles per hour. In this high-action scientific adventure, NOVA and National Geographic investigate the mystery of the mighty ice sheets, whose still-unknown behavior will affect the fate of coastlines around the world.
Mar 24 2009
Once every 48 years, bamboo forests in parts of northeast India go into exuberant flower. Then, like clockwork, the flowering is invariably followed by a plague of black rats that appear to spring from nowhere to spread destruction and famine in their wake. For the first time on film, NOVA and National Geographic capture this rat population explosion in vivid detail and show how scientists are unraveling the connections between bamboo flowering and rat outbreaks. Ultimately, their research should help local people better cope with the next attack—due in 2056.
Feb 24 2009
NOVA investigates the high-tech eavesdropping carried out by the National Security Agency and the effectiveness of surveillance in an age of terrorism.
Feb 03 2009
Orange-and-black wings fill the sky as NOVA charts one of nature's most remarkable phenomena: the epic migration of monarch butterflies across North America. To capture a butterfly's point of view, NOVA’s filmmakers used a helicopter, ultralight, and hot-air balloon for aerial views along the transcontinental route. This wondrous annual migration, which scientists are just beginning to fathom, is an endangered phenomenon that could dwindle to insignificance if the giant firs that the butterflies cling to during the winter disappear.
Jan 27 2009
Can California's ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gases actually succeed?
Jan 20 2009

Season 35

18 Episodes

NASA's twin robot explorers, Spirit and Opportunity, have endured the worst Martian storm ever recorded and survived near-fatal glitches—yet continue to operate. Now they're joined on the Red Planet by NASA's Phoenix probe, which has already made significant discoveries of its own.
Dec 30 2008
With a passion that will leave few viewers unmoved, veterinarians and volunteers at California's Marine Mammal Center work to rescue and rehabilitate a variety of marine mammals, including harbor seal pups and California sea lions.
Nov 25 2008
“The Bible’s Buried Secrets,” produced by Rhode Island-based Providence Pictures for PBS's science series Nova, attempts to uncover who wrote the Hebrew Bible and whether it’s history or parable, delving into the origins of the Israelites to explore their gradual transformation into a monotheistic people. The show also poses provocative ideas – including the “revelation” that many Israelites believed that God had a wife – and disputes literal readings of the text.
Nov 18 2008
The 2004 discovery of tiny human fossil bones on the island of Flores, Indonesia, raised new—and controversial—speculation about the history of the human race. Ever since, scientists have been scrambling to find more information about these "hobbits."
Nov 11 2008
Fractals are more than just pretty pictures. These simple but sophisticated equations describe the world we live in, from forest growth patterns to the beating of a human heart, and they are inspiring new investigation in myriad fields of science and technology.
Oct 28 2008
Join Mark Everett on his quixotic quest to understand his father Hugh, creator of a radical theory of quantum physics.
Oct 21 2008
An investigation uncovers the human failures and design flaws behind the 2003 Columbia tragedy.
Oct 14 2008
A field expedition to collect new fossil clues on Alaska's North Slope reveals details of the lives of polar dinosaurs.
Oct 07 2008
At age 78, E.O. Wilson is still going through his "little savage" phase of boyhood exploration of the natural world. In "Lord of the Ants," NOVA profiles this soft-spoken Southerner and Harvard professor, who is an acclaimed advocate for ants, biological diversity, and the controversial extension of Darwinian ideas to human society. Actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford narrates this engaging portrait of a ceaselessly active scientist and eloquent writer, who has accumulated two Pulitzer Prizes among his many other honors. Says fellow naturalist David Attenborough: "He will go down as the man who opened the eyes of millions 'round the world to the glories, the values, the importance of—to use his term—biodiversity."
May 20 2008
Surviving injuries incurred through childbirth, three Ethiopian women travel to a special hospital in Addis Ababa where they begin to rebuild their lives.
May 13 2008
Tom and Ray Magliozzi of NPR's Car Talk, explore new technologies and ideas for the future of automobiles.
Apr 22 2008
NOVA retraces the paths of a few pioneers who deciphered the complex system of Mayan hieroglyphs.
Apr 08 2008
A look at the 2002 discovery of a four-winged crow-sized dinosaur fossil dubbed Microraptor, which has rekindled the scientific debate over the origins of flight. Included is a wind tunnel test of a "flight-ready" model of the 130 million-year-old Microraptor.
Feb 26 2008
As new research continues to reveal that apes are smarter than previously thought, NOVA explores just what separates humans from the great apes.
Feb 19 2008
NOVA explores the other Cold War space race, the top-secret programs by the U.S. and the USSR, to place military astronauts aboard orbiting spy stations.
Feb 12 2008
A look at the Greek government's Acropolis Restoration Project as they restore the Parthenon and learn its many secrets.
Jan 29 2008
Our mastery of cold is something we take for granted, whether it s air conditioning and frozen food or the liquefied gases and superconductivity at the heart of cutting-edge technology. But what is cold? How do you achieve it, and how cold can it get? This two-part NOVA special brings the history of this frosty fascination to life with brilliant dramatic recreations of high moments in low-temperature research and the quest for ever-lower notches on the thermometer. The first hour, The Conquest of Cold, opens in the 1600s when the nature of cold and heat was a complete mystery. Were they different aspects of the same phenomenon? The experiments that settled these questions helped stoke the Industrial Revolution. In the second hour, The Race For Absolute Zero dramatizes the titanic rivalry between Scottish researcher James Dewar and Dutch physicist Heike Onnes, who plunged cold science to the forbidding realm at which oxygen and then nitrogen turn into liquids. The race continues today as scientists pioneer super-fast computing near absolute zero the ultimate chill of -459.67° F where atoms slow to a virtual standstill.
Jan 15 2008
Our mastery of cold is something we take for granted, whether it s air conditioning and frozen food or the liquefied gases and superconductivity at the heart of cutting-edge technology. But what is cold? How do you achieve it, and how cold can it get? This two-part NOVA special brings the history of this frosty fascination to life with brilliant dramatic recreations of high moments in low-temperature research and the quest for ever-lower notches on the thermometer. The first hour, The Conquest of Cold, opens in the 1600s when the nature of cold and heat was a complete mystery. Were they different aspects of the same phenomenon? The experiments that settled these questions helped stoke the Industrial Revolution. In the second hour, The Race For Absolute Zero dramatizes the titanic rivalry between Scottish researcher James Dewar and Dutch physicist Heike Onnes, who plunged cold science to the forbidding realm at which oxygen and then nitrogen turn into liquids. The race continues today as scientists pioneer super-fast computing near absolute zero the ultimate chill of -459.67° F where atoms slow to a virtual standstill.
Jan 08 2008

Season 34

15 Episodes

In the early 1950s, epic battles unfolded in the skies over North Korea as American and Russian fighters faced off in history's first jet war. This program explores the Korean War's aerial tactics, technology, and grim aftermath for downed pilots, many of whom disappeared without a trace. The Korean War pitted the two most advanced fighters of their day, the American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet MiG-15, in furious air battles in North Korea's notorious "MiG Alley." With the help of dramatic reconstructions, rare archival footage, and interviews with veteran American and Soviet pilots, NOVA puts viewers in the cockpit to experience the lethal split-second duels that erupted in MiG Alley.
Dec 18 2007
The Mofu people of northern Cameroon have a close relationship with insects, in particular, the red driver ants which they use to combat termites.
Nov 20 2007
In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This program was coproduced with Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions, Inc. In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state. "There was a blow-up like you couldn't believe," Bill Buckingham, head of the school board's curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, "laced with Darwinism." NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?" Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature. During the trial, lawyers for the plaintiffs showed that evolution is one of the best-tested and most thoroughly con
Nov 13 2007
Using previously classified documents, NOVA uncovers the secret history of U.S. space programs in the 1950's and how those aspirations were given a boost in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I.
Nov 07 2007
13 amateurs train for the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon.
Oct 30 2007
Experts investigate how a mysterious "second genome" helps determine our biological fates.
Oct 16 2007
NOVA follows the long and exacting centuries-old process of making a Japanese samurai sword, from smelting the ore to the finished katana.
Oct 09 2007
In collaboration with National Geographic Television, NOVA explores new evidence about the last days of the Inca Empire.
Jun 26 2007
NOVA follows a group of paleontologists to a cave in southwestern Australia where the fossils of a meat-eating marsupial lion, and other extinct giant animals, have recently been discovered.
Jun 19 2007
The recent archeological discovery of the Native American Powhatan village of Werowocomoco, sheds new light on the Jamestown story of Pocahontas.
May 08 2007
NOVA explores solar energy and its contribution towards getting humanity off of fossil fuels.
Apr 24 2007
In the remote mountains of China, scientist come closer to understanding the origins of flowers.
Apr 17 2007
NOVA explores the lives of cuttlefish. Not actually fish, these cephalopods can change their shape and color, they can put on dazzling light shows, and they're surprisingly intelligent.
Apr 03 2007
Scientists return to the jungles of Congo to further explore the peaceful lives of bonobos.
Feb 13 2007
Against all odds, African-American chemist Percy Julian became one of the greatest scientists of the 20th-Century.
Feb 06 2007

Season 33

17 Episodes

Follow one man's dream to engeneer a submarine with panaramic views.
Dec 26 2006
Experts explore the mysterious story of five siblings living in a remote Turkish village.
Nov 14 2006
The flamboyant rise and tragic death of pioneering aviator Alberto-Santos Dumont.
Nov 07 2006
Join NOVA on a mind-bending hunt for a monster lurking at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers are closing in on one of the most destructive objects in the universe ñ a supermassive black hole ñ and itís hiding right in the center of our own galaxy. Eventually, it will blast jets of radiation millions of miles its space, incinerating everything in its neighborhood, including planet Earth. For a long time, black holes were dismissed as pure science fiction. Even Albert Einstein could not bring himself to accept them, despite pioneering the theory of relativity that predicted their existence. But recently, scientists have found convincing evidence that black holes are not only real but are crucial to the life and death of galaxies everywhere in the cosmos.From the explosive birth of a black hole to its cannibalistic death throes, NOVA investigates one of the universeís darkest secrets. With striking special effects, Monster of the Milky Way takes viewers on a scientifically accurate voyage into the belly of a supermassive black hole. When will it erupt and destroy the Milky Way?
Oct 31 2006
On March 27, 1977, on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, two fully loaded 747 jumbo jets collided on a fogbound runway, killing 583 people in what is still the deadliest crash in aviation history. NOVA looks back at the crucial final hours before the disaster. Despite new technology to improve runway safety, near-misses on the ground are still the leading cause of deadly aviation accidents.
Oct 17 2006
Researchers unearth clues about the greatest Volcanic eruption of the past 100000 years.
Sep 26 2006
Can lessons learned from the Twin Towers' collapse make new buildings safer?
Sep 05 2006
Everyone has heard of global warming, but a lesser-known man-made phenomenon has been nearly as powerful at affecting Earth's climate. A look at global dimming, created by soot and pollution reflecting the sun's rays and surprisingly helping to offset global warming's catastrophic advance.
Apr 18 2006
A mission to Saturn and its enigmatic sattelite, Titan, looks for clues to the origins of life.
Apr 04 2006
Driverless vehicles compete in a 130-mile race across the Majove Desert.
Mar 28 2006
Mar 07 2006
NOVA recreates the expeditions of Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen, two Arctic explorers who set out to find the legendary Arctic sea route known as the Northwest Passage.
Feb 28 2006
A 40-year hunt for solar neutrinos leads to a new understanding of matter itself.
Feb 21 2006
David Attenborough probes the mystery of ancient life-forms perfectly preserved in amber.
Feb 14 2006
Forensic investigators tease secrets from the well preserved bodies of people buried long ago under peat bogs.
Feb 07 2006
Doctors, rescuers and mountaineers try to determine why people die attempting to climb Mount McKinley.
Jan 17 2006
Could a mummy found in Niagara Falls be the remains of a long-lost Pharaoh?
Jan 03 2006

Season 32

14 Episodes

The narration is melodramatic, some of the interviews feel stagy--but the footage of Hurricane Katrina and its horrendous aftermath is staggering. Hurricane Katrina - The Storm That Drowned a City, a NOVA special, begins a year earlier, when a team of scientists created a computer simulation of the destructive effect a powerful storm could have on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Though local officials took it seriously, the federal response was skeptical, and little was done to strengthen the city's protection. Using a combination of remarkable video of the developing storm and interviews with scientists, city residents (black and white), and member of the Army Corps of Engineers, Hurrican Katrina builds a compelling story of the disaster as it unfolded. Sophisticated graphics explain how hurricanes form and how the levees failed. The special touches lightly on the possibility that global warming may be exacerbating the intensity of hurricanes, but shies away from the political storm of the meager federal response to the devastation of New Orleans. The result is a vivid, detailed description of the natural disaster, but an incomplete portrait of the social one. --Bret Fetzer
Nov 22 2005
This docudrama looks at Isaac Newton's discoveries in mathematics, physics and optics, as well as his lesser known pursuit of alchemy and hidden meanings in the Bible.
Nov 15 2005
One of the most daring clandestine operations of World War II was the 1944 sinking of the Norwegian ferry Hydro with its cargo of "heavy water" destined for the Nazis' secret atomic bomb project. Although the mission was declared a success, no one ever established if the special shipment was actually on board. In this program, NOVA descends 1,300 feet beneath a remote Norwegian lake to find the answer.
Nov 08 2005
A restless mountain threatens a bustling metropolis perched on its flanks.
Nov 01 2005
Exactly 100 years ago, Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary Special Theory of Relativity and came to a startling conclusion: mass and energy are one, related by the formula E = mc2. Among Einstein's ideas, E = mc2 is by far the most famous. Yet how many people know what it really means? In a thought-provoking and engrossing documentary, Einstein's Big Idea illuminates this deceptively simple formula by unrevealing the story of how it came to be.
Oct 11 2005
The search for the wreck of the Yamato, the largest and mightiest battleship ever floated and the pride of the Japanese Imperial Fleet. Constructed in absolute secrecy and sunk by American planes toward the end of World War II, her rapid demise had been a mystery, rather like a military Titanic.
Oct 04 2005
It was the greatest flood of the past two million years, and it posed a giant scientific riddle. A maverick geologist became convinced that thousand-foot-deep floodwaters had scoured out vast areas of the American northwest near the end of the last ice age. Mainstream scientists scorned his theory while he searched patiently for answers to what could have triggered such an inconceivably violent event. Finally, an ingenious solution silenced the skeptics: traces of an enormous ice dam half a mile high, which had blocked a valley in present-day Montana and created an enormous lake behind it. With the help of stunningly realistic animation, NOVA takes viewers back to the Ice Age to reveal what happened when the dam broke, unleashing a titanic flood that swept herds of woolly mammoth and everything else into oblivion.
Sep 20 2005
On December 26, 2004 a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean kills more than 250,000 people. NOVA takes an in depth look at just what happened on that fateful day.
Mar 29 2005
In 1909, Louis Bleriot undertakes a heroic first-ever flight over the English Channel.
Feb 22 2005
A team of experts takes on the preservation of the origianl Constitution, Declaration of Indipendance and Bill of Rights.
Feb 15 2005
Ever since its sensational unveiling by Yale University scholars in October 1965, the Vinland Map has been a lightning rod for passionate debate. Most reviews of the arguments, including NOVA's program, have focused on scientific tests designed to gauge the authenticity of the map's ink. The opinions of experts in cartography and historical manuscripts have commanded much less attention, yet from the outset scholars in these disciplines pointed out glaring anomalies in the case for the Vinland Map's authenticity.
Feb 08 2005
A chronicle of the turbulent birth, life and death of the Concorde, the world's first and only supersonic airliner.
Jan 18 2005
For decades, a fossil skull discovered in Piltdown, England, was hailed as the missing link between apes and humans. Entire careers were built on its authenticity. Then in 1953, the awful truth came out: "Piltdown Man" was a fake! But who done it? In "The Boldest Hoax," NOVA gets to the bottom of the greatest scientific hoodwinking of all time.
Jan 11 2005
The great PBS science series Nova scores another hit with Mars: Dead or Alive, capturing all the excitement surrounding the Mars rover landings of early 2004. Originally broadcast just as the first of the twin rovers (”Spirit” and “Opportunity”) was experiencing temporary communication problems with Earth-bound mission controllers, this riveting hour-long episode chronicles the risky $820 million Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project from design to touchdown, dramatically illustrating (through the use of detailed simulations and sophisticated computer animation) the considerable chances of failure–a nail-biting gamble considering that fully two-thirds of all previous Mars missions never reached their destination. Through rigorous testing and initial failure of the MER parachute system to the celebrated transmission of pristine photos from the “Spirit” landing site, we see just how intensely complex and emotionally involving the missions are, especially for Cornell University astronomer and lead MER scientist Steve Squyres and his devoted team of colleagues at Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Careers are on the line as technical problems accumulate, and one feels the same mixture of dread, anxiety, and elation that accompanied the historic return of Apollo 13. A bonus interview with Mars-mission pioneer Donna Shirley puts everything into resonant perspective, celebrating science and the MER missions as an essential human endeavor. Inside NASA's risky field trip to the Red Planet. Two-thirds of all spacecraft previously launched to Mars never reached their destination. Now, in a pioneering and risky mission, twin rovers named Spirit and Opportunity hurtle toward Mars at 12,000 miles per hour, with Spirit scheduled to touch down first. In the final “six minutes of terror” a parachute will open, giant protective airbags will inflate around the lander, and retrorockets will fire for a few seconds before Spirit is cut loose, bouncing its way to wha
Jan 04 2005

Season 31

18 Episodes

Isreal's remote Cave of Letters holds clues to a Jewish uprising against the Romans.
Nov 23 2004
Archeologists excavate Stalag Luft 3, the site of the greatest WWII prisoner escape. Prisoners of the camp are also interviewed.
Nov 16 2004
Who were the first Ameicans and where did they come from?
Nov 09 2004
Examine the complex case of Typhoid Mary, a cook that was quaratined for life against her will in the early 1900s.
Oct 12 2004
NOVA reports on the different ways scientists explain how life emerged on Earth. The program relates the discovery of extremophiles—bacteria that thrive in harsh subterranean and deep ocean environments similar to those believed to have existed on primitive Earth and describes an attempt to determine when life began on Earth by searching rock formations in Greenland for higher-than-expected ratios of carbon 12 to carbon 13 (in ratios currently only known to be created by life processes).
Sep 29 2004
NOVA explores the search for extraterrestrial life. The program describes the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a program that scans star systems for radio transmissions from advanced extraterrestrial civilizations and introduces the Drake equation, created by SETI founder Frank Drake, which attempts to quantify the probability of intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy.
Sep 29 2004
NOVA chronicles the discoveries that led to scientists' current understanding of how the universe was formed. The program describes the serendipitous discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, a faint energy signal believed to be left over from the big bang.
Sep 28 2004
NOVA traces Earth's geologic evolution. The program chronicles the formation of Earth from solar system dust particles that coalesced and became one of the four rocky planets closest to the sun.
Sep 28 2004
Can the US military's high tech weaponry prevail against insurgants.
May 04 2004
Nova investigates the impact of forces that are radically changing populations in both rich and poor nations.
Apr 20 2004
Nova investigates the impact of forces that are radically changing populations in both rich and poor nations.
Apr 20 2004
Scientists, meteorologists and storm chasers try to uncover the secrets of F5 tornadoes, the largest, most powerful and most dangerous on Earth. Included are looks at how funnels form and the devastating 2003 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, plus "tornado tourists," who pay companies to take them to the ferocious phenomena to see them first-hand.
Mar 30 2004
An American mobile hospital mobilized in Iraq faces a daily drama of war-time treatment.
Mar 02 2004
One of the most exhaustive investigations in aviation history reveals telling clues to the cause of a dissaster off Nova Scotia.
Feb 17 2004
A team of "glacionauts" verntures into a labyrinth of unexplored and hazardous glacier caves on France's Mt. Blanc.
Feb 10 2004
NOVA goes beyond the wagging tails and floppy ears to reveal surprising insights into the origin and evolutionary strategy of our canine companions. From a wolf research facility in rural Indiana to New York’s Westminster Dog Show, you’ll discover some amazing dog facts. Did you know the Saluki can beat any other mammal on earth in a three-mile race? That dogs developed spots for a specific reason? And that their evolution is helping us learn about our own?
Feb 03 2004
Rare lemurs and crocodiles with bizarre cave-dwelling behavior draw scientists to remote corner of Madagascar.
Jan 20 2004
The journey to Mars to search for evidence of past water.
Jan 04 2004

Season 30

17 Episodes

Join a scientific expedition to the glacier-capped summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain.
Nov 18 2003
Is the magnetic field protecting Earth from deadly radiation about to reverse direction or even dissapear?
Nov 18 2003
Relive the engineering challenges that two bicycle makers overcame to become the first in flight.
Nov 11 2003
String theory is radically changing our ideas about the nature of space, opening up the possibility that extra dimensions, rips in the fabric of space, and parallel universes actually exist.
Nov 04 2003
In order to solve some of the deepest mysteries of the universe, the rules that govern large objects like galaxies must be combined with the rules that govern small objects like subatomic particles.
Oct 28 2003
An introduction to string theory and its unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Oct 28 2003
Forensic experts investigate the most famous aviation mystery of World War 1.
Oct 07 2003
A battered manuscript turns up after 1000 years revealing the mind of the Greek genius Archimedes
Sep 30 2003
On April 25, 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick published their groundbreaking discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, the molecule essential for passing on our genes and the ''secret of life.'' But their crucial breakthrough depended on the pioneering work of another biologistÐRosalind Franklin. She would never know that Watson and Crick had seen a crucial piece of her data without her permission. This was an X-ray image, ''Photo 51,'' that proved to be a vital clue in their decoding of the double helix. 50 years later, NOVA investigates the shocking truth behind one of the greatest scientific discoveries and presents a moving portrait of a brilliant woman in an era of male-dominated science. Sadly, Franklin never lived to see her vital role in the discovery vindicated. While Watson and Crick went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1962, Franklin died in 1958, at 37, from ovarian cancer; and the Nobel is not awarded posthumously. Hear the inside story from Maurice Wilkins, the colleague who showed her crucial x-ray to Watson; Raymond Gosling, FranklinÕs Ph.D. student with whom she made Photo 51; and Nobel Prize winner Sir Aaron Klug, FranklinÕs last collaborator, who shows new evidence of just how close Franklin came to making the vital double helix discovery herself.
Apr 15 2003
In 1989 marine biologist Alexandre Meinesz went diving off southern France and was stunned by what he saw: a dense blanket of waving green fronds stretching around him in every direction on the seabed. At first Meinesz had no idea what it was. Then he made the alarming discovery that a tropical alga had taken root in the cold water of the Mediterranean, wiping out native sea life wherever it grew. "Deep Sea Invasion" follows Meinesz on his scientific detective hunt to discover the source of this deadly organism, his uphill battle to alert authorities to its danger, and the struggle to find a non-toxic way to control it.
Apr 01 2003
"Dirty Bomb" probes the realities and implications for public health policy of a disaster that many consider to be all but inevitable: a terrorist attack on a major city using a radioactive "dirty bomb." The program strives to answer crucial questions about this menacing new weapon in the terrorists' arsenal, questions such as: What exactly is a dirty bomb? How dangerous could one be, and how much radiation could it release? What will need to be done to clean up after an explosion?
Feb 25 2003
Before Leonardo da Vinci painted "The Last Supper," Tibetan craftsmen were creating stunning artistry of their deities in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Mustang. In "Lost Treasures of Tibet," NOVA goes behind the scenes with the first conservation team from the West, as it undertakes the painstaking restoration of these ancient masterpieces and the beautiful monasteries that house them.
Feb 18 2003
In this high-altitude adventure, Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air, world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, and their team of climbers, scientists, and filmmakers take a trailblazing expedition to the top of Antarctica's tallest peak, Vinson. Along the way, their experiences are contrasted with those of Norwegian adventurer Roald Amundsen and British explorer Robert Falcon Scott who in 1911 raced to be first to reach the South Pole. Join NOVA and battle 60-mile-an-hour winds and temperatures as low as 35 degrees below zero. Learn about the horrible fate that befell Scott and his team after reaching the South Pole one month after Amundsen. See spectacular panoramic footage. Top scientists join mountaineers on an expedition to explore Antarctica and climb to Vinson Massif, which stands as the highest peak in the continent. Expert mountaineer Jon Krakuer narrates this documentary that also includes a look back to the year 1912 when Scott and Amundsen raced to reach the South Pole.
Feb 11 2003
A behind the scenes look at the competition to build the Joint Strike Fighter. Cameras follow engineering teams from Boeing and Lockheed Martin as each makes fateful design decisions.
Feb 04 2003
NOVA chronicles the discovery of a "living fossil," a fish called the coelacanth that has remained relatively unchanged since prehistoric times. The program recalls Darwin's prediction that some creatures would have not undergone any major adaptations due to selective pressures and would have remained relatively the same since prehistoric times.
Jan 21 2003
On March 25, 1944, a U.S. Navy bomber disappeared into the fog over the Bering Sea heading for a Japanese target. Fifty-five years later it has suddenly reemerged with a remarkable tale. NOVA travels to the plane's final resting place to unravel the mystery. Using clues found at the crash site and the latest forensic techniques, a U.S. government team gets to the bottom of this half-century-old disappearance.
Jan 14 2003
The air war in Afghanistan showed that sometimes the hottest pilots are sitting on the ground operating the remote controls of UAVs—or unmanned aerial vehicles. In newly declassified footage, "Spies That Fly" reveals the astounding capabilities of UAVs and the ambitious plans for future models.
Jan 07 2003

Season 29

15 Episodes

For nine months in 2000, Tom Hart Dyke was a captive of guerrillas who seized him while he was collecting wild orchids in the Colombian rain forest. Now Hart Dyke is at it again in the most orchid-rich and one of the most politically unstable parts of Irian Jaya, the western half of the island of New Guinea.
Nov 26 2002
Experts struggle to save the City of Canals before it vanishes beneath the waves.
Nov 19 2002
In January 1993, six scientists and three hikers were scalded and crushed to death when they ventured into the smoking mouth of the active volcano Galeras in Colombia, confident that no eruption was imminent. This program tells the gripping story of this controversial field trip and the quest to predict when volcanoes will blow.
Nov 12 2002
In this two-hour special, NOVA celebrates the story of the father of modern science and his struggle to get Church authorities to accept the truth of his astonishing discoveries. The program is based on Dava Sobel's bestselling book, Galileo's Daughter, which reveals a new side to the famously stubborn scientist—that his closest confidante was his illegitimate daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, a cloistered nun.
Oct 29 2002
Experts rescue priceless mosaics from an ancient city that is about to disappear beneath a reservoir.
Oct 08 2002
Toxic caverns teaming with strange life-forms spark a brand new theory about how caves form.
Oct 01 2002
Doctors combat the deadliest for of meningitis which strikes young people out of the blue.
Sep 03 2002
Fire Wars 29x08
In the program, NOVA accompanies the men and women of a wildland firefighting crew known as the Arrowhead Hotshots as they battle one of the most destructive wildfire seasons ever, the summer of 2000.
May 07 2002
Can lessons learned from the Twin Towers' collapse make new buildings safer?
Apr 30 2002
In October and November 1999, NOVA journeyed into ice-choked Antarctic waters and onto the shores of rugged Elephant and South Georgia Islands as we followed in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This legendary explorer's 1914-1916 Endurance expedition is one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Then, in April 2000, we returned to document Shackleton's final trial -- the crossing of South Georgia -- by three of the world's most distinguished mountaineers, Reinhold Messner, Conrad Anker and Stephen Venables. Follow the expeditions as they unfolded in real-time on this Web site, and also watch for a NOVA Giant Screen Film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, as well as a NOVA program, "Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance," which originally aired on March 26, 2002.
Mar 26 2002
A paleontological tour-de-force and suspenseful scientific detective story, the program documents the search for the ancestor of all four-limbed animals, including humans.
Feb 26 2002
The program chronicles the lives and covert activities of the so-called "atom spies" in the 1940's, including the big one that got away, Theodore Alvin Hall.
Feb 05 2002
This explosive NOVA presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how hi-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science.
Feb 05 2002
The film probes the enigma of our Neanderthal cousins and the roots of our own ancestry.
Jan 22 2002
The program probes the deep mysteries of gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful celestial explosions since the big bang.
Jan 08 2002

Season 28

19 Episodes

The program, with Sir David Attenborough narrating, celebrates the extraordinary antics male bowerbirds get up to when courting a female.
Dec 25 2001
Marked by striking imagery and a poetic style, the film dramatizes the life cycle of the world's oldest living thing, the bristlecone pine of California's White Mountains.
Dec 11 2001
A sequel to the most popular NOVA of all time, "Miracle of Life," the program once again uses the extraordinary microimagery of Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson to track human development from embryo to newborn.
Nov 20 2001
Bioterror 28x16
The film follows three New York Times reporters as they delve into the murky past of bioweapons research and grapple with the current threat of anthrax and other attacks.
Nov 13 2001
Nov 06 2001
The film investigates the complicated world of gender identity.
Oct 30 2001
This NOVA program delves into the mind-tingling efforts of neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran to discover how the brain works.
Oct 23 2001
The program investigates the brave new world of assisted reproduction.
Oct 09 2001
The program chronicles the tobacco industry's decades long effort to create a "safer" cigarette.
Oct 02 2001
A gene from a jellyfish is placed in a potato plant, making it light up whenever it needs watering. Rice plants are genetically transformed to produce vitamin A, preventing millions of African children from going blind. Other plants are modified to produce plastic or pharmaceuticals. While many see these as wondrous advancements, others fear they could spawn serious new threats to human health, a loss of genetic viability in our most important crop species, and other signficant and perhaps unforeseen problems. In "Harvest of Fear," NOVA and FRONTLINE join forces to explore the growing controversy over genetically modified agriculture.
Apr 24 2001
This two-hour special, hosted by ABC "Nightline" correspondent Robert Krulwich, chronicles the race to capture one of the biggest prizes in scientific history: the complete letter-by-letter sequence of genetic information that defines human life -- the human genome.
Apr 17 2001
In 1987 NOVA embarked with seven brilliant, natural-born survivors on the longest-running boot camp in higher education: the nearly decade-long process of training to be a fully qualified doctor. Now all but one of them (who switched careers) are out in the world in high-powered medical careers, trying to balance the demands of work, families, and personal lives, as NOVA reports on Survivor MD, which airs in three one-hour segments.
Apr 10 2001
In 1987 NOVA embarked with seven brilliant, natural-born survivors on the longest-running boot camp in higher education: the nearly decade-long process of training to be a fully qualified doctor. Now all but one of them (who switched careers) are out in the world in high-powered medical careers, trying to balance the demands of work, families, and personal lives, as NOVA reports on Survivor MD, which airs in three one-hour segments.
Apr 03 2001
In "Tattooed Doctor," the first hour of NOVA's "Survivor M.D." series, emergency-room physician Dr. Tom Tarter eloquently describes some of the challenges and rewards of emergency medicine.
Mar 27 2001
The program follows the extraordinary odyssey of surgeon-turned-researcher Dr. Judah Folkman, who, together with colleagues at Children's Hospital in Boston, has spent over 30 years searching for ways to curb cancer by cutting off blood flow to tumors.
Feb 27 2001
The film follows the work of archeologists who are using new excavations and hieroglyphic translations to interpret the early history of Copán, a Classic Maya site in northern Honduras.
Feb 13 2001
The program documents a series of spectacular escape attempts made at Colditz Castle, the Nazi's most impregnable prison.
Feb 06 2001
Vanished! 28x02
The program investigates the mysterious disappearance -- and, half a century later, reappearance -- of Stardust, a civilian aircraft that crashed in the Andes in 1947.
Jan 30 2001
The program follows a French-led expedition to recover thousands of porcelain and other artifacts from a centuries-old Chinese shipwreck off the coast of Brunei.
Jan 16 2001

Season 27

21 Episodes

The program chronicles a year in the life of wildlife and people around Lake Biwa, Japan, a cycle that has continued unchanged for thousands of years.
Dec 18 2000
The film examines a disturbing increase in the prevalence of debilitating and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders, particularly anorexia and bulimia.
Dec 12 2000
The film takes a look at the extraordinary natural history of the Seychelles, an ancient archipelago of about 100 islands scattered between India and Madagascar.
Nov 28 2000
The program follows the efforts of two rival teams of astronomers as they search for exploding stars, map out gigantic cosmic patterns of galaxies, and grapple with the ultimate question: What is the fate of the universe?
Nov 21 2000
The film follows a six-year odyssey by a group of divers to identify a mysterious U-boat they discovered in 1991 off the coast of New Jersey
Nov 14 2000
The film uses a celebrated recent trial as a springboard to examine and successfully challenge the notion of Holocaust denial
Oct 31 2000
The film chronicles an expedition to study and retrieve parts of the USS Monitor, the famous Civil War ironclad, which sank off North Carolina only months after its famous battle with the CSS Virginia.
Oct 24 2000
In this two-hour special, NOVA presents a dramatic investigation of a people who were much more than axe-wielding pirates. It features stunning camerawork in Scandinavia and the far-flung countries that the Vikings penetrated, while historians and archaeologists present us with an image of the Vikings that goes far deeper than their savage stereotype. The latest research shows that they were canny merchants, expert shipbuilders, superb artisans, and bold colonizers of lands that lay beyond the edge of the known world.
May 09 2000
The broadcast explores America's manned space program and the crisis caused by Russia's delay in delivering the critical third piece of the International Space Station.
Apr 25 2000
In "What's Up with the Weather?" NOVA and FRONTLINE join forces to investigate the science and politics of one of the most controversial issues of the 21st century: the truth about global warming.
Apr 18 2000
The film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, documents a 1999 effort by a NOVA-assembled crew of scholars and timber framers to design and build a Chinese bridge known only from an ancient painting.
Feb 29 2000
At the heart of Jewish tradition lies the haunting mystery of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Ever since their defeat and banishment by the Assyrians in 722 BC., the Lost Tribes fate has inspired countless claims to Jewish ancestry by groups scattered on every continent. But now, surprisingly, new advances in genetics are dispelling myth and fantasy, and raising a curtain on the forgotten reality of the dispersal that happened so many centuries ago. This story will follow the first attempt to use the new tests to investigate a seemingly improbable African candidate for a Lost Tribe. It will dramatize a scientific quest that leads from the gene labs of London to the remote bush country of Zimbabwe and the lunar-like desert wilderness of southern Yemen.
Feb 22 2000
In the film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, an international crew of archeologists, engineers, and historians designs, builds, and tests a functioning Roman bath in the Turkish countryside.
Feb 22 2000
In 1996, near Kennewick, Washington, a suspected murder victim is identified by forensic anthropologists as Caucasian - but turns out to be almost 10,000 years old. For fifty years our picture of prehistoric America has rested on the premise that the earliest inhabitants of the Americas were east Asians of mongoloid stock, the ancestors of today's Native Americans. But the discovery of the Kennewick Man, along with several other startling finds in recent years, has thrown that once widely accepted idea into question and revolutionized the science of paleo-anthropology. It has also embroiled scientists in a bitter conflict with Native American groups who want the scientific study of early Americans halted. Who and what do Kennewick Man and others represent? NOVA is following the efforts of paleo-anthropologists work to decode the story in the bones of people who died 10,000 years ago.
Feb 15 2000
The film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, showcases the efforts of a team of archeologists, engineers, and other experts to transport an Easter Island moai, or carved stone monolith, overland and successfully raise it onto a pedestal.
Feb 15 2000
The film tells the fascinating story of the invention of the Black-Scholes Formula, a mathematical Holy Grail that forever altered the world of finance and earned its creators the 1997 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Feb 08 2000
In the film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, NOVA brings together a team of Egyptologists, engineers, stonemasons, and timber framers to probe the mystery of how the ancients shaped, transported, and erected their elegant obelisks.
Feb 08 2000
The film documents the efforts of researchers around the world to create synthetic diamonds, some of which have become so indistinguishable from natural diamonds as to fool experts.
Feb 01 2000
In the film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, a team of timber framers and other specialists design, build, and fire a pair of trebuchets, a devastating engine of war popular in the Middle Ages.
Feb 01 2000
The program chronicles a successful 1999 NOVA expedition to investigate the mysterious disappearance of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine high on Everest in 1924. During this expedition, which included a NOVA/PBS Online Adventure, Mallory's body was found, though the mystery only deepened.
Jan 18 2000
In this NOVA program, our cinematographer literally filmed inside a hive and followed bees in flight to capture closeups of honeybee behavior.
Jan 04 2000

Season 26

16 Episodes

The program tells the story of a handful of brilliant, obsessed surgeons and researchers who have pursued the target of a practical artificial heart for decades.
Dec 21 1999
Buried in mud beneath the shallow waters of Matagorda Bay in Texas, lay a glorious remnant of one of the most ill-fated voyages of the Age of Discovery. After years of searching the area, nautical archaeologists doing a magnetometer survey honed in on a promising site. And on the first day of diving, they were astounded to feel the distinctive outlines of a cannon, and sense the massive size of the wreck. When the cannon was hauled from the water, their hunch was confirmed: This ship, called La Belle, belonged to the 17th Century French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle. NOVA follows the building of a coffer dam and subsequent complete excavation of this remarkable site. Preserved were not only armaments and trade beads, but also a wealth of organic material—the wooden hull, leather shoes, and even a skeleton—that brings the voyage to life.
Nov 23 1999
Most historians agree that by enabling Allied commanders to eavesdrop on German plans, Station X shortened the war by 2 or 3 years. Its decoded messages played a vital role in defeating the U-boat menace, cutting off Rommel's supplies in North Africa, and launching the D-Day landings. Now, for the first time on television, a 2-hour NOVA Special tells the full story of Station X, drawing on vivid interviews with many of the colorful geniuses and eccentrics who attacked the Enigma. Wartime survivors recall such vivid episodes as the British capture of the German submarine U-110; one of its officers describes how he saved a book of love poems inscribed to his sweetheart but failed to destroy vital Enigma documents on board. "Decoding Nazi Secrets" also features meticulous period reenactments shot inside the original buildings at Station X, including recreations of the world's first computing devices that aided codebreakers with their breakthroughs. Station X not only helped reverse the onslaught of the Third Reich, but also laid the groundwork for the invention of the digital computer that continues to transform all our lives.
Nov 09 1999
In the far north of Japan, thrust out into the north Pacific, is the remote island of Hokkaido. It's a land of towering volcanoes and steaming lakes, marshy valleys and fairy tale forests. Among this magical scenery, where summers are brief and winters are fierce, lives an extraordinary spectrum of life, found nowhere else in Japan. Here among the coastal lowlands, grizzly bears plunge into icy streams for salmon, Japanese cranes perform balletic courtship dances to one another, the rare and enormous Blakistons fish owl swoops on flying squirrels, and white-tailed eagles scan the rugged ocean cliffs for unsuspecting seabirds. HIgh on the mountains Asiatic pikas, arctic hares and Siberian chipmunks gather food, ever-watchful for the predatory sable. We think of Japan as a highly-populated, ultra modern society, and yet it remains a highly spiritual place where wildlife is treasured and carefully protected. Weaving Ainu legend with fascinating natural behavior, this film will follow the lives of Hokkaido's special creatures through the seasons, to capture the true essence and beauty of this other-worldly place.
Nov 02 1999
The death of Marilyn Sheppard in 1954 is one of the most famous unsolved murders in America. The indictment of her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, quickly became the "Trial of the Century," then the "Re-Trial of the Century," making a celebrity out of lawyer F. Lee Bailey. Although most of the forensic evidence gathered in 1954 was ignored during Sheppard's trial, it is being re-examined with today's advanced technology. Like an intricate puzzle, the clues come together to overturn previous assumptions about the killer and point to an entirely new suspect. NOVA assembles a notable team of experts—including Barry Scheck, a well-known lawyer from the O.J. Simpson trial—and builds a precise replica of the Sheppard house, complete with the original furniture. With this unique revisiting of a vanished crime scene, NOVA investigates a horrifying and sensational milestone in forensic science.
Oct 19 1999
Is time travel anything more than sci-fi fantasy? Many leading physicists now believe that time travel is not only possible in theory but are discussing how to build a time machine. Physicist Kip Thorne tells NOVA how humankind's infinitely advanced descendants might go about achieving it with "quantum wormholes" and some "exotic matter." Demonstrating that faster-than-light travel may be possible, German physicist Guenter Nimtz claims to have transmitted Mozart's 40th Symphony across his lab at 4.7 times the speed of light. Impossible, yes, but recorded by NOVA's cameras and perhaps another step on the road to reaching the future or the past. The truth about time travel is wrapped up in the detail of how our universe works and how it all began. Mind-boggling as these perspectives are, NOVA dramatizes them in a playful and visually dazzling style that will captivate viewers and sweep them along on the ultimate thrill ride.
Oct 12 1999
The film explores why the famous tower of Pisa hasn't fallen over yet and investigates the many efforts taken to preserve this medieval treasure.
Oct 05 1999
Mar 30 1999
Feb 23 1999
Feb 17 1999
Feb 17 1999
Feb 16 1999
Feb 16 1999
The past five years have seen remarkable progress in both treatment and basic understanding of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. In laboratories and clinics across the country and around the world, scientists and doctors have pooled their expertise to keep people infected with HIV alive and disease-free longer than was imaginable at the start of the epidemic. And now, through what may well be an unprecedented cross-fertilization process among molecular biologists, immunologists, geneticists, and practicing physicians, a series of discoveries about HIV-infected patients who have successfully fought off AIDS for as long as 20 years are being closely analyzed for clues to the ultimate goal in this fierce scientific battle—a vaccine. NOVA tells the story of this ongoing battle through the experiences of patients like Robert Massie, a "long-term non-progressor." Massie, a 43-year old environmental activist and Episcopalian minister was infected by a blood transfusion in 1978 and after an acute period of illness, somehow his immune system has kept the HIV virus at bay without drugs. Surviving AIDS reveals the scientific community engaged in an enormous and ongoing struggle, with discoveries traveling from labs to patients and back. And NOVA brings together the most promising research with compelling human stories of the patients and doctors who are devoting themselves to unraveling one of the most complicated mysteries in scientific history.
Feb 02 1999
At the height of the Cold War, US subs gathered secrets that neither spies nor satellites could expose. Until recently, almost nobody knew the hidden history of their tragedies and triumphs. As the US strove for supremacy in the Cold War, it pushed submarine technology to its limits. Breakthroughs led to unparalleled triumphs of espionage. And, missteps cost hundreds their lives. With recently declassified film, NOVA lifts the veil on tragic and mysterious submarine accidents and their high-risk spy missions that helped win the Cold War. Along with celebrated oceanographer and explorer, Robert Ballard (discoverer of the Titanic), NOVA goes in search of clues to two tragedies of the Cold War, the wrecks of the nuclear submarines Thresher and Scorpion. Recently declassified footage gives a unique glimpse of the wrecks and a chance to investigate the catastrophic accidents that overtook these subs and their crew.
Jan 19 1999
Is it just a fairy tale, or could a primeval beast lurk in the deep, dark waters of a Scottish lake? Since it was first reported more than 60 years ago, hundreds claim to have witnessed the Loch Ness Monster, while one scientist after another has brought the latest technology to the loch to probe the phenomenon. Twenty-five years after their first, groundbreaking expedition to Loch Ness, NOVA joins two American scientists as they return to Scotland for one last go at Nessie. During a three-week expedition, they use state-of-the-art sonar and sensitive underwater cameras in an attempt to track down and identify the elusive beast. Biologists study the ecosystem of the loch to determine if it could support a large animal. Geologists study its history, looking for clues about what kind of creature might have colonized it, and when. NOVA examines the photographic evidence in the case. And eyewitnesses vividly recount their sightings. Could this legendary creature be real, perhaps a relic from the time of dinosaurs? Or is it a shared illusion—a product of myth, mirage and wishful thinking?
Jan 12 1999

Season 25

20 Episodes

The pearl—the only gem produced by a living animal—has long carried a certain allure. Yet the best mollusk for making this gem—the pearl oyster—doesn't always produce a pearl, and even then, the pearls are rarely perfectly round. It wasn't until the late nineteenth century, when a Japanese scientist discovered a technique to incite oysters to produce these gems, that an industry was formed. Inducing an oyster to create a pearl is only half the battle—the oyster then needs a nutrient-rich, open environment in which to grow. This NOVA program looks at the science of pearl farming, follows efforts of oyster farmers trying to cope with growing problems of pollution and overcrowding, and considers the shifting sands of dominance within the pearl industry.
Dec 29 1998
Night stalkers by nature, leopards are observed both by night and day, using state-of-the-art camera equipment, to reveal never before seen hunting behavior. Filmed in the Luangua Valley in Zambia, Leopard reveals the challenges and dangers faced daily by these beautiful animals. Shadowed by hungry hyenas in pursuit of leftovers, and stalked by lumbering crocodiles hoping to tackle a lone leopard on a kill, how can they hope to challenge such beasts?
Dec 01 1998
Cutting-edge science and archaeology are reconstructing the life and culture of The Iceman—the 5000-year-old frozen corpse found buried in the ice of the Alps. By analyzing every inch of the Iceman's body and the tools and equipment found with it, scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of the late Stone Age in this part of Europe. X-ray, CAT scan, and microscopic analysis of this spectacular find is revealing where the iceman lived, what he ate, and how he may have died; nuclear physics reveals that the Iceman's hair was contaminated with arsenic and copper, suggesting he was involved in copper production centuries before it was known to exist in the region.
Nov 24 1998
The Siberian Ice Maiden, discovered in the Pastures of Heaven, on the high Steppes, is believed to have been a shamaness of the lost Pazyryk culture. She had been mummified and then frozen by freak climatic conditions around 2400 years ago, along with six decorated horses and a symbolic meal for her last journey. Her body was covered with vivid blue tattoos of mythical animal figures. Together with the newly discovered body of a man, nicknamed "Conan," her body has now been restored, and is providing new clues to the role and power of women in the nomadic peoples of ancient Siberia.
Nov 24 1998
This is the bizarre and fascinating story of the remains of Inca culture, frozen for posterity high in the mountains of the Andes. Evidence has emerged of sacrifice to the mountain gods, whose existence dominated the civilization over 500 years ago. The film traces the frozen bodies of children uncovered by archaeologists in South America, and follows an archaeological expedition to a high-altitude sacred site in search of ritual remains and another body. How did they come to be there? Why did they go to their deaths willingly? What was the religious framework that dictated their sacrifice to fierce gods?
Nov 24 1998
The shattered remnants of the Roman city of Pompeii bear witness to the risk that the people of Naples still face today.
Nov 10 1998
NOVA goes behind the scenes in Hollywood, where the art of illusion meets the science of perception.
Nov 03 1998
Experience the harrowing and life-threatening problems aboard the aging Mir space station through the eyes of the Russian and American astronauts who lived through them. Feel the heat from the fire that erupted on board. See the collision between Mir and another space craft. Endure the power outages and the computer failures that have jeopardized lives. Hear the debate over whether NASA should continue to risk its astronauts by sending them to Mir in preparation for the launch later this year of the most ambitious space project yet—the International Space Station.
Oct 27 1998
A massive planet-sized machine controls our weather day-to-day, and our climate season-to-season. It takes an event of staggering proportions to disrupt a machine this large and powerful, a juggernaut with more energy than a million nuclear bombs. Signs now indicate that such an event is underway - El Niño. More than a series of storms stunning the California coastline, El Niño is second only to the seasons in its effect on global weather. In a P-3 off the coast, a team plunges into a storm front to explore its cause and effects. In a boat off the Galapagos, an array of buoys are checked for temperature and current data. On a mountan in Peru, signs of the devastation of past El Niños are revealed. As scientists push to extremes to explore this phenomenon, they understand for the first time the extent to which all the world's weather is connected, and just how delicate is the balance.
Oct 13 1998
In 1714, following a maritime disaster, British Parliament offers £20,000 for the first reliable method of determining longitude on a ship at sea. It's known that longitude can be found by comparing a ship's local time to the time at the port of origin. The challenge is finding a clock—a chronometer—that can keep time at sea, where temperature changes, humidity, gravity and a ship's movement affect accuracy. NOVA chronicles the seventeenth-century journey to determine longitude.
Oct 06 1998
NOVA reports on new hope for victims of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. Among the promising therapies covered in the program are ones developed by Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Boston University School of Medicine and Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, director of the Male Clinic in Santa Monica, CA. Actual cases are profiled, featuring men talking candidly about their problem—and going through treatment—on camera. Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70.
May 12 1998
An unprecedented look at a dangerous predator, this is the second of three natural history programs hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Surviving virtually unchanged since the days of the dinosaur and found throughout the world, these remarkable creatures have the tools for survival. Long known as vicious hunters, new photographic techniques now allow us to see them cooperating with each other and protecting their families. From tiny babies hatching from the shell we see them grow into great beasts capable of standing up to the lion and bringing down a zebra.
Apr 28 1998
Could the earth as we know it be about to drown? Huge ice sheets in Antarctica may be in the process of collapse, triggering a catastrophic rise in sea level that will inundate the most populous regions of the world. Battle extreme weather conditions in Antarctica with NOVA scientists as they gather data that will reveal new insight into the nature of global climate change.
Apr 21 1998
NOVA follows an international team of archaeologists and spelunkers into the Rio la Venta Gorge deep in the Chiapas jungle of Central America. In a rugged canyon they find caves filled with startling remains of a people called the Zoque who lived hundreds of years before the Maya. The extreme inaccessibility and relative dryness of the caves has preserved rare artifacts including bones, clothes, rope, and jewelry. Moving downstream from the caves the team finds a legendary city hidden in a tangle of jungle vines. Evidence of the Zoque's sophisticated writing system and their practice of ritualistic cannibalism and child sacrifice is shedding new light on a little known civilization.
Mar 31 1998
NOVA treks with a group of Himalayan climbers in their quest to reach the summit of Everest, along the way exploring in never-before-conducted tests how extremes of weather and altitude affect the human mind and body. Why do some people succumb so quickly to the ills caused by high altitude while others do not? Does exposure to extreme hypoxia—or lack of oxygen—take a lasting toll on the mind and body? Images of the brain scanned before and after the expedition may reveal truths about the physical traumas suffered in an oxygen-depleted environment, and give us new insight into why the tallest mountain in the world has claimed so many victims.
Feb 24 1998
In this scientific mystery, NOVA ventures to the front lines of medical research where scientists are scrambling to understand the strange new ailment popularly known as "mad cow disease." Highly infectious and incurable, this disease has claimed the lives of nearly a million cattle in Britain, and a variant is responsible for a handful of deaths in humans. Millions more people may have been exposed, and now the race is on to determine if we are on the brink of another deadly epidemic like AIDS or Ebola. What scientists are finding is making them rethink many fundamental assumptions about epidemiology and may hold startling implications for public health in the future.
Feb 10 1998
Tapping into the clearly demonstrated affection we all have for our pets, this program will offer an offbeat, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad portrait of pets, their owners, and the veterinarians who treat our beloved animals' ailments. From race horses under the knife for cancer treatment, to Manhattan hounds on Prozac, to anorexic boa constrictors, we will show how cutting edge veterinary medicine is saving lives, and draw viewers into the mini-dramas that unfold each day in homes, in zoos, and in veterinary hospitals across the country.
Feb 03 1998
The race to build the world's first supersonic passenger airliner led to a massive espionage effort during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the west. The Soviets started years behind the Concorde team, but espionage enabled Konkordski to beat Concorde into the air by three months. Now, NOVA reveals the cause behind the fatal Konkordski disaster at the 1973 Paris Air Show, which put the Soviet's work on the plane in a deep freeze. In a twist of fate, Konkordski is being resurrected in a NASA initiative to build the second generation of supersonic jets.
Jan 27 1998
Perfectly preserved 3000-year-old mummies have been unearthed in a remote Chinese desert. They have long, blonde hair and blue eyes, and don't appear to be the ancestors of the modern-day Chinese people. Who are these people and how did they end up in China's Takla Makan desert? NOVA takes a glimpse through a crack in the door of history, to a past that has never before been seen outside of China.
Jan 20 1998
Beneath the grassland plains of the Kalahari lies a hidden world of rare and exotic animals. By day, the Kalahari belongs to familiar predators and grazing animals. At night, the earth seems to release scores of seldom seen nocturnal creatures—Bush Babies, Brown Hyenas, Aardvarks and Fungal Termites—in search of food.
Jan 06 1998

Season 24

20 Episodes

NOVA covers the latest efforts to be first to circumnavigate the planet non-stop in a balloon. NOVA's cameras are on board for all three attempts, including that of the long-shot underdog, American Steve Fossett, who rode high-speed winds solo from Missouri to a remote corner of India against incredible odds.
Dec 02 1997
Viewers see what it's like to be overwhelmed by a sudden onslaught of "white death"—an avalanche. Avalanches are an escalating peril as skiers and snowmobilers push the limits into the back country. NOVA witnesses scientists getting buried alive in their attempts to understand these forces of nature.
Nov 25 1997
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, guided sailors in the Mediterranean Sea for 16 centuries. NOVA follows an international team of archeologists, cartographers, topographers, and divers as they catalog and map thousands of previously inaccessible ancient artifacts.
Nov 18 1997
Viewers are sidewalk supervisors for one of the most unusual construction projects in the U.S. - the building of the stunningly beautiful and eminently practical Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River. Contractors faced every obstacle in the book—and then some—to build this complex structure.
Nov 12 1997
Sir David Attenborough hosts a never-before-seen look at one of the most misunderstood creatures in nature. Special photography, including infrared photography, exposes the secret life of the wolf pack.
Nov 11 1997
The Proof 24x15
In a tale of secrecy, obsession, dashed hopes, and brilliant insights, Princeton math sleuth Andrew Wiles goes undercover for eight years to solve history's most famous math problem: Fermat's Last Theorem. His success was front-page news around the world. But then disaster struck.
Oct 28 1997
IRA terrorists and British bomb disposal experts tell behind-the-scenes stories of a a deadly cat-and- mouse game that pits ingenious IRA explosives officers against the most creative bomb squad in the world.
Oct 21 1997
On the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight, Chuck Yeager relives his gutsy assault on the sound barrier and tells how it was done. Other top test pilots of the day—those who survived—describe the dangers, mysteries, and thrill of trying to fly faster than sound at the dawn of the jet age.
Oct 14 1997
Coma 24x12
A famous brain surgeon struggles to save the life of a comatose child using a controversial new method of treating severe head injuries. In charge is Dr. Jan Ghajar, who gained notoriety in 1996 by successfully treating a woman who was savagely beaten in Manhattan's Central Park and expected to die. Dr. Ghajar believes the measure that helped save her life should be available to all.
Oct 07 1997
The world's leading sea horse biologist journeys to Australia and the Philippines to explore the secret lives of these extraordinary fish.
Apr 15 1997
Ever since World War II, physicians have struggled to find ways to treat heart failure, the biggest killer in the modern world.
Apr 08 1997
How do paleontologists and commercial fossil hunters know where to look for rare and priceless dinosaur bones?
Feb 25 1997
Astronomers discover planets beyond our solar system. But is there life on them?
Feb 18 1997
Citizens of Rome came to the Colosseum to behold free entertainment that usually came in the form of violent war games and bloody battles between humans and animals. This structure's most impressive feature was a massive canopy that provided shade from the hot sun. In order to investigate the possible forms the roof may have taken, NOVA's team constructs models at a smaller arena in Spain.
Feb 12 1997
Pharaohs who built magnificent temples to preserve their names for eternity often graced temple gates with pairs of obelisks, four-sided shafts of granite that taper gently upward until the sides meet at the top to form a pyramid shape. NOVA's team of experts attempts to build, transport, and raise a scale model obelisk using those materials available to ancient Egyptian engineers: rope, dirt, sticks, and stones.
Feb 12 1997
Even without such technological advances as wheels, arches, draft animals, iron tools, or a system of writing, the Inca—utilizing a tradition of shared labor—achieved a number of engineering feats. The NOVA team explores both stonework and bridge building, experimenting with dragging and fitting huge stones, and working with the people of an Andean village to create a suspension bridge made only of grass ropes.
Feb 11 1997
A distinctive feature of this stone site are the trilithons, which consist of two upright stones topped by a horizontal lintel stone. In this program, the NOVA team considers how to transport and raise the massive stones, as well as how to place the lintel stone on top. By comparing different strategies and adapting ramps, levers, and other tools that might have been available to the ancient builders, the team works to meet the challenge.
Feb 11 1997
NOVA reveals the ancient secrets of how the pyramids were built by actually building one. A noted Egyptologist, Mark Lehner, and a professional stonemason, Roger Hopkins (This Old House), join forces in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza to put clever and sometimes bizarre pyramid construction theories to the test. Borrows from S19E15 This Old Pyramid
Feb 04 1997
The program follows underwater explorer Robert Ballard as he uses sonar technology to find the Britannic, a ship lost in the Aegean in World War I.
Jan 28 1997
Kaboom! 24x01
An in-depth and heart stopping look at the ultimate chemical reaction - the explosion. Using high speed photography and dramatic reconstruction, the film will chart the tarnished history of explosives: the terrible accidents, the scientific ingenuity and ultimately, the carnage of war and terrorism.
Jan 14 1997

Season 23

20 Episodes

Did the crash of continents that produced the Himalayan Mountains also trigger the Ice Age?
Dec 31 1996
Lennart Nilsson, the famed photographer behind the spectacular glimpse into the mysteries of life before birth in Nova's "Miracle of Life" and "Ultimate Journey", shares some of his secret state-of-the-art microphotography techniques.
Nov 26 1996
This program reveals some of the billions of practically invisible organisms that live on, in, and around us.
Nov 25 1996
NOVA explores the links between our individual development and the evolution of life itself.
Nov 24 1996
Sharks are known as the "perfect predators," but sometimes they slip up and attack the wrong prey—people.
Nov 19 1996
Flights in Russia's powerful fighter jets are for sale to foreign travelers. So is the Russian Air Force still in the game?
Nov 12 1996
With a radically redesigned bill, the U.S. Treasury fights back against a new breed of counterfeiters.
Oct 22 1996
One of the final aeronautics challenges left in the world today does not involve the use of a plane, a rocket, or even an engine. No one has yet been able to circumnavigate the earth in a balloon. Any team attempting the feat would have to fly higher than most planes ever fly and would need a passenger capsule that could both offer protection from extreme cold and carry the proper navigation and life support equipment. Depending on the powerful jet stream to propel them, crew members would have to plot their course carefully and plan their schedule to coincide with the most advantageous winds. Even landing would be a risky venture. This program follows a team of three adventurers as they attempt to make just such a journey.
Oct 15 1996
Helped by remote sensing, an expedition searches Oman's vast al-Khali desert for the lost city of Ubar.
Oct 08 1996
This two-hour program chronicles Albert Einstein's life and scientific achievements from his birth in 1879 to his death in 1955. The first hour follows Einstein in his quest to understand the nature of light. Graphics depict some of Einstein's famous thought experiments, including his eventual understanding of the interplay between the speed of light and time and his development of the special theory of relativity. The program also goes into great depth about Einstein's personal life, including his romance with and marriage to fellow student Mileva Maric and the death of his father. The second hour unfolds with Einstein preoccupied with finding a theory that accounts for gravitation and determining what orders the universe. Einstein addresses gravitation in the universe with his general theory of relativity. This is confirmed experimentally in 1919 when a solar eclipse reveals stars in positions that could best be explained by his theory: that gravity causes light to bend.
Oct 01 1996
Bombing is on the rise across the United States. But science is fighting back. Hidden within the chaos of a crime scene lie clues that can solve the case. Can science help stop the "Bombing of America"?
Apr 16 1996
Explore the unique culture of the Yanomami, an isolated tribe living deep in the Amazonian rainforest.
Apr 09 1996
Apr 02 1996
Flood! 23x07
The Great Flood of 1993 leaves a wake of destruction across the Midwest. Can rivers ever be contained?
Mar 26 1996
Carl Sagan and other scientists investigate claims that people have been visited or abducted by aliens.
Feb 27 1996
Feb 20 1996
AKA Inside an Outbreak The Ebola filovirus causes a very deadly and highly contagious disease. Outbreaks thus far have been limited due to the implementation of strict isolation, sterilization, and waste disposal procedures; the remoteness of areas in which the outbreaks appeared; and the fact that the virus kills so quickly that many of its victims die before it can be transmitted. Most recently, the Ebola virus struck in the city of Kikwit in Zaire, Africa, in early 1995 and killed almost 250 people before it was contained. Medical experts and relief workers went to work quickly to locate victims, to provide educational and prevention services to neighbors and families, and to research the Ebola virus. This NOVA program follows the medical researchers and doctors as they work to prevent the virus from wiping out an entire community and to locate where the virus originated.
Feb 06 1996
Travel on a perilous mission to repair and refly a rare B-29 bomber stranded on a Greenland icecap for almost 50 years.Gleaming like a jewel this well preserved bomber from World War II rests on the Arctic tundra where it was abandoned when it crash landed in 1947. This plane has long been a legend and now facing incredible hardship a team of adventurers struggle to bring the frozen warbird back to life.NOVA follows bold pilot Darryl Greenamyer and his team on two expeditions to revive Kee Bird and make it fly again in one of the most isolated and harshest environments on Earth. Despite severe weather illness and difficulties with the shuttle plane in 1994 Greenamyer returns in May 1995 with a larger crew a more reliable shuttle plane and a new plan to bring Kee Bird back to life and back home.
Jan 30 1996
Jan 16 1996
Jan 09 1996

Season 22

17 Episodes

A search for the causes of Sick Building Syndrome. Experts look at various problem buildings, inspecting their air conditioning, lights and carpets for clues to the mysterious maladies afflicting the workers inside.
Dec 26 1995
Dec 19 1995
The Great Barrier Reef along the northeast coast of Australia is the largest coral formation in the world, covering more than 365,000 square kilometers. Within it exists a unique underwater environment that is continually evolving: the coral itself can vary greatly from one region of the reef to another as it adapts to varying conditions of light, surf, and temperature. In this program, marine biologists and photographers explore the reef using specialized underwater cameras to investigate the diverse and interdependent plants and animals that live there. The program also documents the annual spawning of coral and the geological and biological forces that make it possible for coral reefs to survive. Coral reefs around the world are incredibly fragile; many are endangered by overfishing and excessive use by humans.
Nov 28 1995
One out of every three fires in the United States is set deliberately. Firefighters must report the cause and origin of each fire they fight. If the cause of a fire cannot be determined immediately, a fire investigator may be assigned to the case. Investigators sift through the remains of a fire for clues about its cause, and if there is evidence of arson, the investigators also collect information to help police identify and locate the arsonist. In this episode of NOVA, a series of similar arson fires in California raises concern that a serial arsonist might be at work. The program follows the investigative team that solved this incredibly difficult case.
Nov 14 1995
Lightning! takes you on a high-voltage trip into the most electrically charged weather in the world--culminating in a dazzling lightning show set to music that rivals the most extraordinary fireworks display. The program also visits with some of lightning's tragic victims who thought they were out of harm's way. Lightning's fleeting rivers of electricity strike Earth 6,000 times a minute; jolt every commercial airplane one to two times a year; wipe out power to entire cities; hit 1,000 people annually; and account on average for more deaths than hurricanes and tornadoes put together. Join the scientists as they tempt nature by creating the world's tallest lightning rod, a wire leading thousands of feet into storm clouds, which triggers awe-inspiring thunderbolts a few hundred feet from the observers--and creates a chunk of "petrified" lightning. "I think lightning fascinates everyone," says "stormchaser" Dan Davis. "It's a personification of the intensity, the chaos and the unpredictability of nature."
Nov 07 1995
Oct 31 1995
From their blistering beginnings as molten rock, the Hawiian islands have grown into a verdant paradise of unique lifeforms.
Oct 24 1995
NASA's radar-equipped spacecraft, the Magellan, has sent back unprecedented images of the surface of Venus. Scientists find that most of what was previously believed about the planet was wrong. NOVA uses Magellan's images as well as interviews with scientists to investigate what the surface of the planet is really like and what mysteries it may hold.
Oct 17 1995
Shortly after midnight on 17 July 19l8, at a house in the town of Ekaterinburg in the Ural mountains, Bolshevik guards awakened the deposed Tsar Nicholas II together with his family and forced them into the basement, where they were shot and clubbed to death. NOVA follows forensic tests of skeletons discovered in Ekaterinburg in 1979 that are alleged to be the remains of the Russian royals, and explores the intriguing claim that Anna Anderson of Charlottesville, Virginia, was really the long lost Anastasia
Oct 10 1995
Fast Cars 22x08
What does it take to win at Indy? NOVA follows champion race driver Bobby Rahal and a team of engineers as they strive to design a new car that can win the checkered flag at the Memorial Day classic. The program also features racing insights from top drivers Emerson Fittipladi, Willy T. Ribbs and Lyn Saint James.
May 23 1995
In the third installment of a 10-year project, NOVA checks up on a group of aspiring doctors who've been chronicled since their first day of medical school in 1987. Now bona fide MDs and in the middle of residency training, the group faces the awesome responsibility of curing the sick and keeping their own lives intact.
May 03 1995
What amazing processes go on inside super-athletes and couch potatoes alike? NOVA uses the latest medical imaging techniques to explore the body's incredible inner workings-with the help of Olympic ice skater Bonnie Blair, world record long jumper Mike Powell and others.
Mar 07 1995
Born joined at the pelvis, Siamese twins Dao and Duan were brought to the United States from Thailand to assess their chances for being separated surgically. NOVA covers the intricate planning and protracted operations that eventually made the two girls into two distinct individuals.
Feb 14 1995
NOVA uses recently discovered documents to uncover the complicity of German architects and engineers in the Holocaust. Focusing on Auschwitz, the program tells a tale of ever-deepening evil as the prison camp was methodically converted into a super-efficient factory for genocide.
Feb 07 1995
NOVA looks at the most successful life forms on the face of the planet in Ants: Little Creatures Who Run the World, hosted by Harvard University's internationally renowned ant authority, naturalist Edward O. Wilson. What's impressive about ants is how they practice what we preach: family values. Unselfishness is the rule. Everything they do is for their colony's good. For them, socialism works.
Jan 31 1995
NOVA investigates the myth and reality of the first known Europeans to reach North America -Vikings. These intrepid Norsemen explored and settled parts of present-day North America 500 years before Columbus set sail.
Jan 24 1995
The subjects of Stone Age cave paintings thunder onto the screen as NOVA explores Woolly Mammoths. Recent discoveries show that the hairy ancestors of elephants fought off extinction much longer than anyone thought, surviving on an isolated island in the Arctic Ocean until as recently as 4,000 year ago.
Jan 09 1995

Season 21

20 Episodes

NOVA explores the common threads that link the more than 5,000 languages of Earth, including a controversial theory that claims to reconstruct words from a time when only a handful of languages were spoken, recalling the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
Dec 27 1994
NOVA travels to Lake Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake, containing one-fifth of all the fresh water on Earth. Investigating Baikal from above, below and all around, NOVA charts its dramatically changing environment over the course of four seasons.
Dec 20 1994
Hobbled by defective eyesight because of its original, bungled prescription, the Hubble Space Telescope was recently repaired in a dramatic Space Shuttle mission. NOVA follows the exploits of astronauts who saved the day, and the stunning work that Hubble has performed in the months since its repair.
Dec 06 1994
Ten million years ago, an enormous volcanic eruption buried much of what is now Nebraska in up to 10 feet of ash, preserving countless skeletons of prehistoric big game animals. NOVA joins the discoverer of this treasure trove to learn what life was like when a lot more than buffalo roamed the West.
Nov 29 1994
NOVA probes the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake. Even as the city struggles to repair itself from the tragedy, seismic pressure continues to build. Scientists fear that newly discovered faults could, at any moment, trigger California's most devastating natural disaster.
Nov 15 1994
NOVA travels deep into the Amazon wilderness in search of a mysterious tribe- a tribe that dismembered and partially ate three prospectors in 1976. Locating the group, NOVA lives with them for three months, gaining insight into the customes and beliefs of a people whose lifestyle has not changed for centuries.
Nov 08 1994
NOVA tackles the long-taboo subject of menopause, profiling new research and examining the medical and ethical controversies that arise when science enables women to postpone menopause or even to bear children long after "the change." Stockard Channing narrates.
Nov 01 1994
NOVA explores the legacy of the great Auk, a magnificent flightless bird that was hunted to extinction over a century ago. In a journey retracing its migratory route, host Richard Wheeler kayaks from Newfoundland to Cape Cod and discovers that other marine species face the Auk's luckless fate.
Oct 25 1994
NOVA profiles "Genie," a girl whose parents kept her imprisoned in near total isolation from infancy. When social workers discovered her as a teenager, Genie had not learned to walk or talk. This NOVA documentary includes never-before-seen footage of Genie during her rehabilitation and probes how and when we learn the skills that make us "human."
Oct 18 1994
Polly wants a crackdown when it comes to the illegal trade in the world's most beautiful and intelligent birds: parrots. NOVA goes undercover with a US government sting that breaks an international parrot smuggling ring, landing some surprising suspects.
Oct 11 1994
NOVA experiences the relentless, round-the-clock life aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier, Independence-where every day is a constant drill of launching and landing aircraft atop a floating city of 5,000 people. The action includes Top Gun mock combat exercises and live-ammunition patrols over Iraq.
Apr 19 1994
NOVA visits the most cigarette-addicted nation in the world-China. Western advertising and trading practices have exacerbated the fatal romance with smoking in the world's most populous country, where lung cancer cases are beginning to strain the nation's health care system.
Apr 12 1994
At what point did our distant ancestors become anatomically like us? And, more importantly, when did they begin to act like us? Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at what it is that makes us human.
Mar 02 1994
Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at how our human ancestors of two million years ago made their living. Contrary to popular myth, scavenging was a more lucrative living than hunting-and may have contributed to the development of human intelligence.
Mar 01 1994
In the first of a three-part series, noted anthropologist Donald Johanson probes the earliest ancestors of the human species - reaching back more than three million years to a strange ape who walked upright. Johanson takes viewers to the site in Ethiopia where he discovered the fossil remains of this missing link nicknamed "Lucy."
Feb 28 1994
NOVA covers exciting and controversial research with chimpanzees who have been trained to express themselves with human symbols. Are they speaking their minds? Or are they just aping their trainers?
Feb 15 1994
NOVA explores ice-capped mountains-on the equator. These African giants are magical islands of life towering above the scorched plains. Giant forest hogs, bearded vultures, the elusive bongo and other exotic creatures live in this harsh and isolated high country.
Feb 08 1994
NOVA follows members of the US Aerobatic Team as they prepare for and compete in the 1992 World Aerobatic Championship. The sport, as precisely choreographed as gymnastics-except that it takes place in airplanes at 200 miles per hour-has always been on the leading edge of developments in aviation.
Feb 01 1994
Velociraptors and primitive birds are among the fabulous fossil finds as NOVA accompanies an American Museum of Natural History expedition to the Gobi Desert. The trip relives the exploits of the Museum's dashing explorer of the 1920s, Roy Chapman Andrews -said to be the real-life model for Indiana Jones.
Jan 25 1994
NOVA delves into the history of secret communications and the people who wrack their brains to decipher them. The program probes the most celebrated of all cryptographic coups: the breaking of the World War II codes used by Japan and Germany and how codebreaking helped shorten the war.
Jan 18 1994

Season 20

20 Episodes

NOVA explores the nature of human perception through the puzzling condition called visual agnosia, the inability to recognize faces and familiar objects, made famous in Oliver Sacks' book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
Dec 28 1993
A profile of the late Richard Feynman—atomic bomb pioneer, Nobel prize-winning physicist, acclaimed teacher and all-around eccentric, who helped solve the mystery of the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
Dec 21 1993
Bill Cosby guides viewers through the most exciting footage from two decades of NOVA in a 20th anniversary salute. Real-life action, adventure, mystery, drama and non-stop discovery fill this 90-minute special.
Dec 07 1993
US federal investigators are called in to determine the cause of a mysterious jetliner crash in Panama. Nothing about the accident makes sense, until a key clue emerges.
Nov 30 1993
NOVA takes viewers on the ride of their lives as it explores the science of roller coasters, where physics and psychology meet. New rides of the future may take place entirely in the mind—with virtual reality.
Nov 16 1993
With help from director Steven Spielberg, author Michael Crichton and a host of scientific experts , NOVA investigates what it would take to recreate the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park. It won't be as easy as it was for Hollywood.
Nov 09 1993
NOVA soars with the condor, an extraordinary bird that lives a tenuous existence in the California mountains and the Andes of South America. Footage includes never-before-photographed nesting sites in the cliffs of Patagonia.
Nov 02 1993
NOVA covers the tense vigil of three people with terminal lung disease as they await the most complex of all organ transplants—a new lung. Months of waiting end in a few frenzied hours of intricate surgery.
Oct 26 1993
Magician James "The Amazing" Randi tests the claims of mind readers, fortune tellers, faith healers and others with purported paranormal powers. As a magician, "I know how people are deceived," Randi says.
Oct 19 1993
Forensic sleuth Clyde Snow and a posse of experts travel to Bolivia in search of the remains of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They find Hollywood and legend got a few things wrong.
Oct 12 1993
NOVA fans from around the country match wits in a fast-paced contest of general science knowledge celebrating NOVA's 20th anniversary. Famous guests pose questions for the viewers at home. Marc Summers hosts.
Oct 05 1993
NOVA covers both sides of the stormy controversy over the Tasaday tribe. When these isolated cave dwellers were discovered in the Philippines in 1971, they were hailed as a Stone Age relic. Now, many anthropologists denounce them as fakes.
Mar 30 1993
Wherever we shed our body cells, we leave an indisputable identity card: our DNA. NOVA investigates the new science of DNA typing which is putting increasing numbers of murderers and rapists behind bars.
Mar 02 1993
These days, piracy on the high seas often involves sonar, magnometers, metal detectors and other high-tech equipment for finding and plundering sunken ships. NOVA explores the swashbuckling seafaring pirates of old and their present-day successors.
Feb 23 1993
Athletes are training smarter, running faster, jumping higher and generally outperforming their predecessors—thanks to high technology. NOVA covers the record-setting trend for improving sports performance with science.
Feb 16 1993
NOVA covers scientists on the brink of a sputtering, shaking, impatient volcano, trying to forecast when it will go off. When it does, Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines goes big time, producing the largest volcanic eruption in 80 years.
Feb 09 1993
NOVA tells the story of the German scientists abducted to the Soviet Union after World War II to help build an atomic bomb. The success of the crash program in 1949, with the explosion of the first Soviet nuclear weapon, shocked the world.
Feb 02 1993
For four decades, 400 African American men from Macon, Alabama were unwitting participants in a government study of untreated syphilis. NOVA tells the story of this notorious human experiment. George Strait, ABC News Medical Correspondent, hosts.
Jan 26 1993
The Gulf War was fought in 38 days of non-stop bombing and four days of swift ground action. Did bombing win it? NOVA looks at the history of strategic bombing and asks whether bombing has now achieved preeminence in warfare.
Jan 19 1993
After an agreement was made by members of the United Nations, which mandated Iraq to end its pursuit in creating weapons of mass destruction, an international group of advisors and inspectors are on a mission to find and stop any threats that may remain. From nuclear and chemical weaponry, to missiles and guns, the team must face real dangers while searching for any illegal weapon activity in Iraq
Jan 05 1993

Season 19

20 Episodes

NOVA examines the high-tech efforts to preserve the world's animal diversity. Noah needed only an ark—but today's conservationists need all the tools that biology, ecology, diplomacy and politics can muster if endangered species are to survive beyond the next century.
Dec 29 1992
NOVA looks at how Russia and the United States are attacking the intractable problem of alcohol abuse with old and new weapons—including prohibition, hypnotism, imprisonment, surveillance, deception, aversion therapy and group therapy as practiced by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Dec 22 1992
Two paralyzed drug addicts travel to Sweden to receive a revolutionary treatment for brain disease that is largely unavailable in the US due to the ban on fetal tissue research. "Brain Transplant" continues the remarkable story of a mysterious malady linked to a bad batch of synthetic heroin that NOVA first covered in the 1986 award-winning film, "The Case of the Frozen Addict."
Dec 01 1992
NOVA delves into the deep sea drama of life among the dolphins at research stations in Florida and Australia. Like humans and chimpanzees, dolphins have evolved a sophisticated social system that provides clues about the origins and purpose of big brains and intelligence.
Nov 17 1992
Iceman 19x16
Five thousand years ago, a man perished in a mountain storm. In 1991, his frozen body was found along with artifacts of his vanished way of life. NOVA covers the international effort to unlock the secrets of this astonishing discovery.
Nov 10 1992
In a 90-minute special presentation, NOVA reveals the ancient secrets of how the pyramids were built by actually building one. A noted Egyptologist, Mark Lehner, and a professional stonemason, Roger Hopkins (This Old House), join forces in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza to put clever and sometimes bizarre pyramid construction theories to the test.
Nov 04 1992
NOVA explores Earth's greatest natural wonder by rafting down the river that created it, repeating the spectacular first canyon voyage of the 19th-century explorer John Wesley Powell. The Grand Canyon tells the story of nearly 2 billion years of earth history plus the changes caused by three decades of human intervention.
Oct 27 1992
NOVA follows the trail of America's first inhabitants. Did they migrate across a Bering Sea land bridge at the end of the last Ice Age, as we all learned in school? Or did they arrive thousands of years earlier, possibly by some different route, as new archaeological evidence increasingly hints?
Oct 20 1992
NOVA goes behind the scenes to give the real story behind the FBI unit popularized in the Academy Award-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs. Using a detailed psychological profile, the unit helped the Rochester, New York police department catch a notorious serial killer who targeted prostitutes. Actor Patrick Stewart narrates.
Oct 13 1992
Physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard reenact the signing of the 1939 letter that alerted President Franklin Roosevelt to the feasibility of atomic weapons. Szilard drafted and Einstein signed the famous warning, which led to the building of the first atomic bomb.
Sep 29 1992
NOVA looks at grace, speed, strength and endurance of humans and animals.
Aug 25 1992
The spectacular eclipse of 1991 passed over major observatories on the island of Hawaii. NOVA was there for 6 1/2 minutes of frenetic research that revealed new secrets about our sun.
Mar 24 1992
NOVA goes behind the scenes to watch the filming of a big-screen Imax/Omnimax space spectacle. Astronauts operate the cameras on location aboard the Space Shuttle.
Mar 17 1992
NOVA examines the mysterious whale strandings along the beaches of Cape Cod Bay, as the puzzling behavior becomes more common.
Mar 10 1992
Criminals still make money the old-fashioned way—by counterfeiting. NOVA looks at why US currency is so easy to fake and what the government is doing about it.
Mar 03 1992
Rating the audience for TV shows is a classic problem in statistical analysis. NOVA finds that ratings are getting more accurate but still are far from scientific.
Feb 18 1992
The nose knows. How much is the subject of NOVA's investigation of the mysterious aromas and hidden messages picked up by our sense of smell. David Suzuki hosts.
Feb 11 1992
Few people give any thought to wildlife in the midst of a war. During the Gulf War, environmentalist John Walsh did his best to save animals from oil spills, bullets and other dangers.
Jan 28 1992
NOVA takes a voyage on the newest of America's doomsday machines—the ballistic missle submarine USS Michigan. The Cold War may be won, but these submerged super arsenals continue to prowl the deep.
Jan 21 1992
Hell Fighters of Kuwait from the show NOVA is a 1992 documentary that profiles fire fighting teams from the United States as they try to extinguish more than 700 oil-well fires in Kuwait in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. Known as one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century, Saddam Hussein's attacks created a deadly legacy that took years to clean-up. The program originally aired on January 14, 1992
Jan 14 1992

Season 18

19 Episodes

Richard Dreyfuss narrates NOVA's exploration of the collision between science, fine art and criminal activities. For as long as there have been masterpieces, there have been people who make copies of the masterpieces. Museums have to take these forgeries very seriously, which is why many have scientists on hand to carefully verify the authenticity of each new acquisition.
Dec 17 1991
NOVA films engineers and construction workers who are building the Worldwide Plaza in New York City. Starting from a large hole in the ground, cameras capture the building's work-in-progress, which lead to the creation of a 47-story office building and 770-foot skyscraper. The episode ends with a quick look at other well-known skyscrapers and how engineers created them.
Dec 10 1991
George Strait hosts this investigation of a ground-breaking 1991 study that aimed to change the face of surgery and medical treatment in general. When four patients seek safe, effective treatment for their heart disease, they are willing to accept unusual techniques that bypass traditional surgery or drugs, possibly leading to better results.
Dec 03 1991
Fastest Planes in the Sky from the show NOVA explains how fast aviation technology is advancing. The fastest planes of today will look slow in comparison to models that are on the horizon. Advances in technology have made these planes more efficient as well, which is important due to rising jet fuel costs.
Nov 12 1991
Taller Than Everest? is the fifth episode of the 19 season from the informative PBS science show NOVA. The episode originally aired on November 5, 1991. Narrated by Stacy Keach this episode examines whether Pakistan's K2 is taller than Everest. Additionally this episode features footage from both peaks and quotes from both scientists and climbers alike.
Nov 05 1991
The sarcophagus is the giant structure that contains the nuclear reactor that melted down at Chernobyl in 1986. Now, scientists and researchers are attempting to open the sarcophagus to see just how bad the damage really is. This is considered a suicide mission because the reactor is still unstable and could explode at any time.
Oct 22 1991
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been fascinating researchers for years, while at the same time remaining steeped in mystery and scandal. It has taken decades for researchers to compile the scrolls. While time intensive, these documents give scholars better insight into the origins of the Hebrew Bible and reveal new observations about world history.
Oct 15 1991
A follow-up to the program "Can We Make a Better Doctor?" this two-hour special chronicles the lives of seven aspiring doctors during their four years of medical school. The show includes their first exams, anatomy class, first patient death, first baby delivered and more. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
Oct 09 1991
Baldness may seem like a trivial matter, but for thousands of men and women, it is a serious issue with deep-reaching societal implications. Alan Rachin hosts an episode that examines the causes of human baldness, as well as potential cures, prevalent social stigmas and the various methods humans have invented to hide baldness
Oct 01 1991
Modern technology is advancing at an astounding rate. With computer technology comes a wide range of applications. A program has been developed that will allow a computer to play chess with a human. But, when the match begins, will the human or the computer prove victorious. Can a computer outsmart people?
Mar 26 1991
Vancouver Island is one of the premier whale watching sites in the world. NOVA goes on location to try to catch glimpses of grays, humpbacks and many other species of whales. Gregory Peck narrates the story of these huge mammals and the way they continue to thrive in this environment.
Mar 05 1991
In the conclusion of "Russian Right Stuff," cosmonauts rendezvous with the Mir space station in 1989. Included: the training of cosmonauts; their comments on the Soviet moon program.
Feb 28 1991
Part 2 of "Russian Right Stuff" explores the costly and secretive Soviet lunar program. Included: bureaucratic infighting following chief designer Sergei Korolev's death; unmanned probes that photographed the moon's surface.
Feb 27 1991
The three-part "Russian Right Stuff" begins by profiling Sergei Korolev, who pioneered the Soviet space program. Included: the historic Sputnik launches; the April 1961 orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin.
Feb 26 1991
T.rex Exposed from the show Nova is a 54 minute TV science documentary from PBS with Don Lessem as host and narrator. The episode's storyline tells of a detailed and interesting look at the most famous dinosaur T.rex and will let the audience witness the discovery of the science and lore of dinosaurs in general. It unavails a suspenseful dig in Montana where a crew is carefully uncovering one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found: a remarkably preserved skeleton 40 feet long. T.rex Exposed is a creation of Michael Ambrosino with Paula Apsell as executive producer.
Feb 19 1991
Explore the link between dinosaurs and birds, and tune in to the fierce debate, about whether dinosaurs are truly extinct, that continues to captivate no matter how you choose to draw the family tree.
Feb 12 1991
Nova's The Hunt for China's Dinosaurs follows a team of Canadian paleontologists excavating dinosaur bones in the Gobi Desert. Inspired by the discoveries of Roy Chapman Andrews in the 1920s, the crew set out to find fossils in the Gobi, which had been closed to scientists since then. Having nearly come home empty-handed three years earlier, the scientists find a veritable treasure trove this time.
Feb 05 1991
ConFusion in a Jar from the PBS science series NOVA instigates the amazing power and heated controversy over cold fusion in this 1991 episode. Cold fusion has the potential to supply unlimited energy to a world hungry for power, but many in the scientific community contradict this experimental theory and its dangers
Jan 15 1991
Return to Mt. St. Helens from the show NOVA details how Mt. St. Helens has recovered ten years after its volcanic eruption. Local residents are interviewed about the subject and share their thoughts and firsthand experience of the disaster. Experts are also brought in to explain how long the recovery process will take
Jan 08 1991

Season 17

20 Episodes

In a small Brazilian town, terror is all too real. Parents watch their children pass away unexpectedly as a brutal illness sweeps through their formerly peaceful village. When the locals cannot find a cure, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control travel from Atlanta to help rescue the children and defeat the disease.
Dec 18 1990
NOVA profiles the llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco of South America. At one time nearly extinct, these four members of the camel family are exceptionally well adapted to life in the beautiful high Andes.
Dec 04 1990
This NOVA episode examines direct marketing, a phenomenon that affects thousands of people, yet remains mysterious to most civilians. Advertisers are able to keep detailed tabs on their potential consumers, managing to land targeted ads in their mailboxes each week. Researchers uncover the controversial secrets and complex formulas that allow direct marketing to thrive.
Nov 27 1990
Can the Elephant Be Saved? is a 1990 episode from the PBS series NOVA. The mighty elephant is the world's largest land mammal and also faces extinction. Scientists have developed many strategies to help save them, including a ban on ivory. The NOVA team explores the proposed solutions as well as the controversy surrounding them.
Nov 20 1990
This episode originally aired in 1990. The NOVA team examines the possible future of robotic weaponry, which promises to expand the horizon of warfare in both positive and negative ways. Conflicts in the Middle East illustrate both the power of cutting edge weaponry, and the frightening drawbacks to overusing this technology
Nov 13 1990
Earthquake! is a 1990 episode from the PBS science series NOVA that explores nature's frightening and destructive phenomenon of colliding land plates. Earthquakes can damage entire regions and trigger tsunamis but geologists still struggle to find the key to predicting them. The NOVA team interviews the scientists focused on solving this age-old puzzle.
Nov 06 1990
Nova looks at the history and future of dirigible airships, from the early rigid, giant zeppelins to the smaller nonrigid blimps taking to the skies, including the Liteship. Also shown, some unsuccessful hybrids including the Cyclocrane and the ill-fated Piasecki Heli-stat.
Oct 30 1990
NOVA reports on chemical warfare and the cruel effect it has on human beings. In the early 20s, Germany developed an acid bomb, which was used against French soldiers during World War I. Since then, governments have secretly developed chemical bombs, and peace agencies around the world have tried to get them banned without success
Oct 23 1990
The Voyager program is one of the United State's most ambitious space missions. The two unmanned probes are designed to seek out the boundaries of the known universe, going beyond Jupiter to transmit important scientific knowledge and advance human understanding. This episode of NOVA originally aired in the October of 1990.
Oct 16 1990
Neptune's Cold Fury is the second episode for season 18 of the show NOVA. In this episode, NOVA takes a look at the mysteries of this planet and why it took 12 years for the Voyager to reach it. Triton is the largest moon of Neptune and this episode examines the photos of it taken by Voyager 2 in 1989. Actor Patrick Stewart hosts
Oct 09 1990
This documentary covers the surprising tale of an average systems administrator who stumbled upon a KGB spy operation. Clifford Stoll carried out one of the first successful digital forensics investigations by tracking down Markus Hess, a KGB hacker, after noticing a discrepancy in the logs of a University of California computer.
Oct 02 1990
This episode is part-two of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. The episode focuses on how the 1989 massacre of Chinese students led to sanctions, which contributed to the country's limited access to western expertise in the computer industry and its products
Apr 10 1990
This episode is part-three of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. In the nineteenth century, the west won the trade war with Japan, lending the small country access to the world's latest technology. NOVA explores what effect this had in China, and why Tokyo and Beijing seem worlds apart
Apr 03 1990
This episode is part-two of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. From the fifteenth to the eighteen century, European nations traveled westward to explore new countries to trade with. China excluded itself from its western neighbors, and NOVA wants to know why
Mar 27 1990
In The Genius That Was China: Rise of the Dragon (1) episode of the television program NOVA, the show explores the history of the planet's most populous country. As early as the 13th century, China was the dominant technological, industrial and military power in the world. NOVA investigates how it was able to create and maintain its supremacy for hundreds of years.
Mar 20 1990
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill takes a center stage when NOVA heads to Alaska to find out how technology contributed to one of the world's largest oil spills. Cameras board the Valdez with expert scientists to film the supertanker's instruments and to get opinions on how some advanced gadgets, which were designed to protect the ship, failed in preventing the disaster
Feb 27 1990
NOVA heads to Washington state to examine the Hanfrod Nuclear Reservation, a nuclear waste facility with a lot of problems. The environment and ecology take a center stage, as NOVA investigates how a 45-year mismanaged facility affects the environment and what steps need to be taken to correct the problems at the government agency.
Feb 13 1990
In season 7, episode 13 "Disguises of War," Nova examines the various means of camouflage used in warfare to disguise weaponry and troops. The methods of camouflage which are shown range from the basic patterns used in soldier's uniforms to the incredibly complex technology used in stealth bombers to defeat radar detection.
Feb 06 1990
If you're like most people, you've never heard of a quark. The top quark is likely the fundamental root of all matter. No scientist has ever been able to observe or document them. Scientists in the US and Europe are attempting to identify the top quark with some of the most massive machinery on Earth
Jan 23 1990
Poison in the Rockies from the show NOVA is an episode focused on the damage that decades of mining operations in the Rockies have inflicted on the local environment. It covers other problems such as the acid rain that afflicts the region, but concentrates on the harmful chemicals entering the surrounding states' water supplies from mining drainage
Jan 09 1990

Season 16

20 Episodes

The Schoolboys Who Cracked the Soviet Secret recreates the story of a British schoolteacher and his students who discovered secrets of the Soviet space program. In the 1960s, Geoffrey Perry at the Kettering Grammar School gave his students used short wave radios for a science project, but the school project had international reach when the group connected with Soviet transmissions.
Dec 12 1989
In 1988, Yellowstone National Park became the site of raging forest fires. The park officials did not step in to quell the blaze, instead adopting the policy that the park would recover from the devastation naturally. The NOVA team heads to Yellowstone soon after the fires to examine the impact of the blaze on the local ecology.
Dec 05 1989
Humans have traditionally enjoyed a complex relationship with music. Originally aired in 1989, this NOVA episode takes a closer look at the science behind the everyday phenomenon that affects so many lives. Scientists explore the human brain's ability to perceive music. Researchers also examine the impact of various instruments, from classic violins to human voices
Nov 21 1989
In 1966, the city of Venice faced the beginnings of a large-scale crisis when the main square began to sink underwater. Since then, the government has been trying to find a solution to this potentially devastating problem. In 1989, a team from NOVA traveled to the city to explore the possible answers, as well as the possible challenges.
Nov 14 1989
Hurricane! from the show NOVA takes the viewer inside the violent, cyclonic storms that can reach speeds of 72 miles per hour and threaten coastal areas throughout the North Atlantic region. This 1989 episode demonstrates how scientists are studying these killer storms and gathering data in hopes of better predicting their paths
Nov 07 1989
In 1966, the city of Venice faced the beginnings of a large-scale crisis when the main square began to sink underwater. Since then, the government has been trying to find a solution to this potentially devastating problem. In 1989, a team from NOVA traveled to the city to explore the possible answers, as well as the possible challenges.
Oct 31 1989
Echoes of War is a 1989 episode from the PBS science series NOVA. World War II may have ended with the atomic bomb, but it was the radar which provided the key to winning the battles leading to Hiroshima. The NOVA team recounts the importance and history of the radar in modern warfare.
Oct 24 1989
NOVA examines the entries put forward by five architects and their teams, in a tough competition to choose a design for the new Chicago Public Library. The show gives viewers a chance to see the variation between the designs, as well as taking a closer look at the winning plan.
Oct 17 1989
The Controversial Dr. Koop is an episode from the PBS documentary series NOVA that aired on October 10, 1989. The episode features C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General of the United States, who rattled the country with his distinct views on AIDS, tobacco, and abortion while in his position from 1982 to 1989
Oct 10 1989
Four of the major systems forming the infrastructure of an urban center are examined. Judd Hirsch narrates as Nova looks at the distribution and disposal of electricity, water, sewage and garbage in New York City.
Oct 03 1989
Arlo, Nancy and Janice each have a 50/50 chance of developing a devastating nerve disorder. A laboratory test can tell them if in fact they will fall victim. In their shoes, would you take the test? Thousands of others face a similar choice: to know, or not know, if they will carry the genetic time bomb of Huntington's disease. NOVA looks at this incurable disease which affects 20,000 people in the US and threatens tens of thousands of others.
Mar 28 1989
Scientific detectives test their ingenuity in the effort to find underground oil deposits.
Mar 21 1989
In the second part of this two-part series, NOVA explores ancient legends hold the clues to the violent history of the South Pacific's Easter Island.
Mar 07 1989
In this two-part series, NOVA investigates the mystery of Easter Island in the South Pacific. Who built its celebrated statues and why?
Mar 07 1989
NOVA explores the importance of the Gulf Stream to ocean life, climate and human history.
Feb 28 1989
In an Idaho classroom, teacher Phil Gerrish puts an unorthodox interpretation on the day's biology lesson. As students take notes, he explains that creationism is a valid scientific explanation for the origin on life. Once relying solely on the literal word of the Bible to make their case, creationists now argue that the scientific evidence is on their side. NOVA reports on this new twist in the long-running battle between creationism and evolution.
Feb 21 1989
NOVA goes to the Soviet Union for an inside investigation of the world's most catastrophic nuclear power accident with correspondent Bill Kurtis.
Feb 14 1989
NOVA explains "chaos," a new science that is making surprising sense out of chaotic phenomena in nature, from the weather to brain waves.
Jan 31 1989
NOVA looks at the bongo-playing scientist, adventurer, safecracker and yarn-spinner Richard Feynman, most recently famous for his role as gadfly of the Presidential Commission investigating the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
Jan 24 1989
Was the searing summer of 1988 a taste of things to come? NOVA looks at the greenhouse effect, which portends higher temperatures, rising sea levels and other environmental disasters.
Jan 17 1989

Season 15

22 Episodes

NOVA embarks on a 10-year project to profile—in its entirety—the education of a doctor. In the premiere episode, we follow a handful of students as they start their freshman year at Harvard Medical School under a revolutionary program emphasizing early clinical contact with patients.
Dec 13 1988
The life of the shy, intelligent black bear in the wild—foraging, mating, playing and constantly preparing for its remarkable hibernation—is captured for the first time on film by NOVA.
Dec 06 1988
Reliving a Greek myth takes an effort of mythic proportions, as NOVA reveals in its behind-the-scenes report of a human powered-flight across the Aegean Sea, a journey that symbolically recreated the mythical flight of Daedalus. NOVA follows the epic journey of the human-powered plane Daedalus 88 from the early prototypes to its dramatic landing in the surf after a 74-mile flight from the island of Crete to Santorini.
Nov 22 1988
Using previously unavailable technology, NOVA probes the available evidence surrounding the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Nov 15 1988
NOVA examines the troubling question of scientific fraud: How prevalent is it? Who commits it? And what happens when the perpetrators are caught?
Oct 25 1988
Thirty years after Sputnik, the United States space program is mired in uncertainty, while the Russians, Europeans, Japanese and others sprint onward and upward.
Oct 11 1988
Science meets art in the controversial effort to restore Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel frescoes.
Oct 04 1988
Surgeons have always been eager to help patients, even at the risk of killing them. NOVA looks at some of the excesses of surgery, and at how new drugs and technologies are rendering some operations obsolete.
Sep 27 1988
From kidneys to hearts, NOVA examines the daring attempts to replace diseased organs with transplanted ones.
Sep 20 1988
Once unthinkable, open-heart surgery is now an everyday miracle. NOVA looks at the brave doctors and patients who make it possible.
Sep 13 1988
Part one of a four-part series on the pioneers of modern surgery relives the early days, when surgery was practiced without the benefit of anaesthesia or antisceptics and patients usually died.
Sep 06 1988
Most cases of polio in this country are caused by the vaccine designed to prevent it. NOVA examines the controvery surrounding the nation's vaccine policy.
Apr 05 1988
NOVA charts an electronics revolution in the making as Japan and the United States race to develop a material that will conduct electricity at room temperature with zero resistance.
Mar 29 1988
NOVA explores the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor clerk from India who astounded mathematicians in the 1910s with his brilliant insight into the world of numbers.
Mar 22 1988
It was a blustery day in December 1986, and the New England Coast was in the midst of a winter storm, accompanied by strong on-shore gales and an unusually high tide—conditions perfect for stranding whales in the confined shallows of Cape Cod. NOVA recounts this tragic episode and the happy suprise ending for the young whales who survived after being nursed back to health by the New England Aquarium in Boston.
Mar 15 1988
Princeton professor and author Robert Mark tracks down the engineering secrets of some of the beautiful buildings in the world including Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul in London and the Roman Pantheon.
Mar 08 1988
Breast cancer claims the lives of four American women every hour. Jane Pauley of NBC News hosts and narrates this NOVA report on stepped-up efforts to reduce the death rate from this all-too-common killer.
Mar 01 1988
In part one of a two-part special presentation, NOVA reports on the trials to determine whether the new drug Interleukin-2—the first to make use of the body's own disease-fighting strategy—will live up to its promise as a pivotal cancer breakthrough. Jane Pauley of NBC News hosts and narrates.
Feb 23 1988
Airplane fires are often deadly. NOVA looks at efforts to make fires aboard planes less likely and more survivable.
Feb 09 1988
Scientists investigate the frozen remains of members of the 19th century Franklin Expedition to the Canadian Arctic and ask why all perished.
Feb 02 1988
Julia Child introduces NOVA's behind-the-scenes look at how science aids in the creation of snack foods.
Jan 26 1988
Today's sophisticated fighter jets can almost fly themselves, but well-trained pilots are still needed to win air battles. NOVA looks at how planes and pilots are adapting to high technology.
Jan 19 1988

Season 14

22 Episodes

NOVA follows archaeologists as they unearth clues, some 7,000 years old, about an unknown, mysterious and advanced sea-faring people who lived along the North Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada.
Dec 15 1987
A trail of evidence leading from a medieval abbey to a small town in Connecticut sheds new light on rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling inflammation of the joints with no known cause or cure.
Dec 08 1987
NOVA joins underwater archaeologists as they explore the oldest shipwreck ever excavated, a richly-laden merchant vessel dating from the time of King Tut.
Dec 01 1987
NOVA takes a behind-the-scences look at science and technology in the USSR, where the government is trying novel approaches in an effort to catch up with the West.
Nov 17 1987
Volcano! 14x18
Millions live in the shadows of nature's ticking time-bombs—volcanos. NOVA accompanies scientists who are developing new techniques to predict when volcanos will erupt and how violently.
Nov 10 1987
The Panama Canal opened in 1914 after a 30-year effort that dwarfed the building of the pyramids. Historian David McCullough navigates through the canal and tells the story of the human drama behind the engineering feat.
Nov 03 1987
Is Detroit inventor Stanford Ovshinsky the new Thomas Edison? Japanese industries are betting that the genius behind amorphous materials-a simpler and less expensive alternative to silicon-is onto something big.
Oct 27 1987
Plants produce some of the world's most potent chemicals in the fight against disease. NOVA follows the urgent efforts to track down new medicines in nature.
Oct 20 1987
On the 25th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, NOVA investigates the spy planes and satellites that played a critical role in history and influence arms control today.
Oct 13 1987
Why do stars explode and how is the energy generated? What is the effect of all those little “aftermath” particles floating through space? Nova: Death of a Star is a 60-minute science documentary that explores rare astronomical events in all their dimensions. The film features the 1987 explosion of a supernova - first observed by a Canadian astronomer in Chile - and discusses its impact on the universe. Witness the celestial phenomena that baffles the scientific community as you travel from South America to Japan to Cleveland. A discussion of supernova neutrinos is a special highlight of the tape.
Oct 06 1987
In a case study of the strengths and weaknesses of the United States space program, NOVA chronicles the ambitious and long-delayed Galileo mission to Jupiter—still on the ground long after its planned May 1986 launch.
Apr 07 1987
In rich and poor countries alike, once-productive farms are turning to desert because of mismanagement of water resources. NOVA examines the causes and cures of desertification.
Mar 31 1987
All over the world, farmers are taking more from the soil than they return. NOVA reports on the soil crisis in world agriculture—a plight that has already resulted in massive starvation.
Mar 24 1987
NOVA presents two hours of the best from its 14 seasons of exciting science coverage. A "talking" chimp, an exploding volcano and a sight-and-sound space video are but a few of the memorable segments. Richard Kiley hosts.
Mar 10 1987
Harvard chemist George Kistiakowsky was an anti-Bolshevik soldier in 1919 Russia, an atomic bomb scientist at Los Alamos, a presidential advisor in the Eisenhower White House and an arms control activist. Shortly before Kistiakowsky death, he recounts his eventful career to interviewer Carl Sagan.
Mar 03 1987
NOVA travels to Antarctica with an emergency scientific expedition to study a baffling "hole" in the Earth's protective ozone layer.
Feb 24 1987
Fifty years after his death, the creator of psychoanalysis is still the subject of intense debate. Was Freud right or wrong? NOVA profiles the enigmatic man and his controversial legacy.
Feb 17 1987
NOVA cameras travel to Borneo, one of the last habitats of the wild orangutans, where scientists study the endangered ape. Who is observing whom? It is not always clear.
Feb 10 1987
Between 60 and 80 percent of all commercial airplane accidents are attributable to pilot error. NOVA looks at some shocking instances of pilot negligence and what airlines are doing to solve the problem.
Feb 03 1987
NOVA examines a controversial theory that traces our ancestry to a small group of women living in Africa 300,000 years ago.
Jan 27 1987
NOVA scans the universe with the infrared eye of IRAS—the Infrared Astronomical Satellite—and discovers never-before-seen comets, stars, galaxies and other celestial wonders and enigmas.
Jan 20 1987
NOVA explores the ground-breaking experiments that led to the discovery of a tiny sequence of molecules—and more clues to the mystery of how a complete baby develops from a single cell.
Jan 13 1987

Season 13

20 Episodes

Leprosy, a misunderstood disease that has been curable for 40 years, still afflicts some 12 million people. NOVA looks at the tragedy of the disease that need not be.
Dec 16 1986
Yankee ingenuity has designs on the America's Cup. NOVA goes behind-the-scenes to look at the engineering effort to design a technically advanced sailboat.
Dec 09 1986
NOVA dips into the sad plight of our coastal waters, where toxic chemicals, raw sewage and disease-carrying microbes are routinely dumped.
Dec 02 1986
Birds do it; bees do it, butterflies, bats and eels do it—all leave one habitat to migrate to another, often thousands of miles away. NOVA penetrates the mystery of where animals migrate, why and how they get there.
Nov 25 1986
Could there be life beyond Earth? Only recently has it become possible to scan the skies in a systematic attempt to find out. NOVA joins the search with guest host Lily Tomlin.
Nov 18 1986
What are the prospects for halting or curing the deadliest epidemic ever to challenge modern medicine? NOVA finds cause for both hope and alarm in the battle against AIDS.
Nov 11 1986
Scientific breakthroughs now make it possible to reproduce ourselves in ways never before imagined. NOVA looks at the medical, legal and moral questions raised by this brave new technology.
Nov 04 1986
The adventures of the Voyager 2 spacecraft continue as it passes the rings of Uranus. Scientists suspect that violent events in the early history of the planet may have shaped Uranus and its strange collection of moons.
Oct 21 1986
NOVA joins scientists in Argentina as they help locate kidnapped children and identify thousands of dead in the aftermath of a military reign of terror.
Oct 14 1986
NOVA and Frontline combine resources to explore the Strategic Defense Initiative. The two-hour documentary contains the most comprehensive information on "Star Wars" ever produced. Bill Kurtis of WBBM-TV/Chicago hosts.
Apr 22 1986
NOVA examines the medical community's alarm as the spread of antibiotic-resistant infection increases, and studies how one hospital fights its own dramatic epidemic.
Mar 25 1986
When Alexander Fleming discovered the penicillin mold in 1928, he never considered its possible therapeutic value. NOVA explores the "Fleming myth" and reveals the true story of thescientists who worked behind the scenes to develop the wonder drug of the century.
Mar 18 1986
NOVA follows a conservation success story as environmentalists, scientists and bird-lovers fight to save the majestic Osprey from extinction.
Mar 11 1986
NOVA journeys to a remote region of southern Venezuela where the land is alive with spectacular waterfalls, colored by exotic flowers and inhabited by rare species of birds and animals.
Mar 04 1986
When a high number of cancer cases struck the suburban community of Woburn, Massachusetts, the town mobilized to investigate why. The result was a landmark study of the effects of hazardous wastes. NOVA explores the legal and scientific implications of the link between environmental pollution and illness.
Feb 25 1986
In July 1982, a 42-year-old addict in a San Jose, California jail became paralyzed—unable to move or talk. His symptoms, caused by a bad batch of synthetic heroin, were indistinguishable from those associated with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative nerve disorder that strikes the elderly. NOVA traces the story of a "designer" drug which could lead to a major medical breakthrough.
Feb 18 1986
NOVA explores the incredibly complex emotional development of infants and examines the current theory that early childhood psychological intervention can head off emotional problems later in life.
Feb 11 1986
For centuries, the Chinese Kazakh horseman preserved their ancient traditions, refusing to be dominated by either the Chinese or nearby Russian cultures. Today, however, this nomadic tribe has integrated communism into its way of life. NOVA traces the ancient Kazahk lifestyle and looks at how the Chinese cultural Revolution has modernized Kazakh customs.
Feb 04 1986
Gaia, the Greek word for Earth goddess, also is the name of the controversial hypothesis that life on Earth controls the environment. NOVA explores this provocative theory that challenges conventional ways of thinking about the Earth.
Jan 28 1986
NOVA observes worldwide preparations as amateur comet hunters, astronomers and scientists armed with specialized cameras, high powered telescopes and spacecraft look to the heavens in search of the expected arrival in 1986 of Halley's Comet.
Jan 21 1986

Season 12

21 Episodes

NOVA joins the 50th anniversary celebration of the DC-3—the plane that revolutionized commercial air travel, served gallantly in World War II and is called the most important plane ever built.
Dec 17 1985
NOVA examines the intricate world of nature's construction industry and presents rare footage of unusual habits.
Dec 03 1985
NOVA examines current research and its ethical implications as modern medicine confronts the era of human gene therapy.
Nov 26 1985
Tornado! 12x18
NOVA follows a chase team—a group of scientists who chart deadly tornadoes—in an effort to learn more about predicting nature's most powerful and elusive weather phenomenon.
Nov 19 1985
NOVA charts the progress of an ambitious worldwide health program established to save the lives of millions of children who continue to die from common but curable diseases.
Nov 12 1985
NOVA cameras go behind-the-scenes to reveal the new art of illusion, Hollywood-style, focusing on three blockbuster films—"Return of the Jedi," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "2010: The Year We Made Contact."
Nov 05 1985
How are the computer and the robot affecting the way we work? NOVA chronicles the new industrial revolution reshaping the American workplace.
Oct 29 1985
Albert Einstein did not live to find the answer. NOVA follows a new generation of physicists in their search to explain the mystery of the universe.
Oct 22 1985
NOVA examines worldwide efforts of scientists who employ aggressive agricultual technologies to ensure food for the future.
Oct 15 1985
In NOVA's special sequel to1984's National Science Test, viewers can match wits with celebrity panelists David Attenborough, Michelle Johnson, Edwin Newman and Alvin Poussaint and a live studio audience. Art Fleming hosts.
Oct 08 1985
NOVA explores the breeding, migration and survival patterns of the Rocky Mountain elk in a unique film, made totally under natural conditions. Telephoto lenses were used so as not to disturb the animals; filmmakers spent 18 months tracking the elk through the breathtaking Wyoming Rockies.
Mar 19 1985
What do Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the painter Raphael and chess champion Bobby Fischer have in common? They were all child prodigies. NOVA explores the current efforts to learn more about the nature of giftedness.
Mar 12 1985
Imagine a bottle with no inside or a number bigger than infinity or parallel lines that meet. Welcome to the world of pure mathematics. NOVA offers a look into a wholly abstract, quirky world of mathematics.
Mar 05 1985
Baby Talk 12x08
It's a mystery just how children acquire language. Does the process begin in the womb? And which comes first, language or thought? NOVA explores the fascinating world of baby talk and reveals the latest theories on this remarkable achievement.
Feb 26 1985
Sea shells, crystals, honeycombs, eggs and seeds: They are shaped the way they are for a reason. NOVA takes viewers on a unique journey of discovery to find out why things are shaped the way they are and why they work so well.
Feb 19 1985
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is a deadly disease that has struck down some 2,000 people in the four years since its discovery. NOVA examines how modern science has been unraveling the mystery of this baffling ailment.
Feb 12 1985
A rare look at the beautiful and desolate Wrangel Island-a Soviet possession 300 miles off the coast of Alaska-as seen through the eyes of Soviet Filmmaker and naturalist Yuri Ledin. Wrangel Island is not only the home to Siberian snow geese, polar foxes and walruses, but serves as the world's largest denning area for polar bears.
Feb 05 1985
NOVA examines the complex world of parasites, parasitic diseases and the exciting work currently being done by a new breed of medical researchers as they meet the challenge of conquering the world's number one medical problem.
Jan 29 1985
NOVA presents an in-depth look at India's attempt to use satellite technology to leapfrog into the era of space-age communication and whether it brings benefit or blight to India's villages and rural areas.
Jan 22 1985
NOVA explores the fascinating world of Dr. Harold Edgerton, electronics wizard and inventor extraordinaire, whose invention of the electronic strobe, a "magic lamp," has enabled the human eye to see the unseen.
Jan 15 1985
In this docudrama presentation, NOVA looks at the life, times and work of Gregor Mendel, the 19th cenutry Augustinian friar whose revolutionary scientific experiments in selective breeding have made him the "Father of Genetics."
Jan 08 1985

Season 11

20 Episodes

What do dinosaurs, a panda's thumb and a peacock's tail have in common? Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, the internationally renowned palentologist and evolutionary theorist, provides some surprising answers in this NOVA profile.
Dec 18 1984
The debate over acid rain continues to grow. NOVA travels to West Germany, the mid-Atlantic states and New England to examine the controversy surrounding this phenomenon.
Dec 11 1984
Acclaimed underwater cameraman Al Giddings takes NOVA viewers beneath the waves to explore the fact and fiction surrounding the Great White Shark.
Dec 04 1984
They have been part of the United States' space program for more than 20 years. Who are these talented, courageous women? NOVA looks at astronaut Sally Ride and her colleagues, how they are trained and their role in NASA's future.
Nov 27 1984
NOVA's sequel to "A Normal Face" examines the merging of technology and art in modern reconstruction and cosmetic surgical techniques.
Nov 20 1984
NOVA looks at the "blue revolution"—modern advances in the ancient art of raising aquatic animals and plants—in the United States, Japan, Scotland and other countries.
Nov 13 1984
NOVA visits a tribe of Ecuadoran Indians who still maintain traditions that date back to the Stone Age—thirty years after their first contact with Western Civilization.
Nov 06 1984
NOVA explores whether "yellow rain," described by members of the Hmong tribe of Laos, is a form of chemical warfare—or a naturally occurring phenomenon.
Oct 30 1984
NOVA explores the billion-dollar-plus Mahaweli Irrigation Project in Sri Lanka. Will this high-risk project prove to be a great leap forward or an industrial and sociological disaster?
Oct 20 1984
NOVA departs from tradition with the first National Science Test. Viewers can match wits with celebrity panelists Jane Alexander, Jules Bergman, Marva Collins and Edwin Newman. Art Fleming hosts.
Oct 16 1984
At a time when scientific exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union is at its lowest since the 1950s, a special hookup will allow eight leading Soviet and American scientists to share ideas face-to-face before millions of television viewers in each country on this NOVA special.
Oct 02 1984
Victor Weisskopf: physicist, lover of music and citizen of the world. NOVA profiles the international statesman of science and learns that one of the giants of 20th century physics is also one of the country's greatest humanists.
Apr 30 1984
What are America's obligations to its native population? As an important Indian health act comes up for renewal in Congress this Spring (1984), NOVA explores the state of medical care for a proud but vulnerable minority.
Mar 27 1984
Agriculture is America's biggest industry. This productivity, envied around the world, is also depleting the most essential ingredients in farming: water and soil. NOVA looks at the agricultural dilemma, the short term need for profit and long term needs of the land.
Mar 20 1984
Al Giddings is one of the greatest underwater photographers in the world. In a riveting look at the unearthly beauties and terrors of the seas, NOVA presents a portrait of Giddings at work.
Mar 06 1984
Is there a cure for paralyzing spinal injuries? Most neurosurgeons are doubtful, pointing to the central nervous system's most apparent inability to heal itself. But others dispute the point. NOVA explores the debate, the hopes for a cure and recent breakthroughs to help paralyzed patients.
Feb 28 1984
Efforts to control the population explosion are among the burning controversies of our time. NOVA looks at the one-child policy of the People's Republic of China, a revolutionary decree with profound implications for a people accustomed to traditionally large families.
Feb 14 1984
An astronaut once observed a great white light shining out from the bottom of our world: Antarctica, the ice-covered continent we are only just beginning to understand. NOVA visits this wilderness of ice, larger than the United States and Mexico combined, whose only warm-blooded residents are seals, skuas, penguins and scientists.
Jan 31 1984
In the past decade, a number of researchers have begun systematic laboratory research into extrasensory perception—ESP. NOVA considers the claims for—and against—paranormal phenomena and looks at some startling applications in the field of archaeology, criminology and warfare.
Jan 17 1984
Alcoholism is a sad reality for many people. NOVA tries to uncover why this disease is so prevalent by exploring the physical, mental and genetic reasons why people become and stay addicted to alcohol. The social, historical and medical aspects of the disease are all explored and explained in layman's terms.
Jan 10 1984

Season 10

20 Episodes

When an American plane lands in China, the local residents are not sure how to react. On the one hand, the plane carries a cutting edge operating theater that can perform delicate and complex eye surgery. On the other hand, Western medicine clashes with Chinese practices, causing controversy and challenges.
Dec 27 1983
The record-breaking temperatures of each consecutive summer may be the result of a general warming up of the Earth's atmosphere. In this episode, Nova examines the changes in global climate and considers the speculations of climate scientists for what may occur in the next century due to humanity's over-consumption of fossil fuels.
Dec 20 1983
With World War III looming as a very real possibility, NOVA takes a look at nuclear warfare. Myths are dispelled and the harsh realities of nuclear weaponry and the fallout that they cause are explained. With so many nations on edge and tensions running higher every day, can nuclear war be prevented or is it imminent?
Dec 13 1983
To document the twenty-fifth anniversary of America's space program, NOVA takes a look at NASA's successes, failures and the exciting plans it has for the future. Relive accomplishments like the moon landing and disasters like the Apollo I. Highlights include media footage of interviews, newscasts and rare images from NASA's missions and scientific research.
Dec 06 1983
In an Australian medical institution, the patients have severe disabilities. The custodians can be too harsh, ignoring their patients' needs. To the surprise of the people in charge, the patients decide to stand up for themselves and fight back against the unfair treatment. Despite their disabilities, they persevere in their pursuit of humane care.
Nov 29 1983
This episode explores a different side of plastic surgery, focusing on the necessary medical procedures it can help to accomplish. Originally aired in 1983, the documentary explores two stories of reconstructive surgery. A disfigured soldier may have a second lease on life, while a child who needs major plastic surgery gets a first shot at life.
Nov 22 1983
Is it true that the thoroughbred horse runs faster than any other horse? Horse racing is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry. A magic formula to identify the perfect race horse is elusive. This episode explores the possible combinations of the will to win, stamina and speed needed for victory
Nov 15 1983
To Live Until You Die: The Work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross from the show Nova premiered on November 8, 1983. The episode focuses on the life of Dr. Kubler-Ross and examines the groundbreaking work that she performed with the dying. Dr. Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, authored the book On Death and Dying and created the Kübler-Ross model, which details the five stages of grief.
Nov 08 1983
Papua New Guinea: Anthropology on Trial is an episode from the eleventh season of the PBS series, NOVA. NOVA is a science-documentary series that has earned over 20 Emmy Awards over the past 25 years. In this episode, the series travels to Papua New Guinea where well-known ethnographers and anthropologists voice their concerns over traditional field-work techniques. A New Guinea native/student also talks about his experiences in California after spending time in America
Nov 01 1983
Talking Turtle from the show NOVA explores China's controversial one child policy and how it has affected families living in the country. While the government insists it is the best form of population control possible, the Chinese have historically had very large families, which has made the new policy unpopular with the working public.
Oct 25 1983
Signs of the Apes, Songs of the Whales is an episode from the PBS science television series Nova in which a group of researchers discusses animal communication. Specifically at issue is whether animals use language. The episode features the trained gorillas Washoe and Koko as well as chimpanzees, orangutans and dolphins.
Oct 11 1983
The accident at Three Mile Island made front page news all over the world and rocked the entire nuclear power industry. In this special 90-minute broadcast, NOVA presents a docudrama chronicling the minute-by-minute events leading up to the accident and examines the questions raised about safety confronting nuclear power industry today.
Mar 29 1983
"Why can't I lose weight?" It's a question many Americans ask themselves everyday. NOVA comes up with some surprising answers about weight and dieting that could have significant impact on our daily lives.
Mar 22 1983
NOVA takes a spellbinding voyage through one of the world's most fascinating and colorful ecosystems: a coral reef, where the line between plants and animals is blurred, "rocks" move, eat and fight, fish farm, and weak animals borrow the shields and weapons of stronger ones.
Mar 08 1983
Every 58 minutes between now and the end of the century, one American will die from asbestos exposure. NOVA turns its spotlight on the tragic consequences of asbestos use and on the current controversy over who is responsible.
Mar 01 1983
A documentary that shows the actual conception and development of a baby. It looks inside the male and female reproductive organs to show the formation of sperm and the passage of a fertilized egg through the fallopian tube. Uses a microscope to observe DNA, chromosomes, and other minute body details building up to the moment of birth.
Feb 15 1983
A gripping docudrama about a mysterious, highly lethal disease which struck a village in Nigeria in 1969, and the frustrating, seesaw battle against it. NOVA recounts how public health workers came perilously close to accidentally releasing a deadly virus in the US.
Feb 08 1983
NOVA captivates a remarkably candid portrait of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, a man of few pretensions and tremendous personal charm, who speaks with the same passion about a child's toy wagon and the frontiers of subatomic physics.
Jan 25 1983
This land of fire and beauty is the most isolated island chain in the world. NOVA cameras uncover an extraordinary world far from the teeming tourist hotels, one filled with unique life forms, but also scarred by tragic extinction.
Jan 18 1983
To celebrate its 10th broadcast season, NOVA repeats the very first NOVA program every aired, a fascinating and delightful program about how wildlife films are made.
Jan 04 1983

Season 9

18 Episodes

While America's passenger-train service deteriorates, trains in Japan and Europe are speeding ahead at over 150 miles per hour. NOVA reports that the super-fast trains are finally coming to America.
Dec 14 1982
NOVA follows the great grey whales along their annual marathon migration from the Acrtic to the Mexican coast and reveals little known facts about the mating and feeding habits of the gentle giants.
Dec 07 1982
An investigative report on US dependence on foreign sources of strategic minerals, vital to the aerospace and steel industries, which examines and questions Reagan Administration policies toward those international sources.
Nov 23 1982
NOVA introduces some of the winners of the 1982 Westinghouse Science Talent Search: high school students whose interests range from silkworms to solar cells. With education facing a deepening financial crisis, will this year's group of well-trained young scientists be among the last of the best and the brightest?
Nov 16 1982
Of the 70,000 Americans hospitalized annually for severe burns, one-third are children. NOVA tells the story of extraordinary personal resilience in an 11-year-old boy's fight to recover from burns suffered over 73 percent of his body.
Nov 09 1982
NOVA reports on the staggering water problems of Southern Louisiana—where the mighty Mississippi is threatening to change its course, and where last year 49 square miles of coastline disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico.
Nov 03 1982
The Himalayas, highest peaks in the world, are crumbling. People are making them crumble, and people are the victims, as NOVA reveals in this breathtaking documentary.
Oct 19 1982
For the first time on television a rigorous, scientific investigation into the fact, fiction, and hoax of unidentified flying objects. With vivid film and accounts from several eyewitnesses including astronauts, NOVA sifts the evidence for and against the existence of UFOs.
Oct 12 1982
What is aging? Why does it happen? Can it be stopped? NOVA presents a startling report on research into the processes which make us age and how to control them.
Mar 28 1982
In this vivid study of mimicry and camouflage NOVA shows dramatically how snakes, butterflies, fish, turtles and many other kinds of animals, both predators and their intended victims, use remarkable forms of deception to achieve their goal: to eat, or avoid being eaten.
Mar 14 1982
NOVA visits San Francisco's Exploratorium—part laboratory, part school, part three-ring circus—run by an unlikely collection of physicists and high school students.
Mar 07 1982
NOVA shows how scientists go about creating new forms of life, and investigates the impact of the gene bonanza on industry, medicine, and the universities themselves. NOVA reveals that other countries are plowing far more resources than the US into the burgeoning industry.
Feb 28 1982
NOVA explores the past, present, and future of American television including the potential of cable, the Columbus, Ohio, two-way TV experiment, the array of new techniques and their potential social impact. Will the new video technology let people see what they really want, rather than what the networks want?
Feb 14 1982
What is it like not to be able to communicate with others? NOVA explores the severest of speech disabilities with Dick Boydell—born with cerebral palsy, confined to a wheel chair and unable for 30 years to say more than "yes" or "no" and investigates some of the new technology that gives the speechless a "voice."
Feb 07 1982
One of the biggest investigations in medical history began when a mysterious killer disease broke out during independence celebrations in Philadelphia in 1976: Legionnaire's Disease. NOVA traces the search for a cause and cure—a search bedeviled by false trails, accusations of incompetence and cover-up, and increasing urgency as the death toll mounted.
Jan 31 1982
NOVA takes an intimate look at Robert Tory Peterson, the man whose best-selling guide books to ornithology have played a pivotal role in turning birdwatching into a mass sport.
Jan 24 1982
NOVA presents a dramatic, exclusive film of the first "test-tube" baby born in America, Elizabeth Jordan Carr. NOVA follows the pregnancy from the start, presenting the only view on American TV of the extraordinary medical procedures used to remove and fertilize the egg, and of the historic birth, December 28, 1981 in Norfolk, VA.
Jan 17 1982
NOVA captures the breathtaking power and determination of these amazing creatures and examines how business and technology are changing the fishing industry—and the salmon itself.
Jan 10 1982

Season 8

20 Episodes

Twins 8x20
Ever thought what it's like having your mirror image talk back to you? It can be an everyday occurrence for identical twins. NOVA tells the incredible story of scientific research on twins—a field marked by brazen and damaging fraud, but also by suprising and important new discoveries about nature's recipe of heredity and environment which makes us all unique individuals.
Dec 06 1981
William H. Whyte's insightful and humorous look at city parks, plazas and streets, and the people who use them. Whyte shows the remarkable research he did over a period of many years to find out why some city squares and small parks are enjoyable while others are so dreary. His work led to the transformation of some New York City plazas from barren to bustling. Whyte shows how any city—large or small—can lick the problem of downtown dreariness.
Nov 29 1981
You are not alone! Like it or not, every human being and virtually every living creature is, in a sense, owned and operated by legions of prehistoric organisms, hordes of them in each cell in the body. That is one of the startling revelations as NOVA explores the mysterious wonder of life with Dr. Lewis Thomas, a leading biologist and award-winning author described by Time as "quite possibly the best essayist on science anywhere in the world."
Nov 22 1981
Many were delighted by the extraordinary special effects in movies like "2001" and" Star Wars," but few realized how their magic relied on technologies as futuristic as their science fiction plots. NOVA introduces 20th century pioneers who use computers and lasers to create an extraordinary array of strange, exciting new art forms.
Nov 15 1981
The controversy which exploded a century ago when Charles Darwin published "The Origin of Species" is erupting again with new facts and emotion. NOVA explores challenges to the theory of evolution coming from evidence in fossils, from biology laboratories, and Creationists.
Nov 01 1981
Called the "teeth of the wind" by those who have battled them for centuries, locusts continue to plague hundreds of millions of people. Rare desert rains transforms locusts from harmless grasshoppers to voracious swarms capable of destroying all vegetation in their path. NOVA reveals some of man's latest attempts to rid himself of his age-old enemy, the locust.
Oct 25 1981
A NOVA showing the extraordinary discoveries of X-ray astronomy. This new science has revealed that our universe is much stranger and more violent than ever imagined, filled with neutrons, stars, exploding galaxies, quasars and black holes—a universe seething with energy, bursting across vast distances of space and time.
Oct 18 1981
A great secret lies locked inside the master violins created by Italian craftsmen like Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now, a Wisconsin physicist, working alone in his cellar, may have solved the violin mystery.
Oct 11 1981
More people die in fires in the US than in any other industrialized country. In an alarming report that challenges the complacency of the US fire prevention establishment, NOVA uncovers glaring gaps in our defenses against flames that kill. Sealing any one of these gaps might save thousands of lives and prevent enormous pain and misery.
Oct 04 1981
NOVA reports on the potential danger of modern computers that gather "routine" information about our daily lives as we buy things, go to the hospital, or make donations. Computers can know more about us than our closest friends. NOVA examines how much of that personal information is readily shared with other computers.
Sep 27 1981
It's over 300 years since Galileo turned his new telescope on Saturn and first saw its spectacular rings. NOVA shows the beauty and new mysteries discovered by Voyager 1 on its historic visit.
Aug 28 1981
The beauty, endurance, and raw power of animals in the wild are captured on film as NOVA juxtaposes Olympic athletes performing feats which have parallels in the animal kingdom with animals who are the champions of grace and strength.
Mar 17 1981
For 150 million years, dinosaurs dominated the earth. Then, 65 million years ago, they suddenly vanished, along with a great deal of the planet's animal and plant life. NOVA examines a remarkable theory about the cause of the catastrophe—in which the first clue to the solution was a piece of clay.
Mar 10 1981
Sophisticated instruments used by astronomers enable earthlings to see beyond what was once the cloudy barrier of the Milky Way, to a universe of perhaps 100 billion other galaxies. NOVA takes a trip into outer space to see these clusters which are as old as time and several million light years away.
Mar 03 1981
Health care is no longer two aspirins and some chicken soup—it is a huge enterprise capable of amazing feats and costing billions of dollars. How can we afford to pay the bills? Is quality health care a right or a privilege? NOVA examines these questions in a comparison between the American and British systems of health care.
Feb 24 1981
NOVA investigates what science can do in helping to solve murder—in understanding why it occurs, and how the rate might be reduced—and explores the work of people who have the stark job of dealing with death: the police, pathologist, scientists and psychiatrists.
Feb 17 1981
When Mt. St. Helens erupted earlier this year, it focused the attention of the whole world on the almost incredible destructive forces that volcanos can release. Geologists from around the world congregated at the volcano and NOVA joined the vigil for an in-depth look at the incident and its aftermath.
Feb 10 1981
NOVA examines the Dead Sea. The lowest place on earth, at 1400 feet below sea level, it is jointly owned by Israel and Jordan. If used properly it could become a vital natural resource for both countries, giving them not only salt, but protein, fertilizer, oil, and a solar energy store.
Jan 27 1981
This program explores clues gathered from ancient rocks and meteorites in an attempt to piece together how our planet formed, what happened during its earliest days, and when life first appeared. The program includes visits to the scene of a fresh fall of meteorites, several volcanic eruptions, and an underwater glimpse of molten "pillow" lava as it oozes out of volcanic vents in the sea floor.
Jan 20 1981
Is the fagara root a match for the stethoscope? This program looks at the contributions of both traditional herbal medicine and western orthodox medicine to the health of the Nigerian people.
Jan 06 1981

Season 7

20 Episodes

Time—a concept which has baffled scientists and philosophers since time immemorial. Actor Dudley Moore hosts a funny, sobering and visually stunning quest for answers to riddles, as NOVA spends an hour on time.
Dec 30 1980
The cuddly image of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become an integral part of the jollity of the Christmas season. NOVA takes a timely look at how real deer live by visiting Rhum—an island off the coast of Scotland inhabited by red deer.
Dec 23 1980
The exquisite sensitivity of tough cells in the human skin makes it possible for us to discriminate with precision the slightest changes in texture and pressure, but how the electrical impulses we receive are converted into sensation remains a mystery. NOVA explores the hidden meaning and extraordinary power of human touch.
Dec 09 1980
NOVA tells the story of still and cine photography in science—from the extraordinary work of the pioneers in the early 1800s to how the ability to freeze time on film in ever shorter periods has given scientists remarkable new insights. Today photography enables us to analyze (frame by frame) the thousands of molecular reactions that can happen in less time than the blink of an eye.
Dec 02 1980
Water, water everywhere...but just how useful is it? NOVA travels to the Adirondack Mountains where acid rain is killing many high elevation lakes; to the Mississippi River where chlorine has combined with natural and manmade organic chemicals to form cancer-causing toxic chemical susbtances; to California, where conservation recycling has had to become a way of life; and to Bedford, Massachusetts, where the town wells have been contaminated by industrial waste.
Nov 25 1980
Thomas Edison is the quintessential American hero, the Wizard whose inventions revolutionized modern living. But there was always more to Edison than met the eye. He was a complex and contradictory man; a brilliant inventor, a foolish investor; a demanding boss, a liberal benfactor—a public figure that no one ever really knew. NOVA profiles the man behind the mythical reputation.
Nov 18 1980
On Wednesday, November 12, 1980, Voyager 1 is expected to arrive at Saturn for a first time ever extensive close-up investigation of the majestic ringed planet. Astronomers can expect to gather more information than ever before possible. On the day before this historic event, NOVA documents Voyager's journey through the outer solar system.
Nov 11 1980
Is interferon—known as IF in medical shorthand—the wonder drug and cure for cancer that some doctors claim? NOVA travels to London, Stockholm, Houston, San Francisco, and New Haven in search of the answer in the most complete film on interferon ever to appear on American television.
Nov 04 1980
Locked in the shale of the Western Rocky Mountains is more oil than in the Middle East—more than enough to solve our dependence on foreign crude oil. But will shale oil solve our gasoline shortage, or will it simply turn the Rockies into a gigantic industrial zone? NOVA explores the promise and the problems of shale oil.
Oct 28 1980
One year in the intricate life of a coastal lagoon unfolds in an hour's time when NOVA documents the fragile tidal ecosystem which supports the entire ocean.
Oct 14 1980
In one of the first films ever to come out of modern China, NOVA sifts through clues that Chinese scientists have uncovered in their pursuit of particularly virulent and elusive forms of cancer from which one out of every four people die.
Oct 07 1980
NOVA explores the shaping and molding of the male and female personality. From infancy through childhood, the program documents the impact of culture on the development of sex differences.
Sep 30 1980
NOVA explores the amazing Jari project of the Amazon basin. Eleven years ago, 3.5 million acres of virgin jungle were bought by the reclusive billionaire, Daniel K. Ludwig.
Mar 25 1980
Every year, millions of tourists converge on the Mediterranean's sunny coasts, lured by the prospect of bathing in clear, azure waters and basking in semi-tropical sun. But years of use and abuse have taken their toll on the once idyllic Mediterranean and the "world's biggest swimming pool" has become the world's biggest open sewer. NOVA explores the complex problems that plague the Mediterranean's future.
Mar 18 1980
Recent aircraft accidents have raised the question of just how safe modern commercial aviation really is. NOVA looks at some of the problems and experimental efforts underway to deal with them.
Mar 11 1980
Whaling is an integral part of Eskimo life, and a major source of food; even so, conservationists are seeking to restrict the hunting of bowheads in Alaska.
Mar 04 1980
More than 40 million Americans are afflicted by cardiovascular disease. NOVA examines the new information on risk factors and possible prevention of heart attacks and strokes—often fatal diseases.
Feb 19 1980
NOVA explores the science of natural engineering and asks the basic questions: what makes a good design in nature and why did a particular plant or animal adopt a particular design?
Feb 05 1980
NOVA profiles Dr. Edward Teller, the "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb," an acclaimed scientific genius and brilliant theoretician, and a man considered by some the most dangerous scientist in the United States.
Jan 22 1980
Aborigines in Australia, woodchucks in Pennsylvania, the Nobel Prize in Stockholm and the gay community in New York—what could possibily link such disparate elements? The answer is Hepatitis. NOVA examines this elusive disease, what causes it, how it is spread and how you get rid of it.
Jan 15 1980

Season 6

19 Episodes

For many people the idea of life without vision is as fearful as death. NOVA looks at five people struggling to save their threatened vision using drugs, surgery, counseling and determination.
Dec 18 1979
Dr. Philip Morrison, Institute Professor and Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, presents this thoughtful and provocative commentary on the nature of civilization.
Dec 11 1979
The Iron Bridge across the River Severn in Telford, England is two centuries old this year. It remains a monument to the Shropshire iron masters who built it, and a symbol of the Industrial Revolution that was born in the area where the bridge stands. NOVA traces the development of ironmaking and its far-reaching effects on society and the world economy.
Dec 04 1979
Most of India lives by the same rhythm, the same tools, as in centuries past. But there is another India—with thriving commercial centers, spotless research laboratories and large-scale industry. NOVA looks at how the gap between these two extremes is shrinking because of a policy of "appropriate" technology that uses the resources of both to meet the greatest needs of all.
Nov 20 1979
Thousands of amateur athletes are hurt every year, and many professional athletes suffer injuries that may mean the end of a career. NOVA looks at a new medical specialty—sports medicine—that promises to prevent and cure many sports related problems.
Nov 06 1979
At the 1976 Olympics, East German athletes walked off with 40 of the coveted gold medals, though their country is only the size of New Jersey. NOVA investigates whether a drug responsible for their incredible success—or is American athletic training and commitment falling behind that of the Communist world?
Oct 30 1979
NOVA views the history of sugar—from its scientific, religious and political history to its medical controversy.
Oct 16 1979
Sinister, sometimes even deadly, spiders have little popular appeal; yet their silken webs are among nature's loveliest creations. NOVA takes a close-look in slow motion, as spiders reveal a delicate grace and beauty, and an amazing array of lifestyles.
Oct 09 1979
Is the chemical industry a boom to modern civilization, or a major threat to our health and that of future generations? NOVA examines how toxic heribicides, pesticides, and other chemicals may cause cancer, miscarriages and birth defects in humans.
Oct 02 1979
Some powerful and complex painkilling drugs have just been discovered—in a place where you would least expect to find them. Endorphins and their component enkephalins are manufactured in the brain, and perform the same painkilling function as analgesics like morphine. NOVA explores some physiological mysteries, such as why acupuncture works, and how placebos can relieve symptoms, and shows how endorphins could revolutionize the treatment of pain, depression, and even schizophrenia.
Mar 29 1979
One hundred years after his birth, Albert Einstein remains an enigma to most Americans. NOVA presents an insightful portrait of the man and his mind through rarely viewed film footage.
Mar 15 1979
Health care is the third largest industry in the US. As a result of billions of dollars spent for medical education in the 1960s, there are now too many specialists and too few primary care physicians, especially in underserved areas. NOVA tells the story of one medical school in Israel that is training a new kind of family doctor.
Mar 08 1979
Is nuclear fusion the solution to the energy crisis? NOVA examines the promise—and problems—of fusion as a future energy source.
Mar 01 1979
Some day hydrogen may replace the gasoline that we are now using up so rapidly. NOVA looks at the potential of hydrogen as a zero-pollution fuel.
Feb 22 1979
Below the snow-capped peaks of the Peruvian Andes, the Q'eros Indians live a life patterned on that of their ancestors thousands of years ago. NOVA takes a look at the unchanging world of these isolated mountain people.
Feb 08 1979
The bed of the northeast Pacific Ocean is covered with a "carpet" estimated to be worth a staggering ten million dollars. These manganese nodules—the bumpy carpet—are rich not only in manganese but in the key strategic minerals: copper, nickel and cobalt. NOVA examines the debate about who owns them and who has the right to exploit their use.
Feb 01 1979
In 1945, B.F. Skinner shocked the world by putting his 13 month-old daughter, Deborah, into a 'box.' The box was actually a climate-controlled crib designed for comfort and protection, and the young psychologist was merely testing his theory that environment controls behavior. NOVA portrays the life of this famous behavioral psychologist now in his 70's and living quietly in Cambridge as Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
Jan 18 1979
As a child, Fred Young hunted birds and wild animals with primitive weapons, spoke only the Indian languages Ute and Navajo, went to a medicine man when he was sick, and slept under the stars. NOVA profiles Dr. Frederick Young, now a nuclear physicist working on the laser fusion project at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico.
Jan 11 1979
On the morning of March 16, 1978, the US owned, Liberian registered supertanker, the Amoco Cadiz, went aground off the coast of Brittany. Over the following days and weeks its entire 68 million gallons of oil drained into the sea. A NOVA production team began filmming at the scene shortly after the disaster, the biggest oil spill in history, and recorded clean-up efforts, effects of the spill on the crucial tourism and fishing industries, and the attempts of US and French marine biologists to trace the passage of the oil through the environment.
Jan 04 1979

Season 5

21 Episodes

Congress is currently considering a proposal that would double the size of America's national park system by designating a sizeable chunk of Alaska as off-limits to developers. NOVA explores the public debates on Alaska, such as the construction of the oil pipeline—a proposal that has sparked a bitter controversy between conservationists and developers.
Jun 28 1978
In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two radio astronomers at Bell Telephone Laboratories, discovered faint, but ever-present, microwave signals from space—the most ancient and most distant signals detected by man: the oldest "fossils" in the universe. NOVA explores the current surge of cosmological discovery that continues to aid scientists in the "cosmic archaeology" of digging into the history of the universe.
Jun 21 1978
Traditionally zoos were designed neither for people nor animals; barred cages taught people more about their separation from nature than about an animal and its habitat. But just as man has realized that he has all but destroyed much of the world's wilderness and its wildlife, he is realizing that the zoo may be the last refuge for wildlife. NOVA visits several United States zoos to examine a variety of activities of concern today: breeding, public education, creative new animal habitats, and the reintroduction of animals to their natural environment.
Jun 14 1978
NOVA explores Bovine sleeping sickness. Spread by a fly, it is a deadly disease that poses a threat to Africa's cattle.
Jun 07 1978
For thousands of years people have managed to live in deserts all over the world. But in recent years, a growing population and the demands of the international market have put more stress on these poor and easily exhausted lands. NOVA examines the consequences and possible solutions to desertification.
May 31 1978
In a world that each year loses up to 40 percent of its crops to insects, some form of pest control is desperately needed. But chemical pesticides have backfired. Pesticide-resistant insects frequently develop, and previously harmless insects have become devastating infestations. Farmers have found themselves trapped on a "pesticide treadmill"—the more they spray, the more they have to spray. NOVA examines several alternatives for pest control.
May 24 1978
When first invented 18 years ago, lasers were called "a solution looking for a problem;" nobody could think what to do with them. But in fact research scientists immediately began to exploit their pure colors and near-perfect focusing ability. Today lasers have grown into a billion-dollar business. They are used in construction, manufacturing, clothing, dentistry and medicine. And the future uses of lasers are likely to be of major significance as the means of achieving nuclear fusion and as a very high efficiency communications medium.
May 10 1978
Henry Ford, a great friend of Edison, was a film enthusiast who amassed some one and a half million feet of film during his lifetime. Deposited in the National Archives and known as the Ford Film Collection, it covers not only the Ford family and Ford Motor Company but also contains newsreels, and general films produced under Ford. Using the Collection, NOVA profiles Ford's life and times.
May 03 1978
The fortified plateau above Athens known as the Acropolis is the site of some of the most remarkable architecture in the world: its marble structures built in the fifth century BC, including the renowned Parthenon, represent the artistic peak of classical Greek architecture. NOVA examines how the heavily polluted air of Athens produces acid rain which is dissolving the marble sculptures and columns; and how iron tiles used extensively in repair 40 years ago are now rusting, expanding and shattering the stone structures.
Apr 19 1978
NOVA shows a year in the life of a beaver pond and includes almost every life form that exists in, on, under, around and above the water, from the microscopic plant life of summer to the eagles feeding on carcasses of deer that collapsed on the winter ice.
Apr 12 1978
In the summer of 1977 Paul MacCready, a California scientist and businessman, won the coveted Kremer Prize. His achievement was to design and build an airplane which completed, unaided, a one-mile figure-eight course entirely under the power provided by the pilot himself. This is the story of those many failures and MacCready's success.
Mar 29 1978
Today's scientists may be creating their own successors. Work being done in Artificial Intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science, only suggest that in the not too distant future, machines will outpace their creators. NOVA examines the possibility.
Mar 22 1978
NOVA investigates the theories of von Daniken and others that the Earth has been visited by intelligent beings from outer space. Among claims examined are: that the building techniques used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops are so advanced that only an extraterrestrial intelligence could have built it; and that the engraved stones of Palenque in Mexico depict an ancient astronaut at the controls of a space rocket.
Mar 08 1978
A science-based revolution in the making of wine is underway. NOVA traces the secrets of the aging process and science's involvement with the predicting of mass production high-quality vintage wines.
Mar 01 1978
In a dramatic docudrama, NOVA reconstructs the controversial lawsuit raised against renowned heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley when one of his patients died after heart surgery, and examines the legal and moral issues this raises in the practice of modern medicine.
Feb 22 1978
In the rain forests of Zaire, in the heart of Africa, live the Mbuti Pygmies. The Pygmy way of life has always been extraordinarily difficult to capture on film, though many have tried. NOVA presents a rare portrait of an elusive people, made by an independent filmmaker who lived with the Pygmies and won their trust.
Feb 15 1978
Second of the two-part series on space programs, NOVA looks ahead to the future, post-Apollo and the role that man in space will play, including the possibility of space colonization—huge orbiting space stations where people live and work in an earth atmosphere under artificial gravity.
Feb 01 1978
Part one of a two-part series on the subject of man in space, NOVA examines the history of NASA—from the origin of the space race through the triumph of the Apollo programs. By tracing the history of three key programs—Mercury, Gemini, Apollo—we show how the basic challenges surrounding space flight were answered: rendezvous and docking, life support, weightlessness, space sickness, equipment reliability and so on.
Jan 25 1978
It has been known since the turn of the century that there are four human blood groups, based on different red cells and serum characteristics. NOVA looks at the more recent discovery that the different white cell types, as determined by a variety of different molecular markers on the cell surface, open up the possibility of the prevention of disease.
Jan 18 1978
Botany is a neglected science and plants are all around us, but unfamiliar. NOVA examines our state of knowledge of how plants work: growth hormones, responses to light and shade, photosynthesis, root mechanisms and twining responses.
Jan 11 1978
Can a nuclear war be survived? Some members of the defense community say yes. NOVA explores the possibility.
Jan 04 1978

Season 4

19 Episodes

NOVA explores the delibitating diseases that are often caused by poverty and follows two paths to health care in Tanzania and the United States.
Jun 29 1977
NOVA explores the different means by which hearing-impaired people have learned to penetrate the world of the hearing by visiting with Kitty O'Neil—a woman record-holding speed car racer; Frances Parsons, an advocate of hearing-impaired persons' rights; and workers at Silent Industries—a factory in Los Angeles founded by a deaf man.
Jun 22 1977
NOVA profiles Linus Pauling—the only person to have received two unshared Nobel Prizes for his work in nuclear weapons.
Jun 01 1977
In part two of this two-part series on the diversity of language, NOVA explores how man has coped with the confusion of language and asks if the growing acceptance of English is the answer.
May 18 1977
In part one of this two-part exploration of the diversity of world languages, NOVA examines how and why the bewildering confusion of languages came about.
May 11 1977
NOVA traces 300 years of speculation, investigation and discovery that have centered on Mars—particularly the theory that the planet could support life. Questions raised by NASA's 1976 Viking mariner missions about how the vast canyons were formed are also explored.
Apr 27 1977
NOVA explores the huge international illegal trade in animals, penetrates the thriving underworld of smugglers and assesses the effects on vanishing wildlife.
Apr 20 1977
Solar energy is increasingly popular as a home heating source. But only recently has it been seriously considered as a source of industrial power. NOVA looks at this new industrial approach, such as the use of a huge windmill in Ohio, giant machines that may generate electricity from the heat of the tropical seas or from the motion of waves, and an orbiting solar power station able to beam microwaves to earth.
Apr 20 1977
In the winter of 1976-77, 80 percent of the wolf population in Northwest Alaska was the target of aerial hunts. Although the area is roamed by the Western Arctic caribou herds—a natural predator of the wolf—the caribou population has been steadily decreasing in number. NOVA examines how the Dept. of Fish and Game is handling the the problem of wolf control.
Mar 30 1977
NOVA investigates the controversial theory of Harvard University biologist E.O. Wilson, that many aspects of human behavior are genetically determined.
Mar 23 1977
NOVA explores the history of genetic engineering and the possible risks and benefits of this area of research
Mar 16 1977
NOVA profiles chemist Russell Marker who made the birth control pill possible by discovering a synthetic substitute for the hormone progesterone.
Mar 09 1977
NOVA looks at blackbirds, their winter habit of nesting in the millions, and the destruction they do to crops.
Mar 02 1977
NOVA recreates March 1975 at Brown's Ferry, an Alabama nuclear power plant—the largest in the world—that suffered a seven-hour fire which came very close to developing into a major public disaster.
Feb 23 1977
NOVA follows the lives of three boys who have combined immuned deficiency—a disease that leaves its victims with no immune system.
Feb 09 1977
NOVA explores the research on the 1976 drought in the western United States which led some solar scientists to discover the link between weather patterns and the 11 year sunspot mystery.
Feb 02 1977
What is the price we are prepared to pay for coal? NOVA looks at the environmental and health safety issues raised by the government, industry, and the victims.
Jan 19 1977
If you were a dinosaur scientist, what would you do with a pile of fossil bones? How would you even start to put the giant jigsaw puzzle together, never mind discover anything about how these dinosaurs lived? NOVA explores the incredible world of the dinosaur scientist.
Jan 12 1977
NOVA traces the development of Hitler's V-2 rocket through rare footage obtained from the National Archives—some never broadcast before on television.
Jan 05 1977

Season 3

20 Episodes

Since 1945, hundreds of ships and planes and thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared in an area of the Atlantic Ocean off of Florida, known as the Bermuda Triangle. NOVA penetrates the mystery of the terrifying Bermuda Triangle.
Jun 27 1976
Recent scientific developments have made it possible to detect a wide variety of defects in unborn babies. NOVA focuses on the ethical question that must be considered: What defines a defect? Should defective babies be aborted, or should they be allowed to live?
Jun 20 1976
The "Jaws" phenomenon has given sharks a bad name. But is the shark really such a barbarian? NOVA looks at the lifestyle of this remarkable survivor from the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Jun 13 1976
As late as 1967, smallpox struck as many as 15 million people in 43 countries and killed an estimated two or three million. Experts now believe that the disease is on the verge of extinction. NOVA looks at the recent success of the World Health Organization's program to eradicate this disease, considered a triumph of western-styled medicine.
Jun 06 1976
Margaret Sanger was responsible almost single-handedly for changing the whole attitude of the male-dominated medical profession towards "women's issues" and, above all, for gaining social and political acceptance for the concept of birth control. This NOVA docudrama reconstructs her life, told as flashbacks interspersed throughout an interview. Piper Laurie stars as Margaret Sanger.
May 23 1976
Benjamin is a healthy, normal baby, whom we meet at birth and whose first year of life provides the backbone of this revealing NOVA about early child development.
May 09 1976
NOVA shows the Netsilik eskimoes of Pelly Bay and their traditional way of life and what happens when Western civilization is imposed upon them.
May 02 1976
NOVA explores life underground, from foxes and badgers through moles and worms down to the myriad of micro-organisms that make soil the most complex substrate for life on earth. Included in the film is extraordinary footage of a mole burrowing and of roots growing.
Apr 18 1976
Dr. Norman Shumway of Stanford University has performed more heart transplants than any other heart surgeon. NOVA explores those extraordinary days in 1968-69 when it appeared that everyone with a scalpel was doing heart transplants, and survival of patients was measured in days.
Apr 11 1976
Today we take antibiotics for granted, and by doing so are steadily eroding their medical value. NOVA examines the problem of resistance to antibiotics in the bacteria they are designed to kill.
Mar 21 1976
NOVA joins chief archaeologist, Ivor Noel Hume, of colonial Williamsburg, VA, for a fascinating glimpse of the lifestyles of the founders of this country, complete with detailed reconstructions of houses, stores, workshops, gardens, taverns, and palaces.
Mar 14 1976
Each Sunday edition of the New York Times consumes 153 acres of trees. The paper packs, napkins, paper cups and packing used by McDonald's gobble up 315 square miles of trees every day. NOVA asks if, at this rate, trees can remain a renewable resource.
Mar 07 1976
Author Isaac Asimov joins NOVA in the retelling of the remarkable story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. James Watson and his ex-colleague Francis Crick exchange memories of the events which led to their winning the race for the structure of the gene.
Mar 07 1976
There's one place on earth where no one will ever catch a cold. And the freezing waters are so bitter there that a fish has been discovered to have developed its own anti-freeze. NOVA explores Antarctica—the coldest desert in the world.
Feb 15 1976
Every year, some 5,000 babies are born in the US with spina bifida, a congenital abnormality of the central nervous system. NOVA explores the mystery of what causes spina bifida and raises the issues of whether heroic measures should be taken to preserve the life of severely malformed babies.
Feb 08 1976
NOVA explores the mysterious ecosystem of the desert: a snowstorm; a lashing summer monsoon; and the emergence—in a pool created only minutes before—of a pair of adult spadefoot toads. Toads who had been waiting beneath the sand for a year for this brief and fortuitous moment to procreate the next generation...
Feb 01 1976
The last fourteen years have been a revolution in our understanding of our place in the stars, the Solar System. Beginning in 1961 with a Russian spacecraft flying to Venus, quickening with the Apollo manned missions to the Moon, it came of age in the Spring of 1974, when there were six spacecrafts traveling simultaneously from the Earth to the planets. NOVA looks at the era of manned and unmanned exploration of the Solar System.
Jan 25 1976
What do singer Peggy Lee, New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath and Congressman Richard Nolas have in common? They all practice a ritual called TM—Transcendental Meditation. NOVA examines the recent phenomenal success of the TM movement in America.
Jan 18 1976
Joey 3x02
NOVA takes viewers into the world of Joey Deacon, 54 years old and a spastic since birth. Joey has lived most of his life in institutions, unable to communicate with anyone until he met Ernie Roberts. The docudrama recreates Joey's story, with remarkable performances by two spastic actors portraying him as a boy and as a young man. Joey and Ernie themselves appear in the final sequences.
Jan 11 1976
It is now possible to predict earthquakes. At least two successful predictions have already been made in the United States; and the NOVA crew was present and filming while a third prediction was being formulated. NOVA looks at why earthquakes occur, how predictions are made, the threat they pose to cities at risk, and examines the advantages and disadvantages of making an earthquake a predictable disaster.
Jan 04 1976

Season 2

17 Episodes

Fish is an excellent source of protein; it could help ease the growing international food shortage. But in 1972 the total world fish catch dropped. NOVA explores the possible reasons for this decline.
Apr 06 1975
For over a thousand years the Mayan civilization grew and flourished in the rain forests of Central America. Discovered and finally destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadors, it was lost again until explorers brought it to light in the 19th century. Eric Thompson, an archaeologist who has had a 45 year love affair with the Maya, takes NOVA on a pilgrimage through the Mayan world, visiting, on the way, all the great ruined cities he has known for half a century.
Mar 30 1975
Since the Industrial Revolution, bigger has been better. NOVA profiles E.F. Schumacher, the author of Small is Beautiful, who thinks that enough is enough; that the time has come for technology to return to a human scale, where the ability to create is returned from the machine to people.
Mar 16 1975
How likely is it that a terrorist group will steal plutonium intended for nuclear reactor fuel and put together a blackmail weapon of unprecedented power in the shape of a homemade atom bomb? That question is posed by Theodore Taylor, former A and H bomb designer at Los Alamos, in a recent book, The Curve of Binding Energy. NOVA investigates just how easy it would be to design a bomb using unclassified information.
Mar 09 1975
High in the Hoggar Mountains, in the exact center of the Sahara desert, lives Sidi Mohammed and his family: children, grandchildren, cousins and a few former slave women. Their environment, one of the most ungenerous on earth, provides them with almost nothing. NOVA examines the changing lifestyle of Sidi Mohammed.
Feb 16 1975
NOVA explores T.D. Lynsenko's rise to power in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century, and how it affected plant genetic research in the USSR.
Feb 09 1975
NOVA profiles two very different scientists: Richard Feynman, a theoretical physicist, at the pinnacle of his career—a Nobel prizewinner; and Richard Lewontin, a biologist and highly regarded population geneticist from Harvard University.
Feb 02 1975
Has the case against DDT been proven? A strange question, perhaps, to be asking one year after the US has banned the insecticide, but NOVA dares to ask. Tracing the history of DDT from its discovery through its banning in the States, NOVA asks whether America overreacted with its total ban of this once acclaimed "wonder" chemical.
Jan 19 1975
Have you ever sensed that your body reacts differently at different times of the day? NOVA examines the best and worsetimes for work, good times for sex drives and your body's most reactive time of day for alcohol consumption.
Jan 12 1975
Jan 05 1975
NOVA joins a group of English biologists living literally on a platform in the middle of the Red Sea, who for several years have been studying the crown-of-thorns starfish, notorious for the devastation it has wrought on the coral reefs of Australia and the Pacific.
Dec 15 1974
Just why did Cro-Magnon man living in France's Dordogne Valley some 15,000 years ago take time out from the desperate business of survival to paint pictures in inaccessible corners of his cave dwellings? NOVA joins French and American archeologists as they piece together the lifestyle of these hunters of the last great Ice Age, and try to interpret the meaning of their cave art.
Dec 08 1974
NOVA joins a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists on a mission to find out just how San Francisco Bay works: its physics, its chemistry and its biology.
Dec 01 1974
Most of us spend one-third of our lives in a state of which we understand remarkably little—some people sleep for only a few minutes a night, and function perfectly well, while others declare that eight hours isn't enough. NOVA explores traditional notions about how much sleep we need; looks at effects of the sleeping pill, and, perhaps the most baffling of all aspects of sleep—dreaming.
Nov 24 1974
Smashing matter into ever smaller pieces in an attempt to find its fundamental building blocks has produced a confused nightmare of particles. NOVA looks at this on-again, off-again story—one of sciences's most mysterious—and, one of the most expensive, involving some of the biggest machines in the world.
Nov 17 1974
Many insects and some mammals use smell as a primary means of communication. NOVA explains how, for example, the entire economy of an ant's nest is organized by smell, and how some moths use smell for population control—an ability we is now beginning to understand.
Nov 10 1974
NOVA travels to forests and marshes to discover why birds sing and finds surprising parallels with the acquisition of speech in humans.
Nov 03 1974

Season 1

13 Episodes

Who were the people that built the first cities -- complete with apartment blocks -- in North America? They were the Anasazi Indians, who lived in the Southwest for some eight or nine thousand years and who then, in about 1300 AD, abruptly abandoned their cities and apparently disappeared. NOVA traces the steps of this ancient sophisticated culture.
May 26 1974
Nuclear fusion offers the promises of an unlimited, clean source of energy. But achieving fusion has proved one of the most difficult and elusive goals of the physicist. NOVA tells the story of the twists and turns and the international competition along the road toward the achievement of fusion; and details the recent breakthroughs which seem at last to have brought it within reach.
May 19 1974
When Paul Kammerer committed suicide in 1926, it was taken by most of his fellow biologists as a tacit admission of guilt that he had faked his experiments purporting to show the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Arthur Koestler joins NOVA in an in-depth examination of Kammerer's infamous experiment.
May 12 1974
Washoe is a chimp more like a person: she talks with her hands. NOVA visits with Washoe and her teachers—Professor Allen Gardner and Dr. Trixie Gardner—to learn more about this unusual animal.
May 05 1974
The advance of medicine depends inevitably on the testing of experimental procedures on human volunteers from either the healthy or the sick. Yet such procedures are often dangerous, and may not be of direct benefit to the subject. NOVA examines how individuals' interests are safeguarded, and asks, under what circumstances experiments should be conducted on children.
Apr 28 1974
Birds migrate in search of perpetual summer, sometimes traveling as much as 20,000 miles every year. NOVA uses radar to track and identify migrating birds that travel at night, focusing on how they coose routes tat avoid bad weather and make the best of prevailing winds—information that can aid meteorologists.
Apr 21 1974
In 1054 AD, the Chinese recorded the explosion of a star so bright that it lit the sky for three weeks, even during the day. It was the explosion of a dying star that was bigger than our sun. NOVA explores this mysterious explosion that led to the discovery of Crab Nebula.
Apr 14 1974
Medicine was transformed in the 19th century by the discovery of anesthesia; surgery, until then hasty, bloody and completely unable to deal with internal disorders, subsequently took its place in the front rank of medical practice. This NOVA docudrama depicts the pioneers of medicine.
Apr 07 1974
How does a primitive nomadic tribe of the Amazon basin cope with the encroachment of Western settlers? NOVA looks at both sides of the story, revealing the misunderstandings between the two cultures.
Mar 31 1974
Does life exist outside this planet? The Viking lander will set down on Mars in July 1976 to try to find out just that. NOVA explores how life started on Earth and examines the Viking Lander being built in its germ-free room before starting its long journey.
Mar 24 1974
NOVA explores the impact of whaling and the goods it produces for the industry, verses the grace and beatury of this intelligent mammal of the sea.
Mar 17 1974
NOVA explores the mighty Colorado River which today has become the life-blood of the Southwest, providing water and electricity to the farms and cities of California, Nevada, and Arizona. The program examines the political expediency and technological over-optimism that has led to some major miscalculations of the river's capacity.
Mar 10 1974
NOVA premieres on public television with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a nature film. Oxford Scientific Films Unit shows how it tackles such problems as filming a wood-wasp laying its egg inside trees, the hatching of a chick and the courtship rituals of the stickleback.
Mar 03 1974