PBS' premiere science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, it demystifies science and technology and highlights people involved in scientific pursuits.
Building Wonders: Hagia Sophia - Istanbul's Ancient Mystery (#4204H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVG
The soaring dome of Hagia Sophia dominates Istanbul's skyline. Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, this magnificent building has inspired reverence and awe. For eight hundred 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 AD? As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is urgently investigating Hagia Sophia's seismic secrets.
Nova follows the team's discoveries as they examine the building's unique structure and other ingenious design strategies that have insured the dome's survival. At the climax to the show, the engineers 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 in the real world. The Unshakeable Hagia Sophia is a detective story that reveals how this architectural wonder has proven so resilient for so long, and how it came to serve as a proud expression for the great civilizations that adopted it as a symbol.
Deadliest Volcanoes (#3901) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
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, 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 eruptions might happen and how deadly they could prove to be.
Vaccines - Calling The Shots (#4114H) Duration: 55:46 STEREO TVPG
Diseases that were largely eradicated 40 years ago are returning. Across the world, children are getting sick and dying from preventable conditions because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. How do parents decide whether to vaccinate or not, and what are the risks to the child and to society? Featuring research scientists, pediatricians, psychologists, anthropologists, and parents, this program travels the globe to look at the science behind vaccinations, track epidemics, and investigate the serious human costs of opting out.
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Deadliest Tornadoes (#3910) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
In April 2011, the worst tornado outbreak in decades left a trail of destruction across the U.S., killing more than 340 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? This episode of NOVA looks at the science behind the April outbreak, meeting those affected and the scientists trying to predict tornadoes and understand whether this outbreak relates to global climate change.
Megastorm Aftermath (#4017H) Duration: 55:06 STEREO TVPG
One year after Hurricane 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 Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate? What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next Sandy and what progress has been made toward making our urban infrastructure more resilient? Much of Sandy's wrecking power was due to an extreme storm surge that left large swaths of New York and New Jersey underwater. And with sea levels on the rise, flooding will only become more frequent. What is the role of global warming in driving these rising seas and what will it take to make cities like New York more resilient? Nova travels around the world to see how other low-lying urban areas are combining extraordinary engineering with natural landscape restoration and a smarter, more flexible power grid to prepare for an uncertain future. At the same time, Nova meets the 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?
The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies (#3601) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVG (Secondary audio: none)
Every year, 100 million monarch butterflies set off on an incredible journey across North America. These beautiful creatures fly 2,000 miles to reach their remote destination: a tiny area high in the mountains of Mexico. Yet scientists are still puzzling over how the butterflies achieve this tremendous feat of endurance - and how, year after year, the monarchs navigate with such hair's-breadth precision. NOVA flies along with the monarchs, visiting the spectacular locations they call home and meeting the dangers they encounter along the way. As this program reveals, the monarch is a scientific marvel locked in an inspiring struggle for survival.
Colosseum - Roman Death Trap (#4206H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG-V
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. But this building is more than just an architectural giant - in its heyday it was filled with unbelievable spectacles and 50,000 cheering fans. 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. Could these legends be true, or are they just myth?
Now, with extraordinary access to one of the world's most protected world heritage sites, archaeologists and engineers are teaming up to recreate ancient Roman techniques to build a 25-foot lifting machine and trap door system capable of releasing a wolf into the Colosseum's arena for the first time in 1500 years. To do it, they will have to decipher ghost-like impressions left on the crumbling walls of the Colosseum's basement by the original lifts and then transform them into working plans for construction. Do they have what it takes to replicate the innovation and ingenuity of the Romans?
Petra - Lost City of Stone (#4205H) Duration: 55:56 STEREO TVPG
More than 2000 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 across hundreds of miles 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. And beyond Petra's city of the dead, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes discover a city of the living-complete with a water system that not only supplied 30,000 people with enough to drink, but also filled bathhouses, fountains, and pools with such abundance that some scholars believe this desert metropolis may have been the Las Vegas of the ancient world. The race is on to discover how these nomads created this oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on earth, and ultimately, why Petra disappeared.
The Bible's Buried Secrets (#3516) Duration: 1:56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
This two-hour special breaks exciting new ground in investigating the origins of the ancient Israelites, the evolution of their belief in one God and the creation of the Bible. For the first time, more than a century of literary detective work and decades of archeological excavation in the Holy Land will challenge viewers with provocative new insights, including that most Israelites worshiped pagan gods and many believed that God had a wife, who was venerated as an idol. A story of science, history and faith.
The Bible's Buried Secrets (#3516H) Duration: 1:54:49 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
This program takes viewers on a scientific journey to the beginnings of modern religion. It recounts the saga of the ancient Israelites and digs deeply into both the Bible and the history of the Israelites through the archeological artifacts they left behind. The documentary focuses on the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament, as the foundation for the great monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The producers worked with an international team of scholars and researchers who studied stories, examined artifacts, deciphered ancient manuscripts, and hypothesized how - in a time of human sacrifice, idolatry and slavery - the concept of one God emerged.
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Alien Planets Revealed (#4101H) Duration: 55:16 STEREO TVG
It's a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3500 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 animation with input from expert astrophysicists and astrobiologists, this episode 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, this film 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.
3D Spies of WWII (#3903H) Duration: 56:31 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Hitler's scientists developed terrifying new weapons of mass destruction. Alarmed by rumors about 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 were 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 Hitler.
Emperor's Ghost Army (#4120) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
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 2200 years, this clay army, 8000 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, this program 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.
The Great Math Mystery (#4207H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG
Nova leads viewers 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. But where does math get its power?
Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the ultimate riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery? Humankind's clever trick, or the language of the universe? The Great Math Mystery is a show for everyone; whether we think we're good with numbers or not, we all use math in our daily lives. It sheds fascinating light on how math works in our brains and ponders the ultimate mystery of why it works so well when decoding the universe.
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Oklahoma's Deadliest Tornadoes (#4015H) Duration: 54:16 STEREO TVPG
On May 20th 2013, a ferocious F5 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.
Hubble's 25th Anniversary (#4208H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVG
25 years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble's landmark anniversary, Nova tells the remarkable story of the telescope that forever changed our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it.
From its inception through its early days, when a one-millimeter engineering blunder turned the telescope into an object of ridicule, to the five heroic astronaut missions that returned Hubble to the cutting edge of science, Nova hears from the scientists and engineers on the front line who tell the amazing Hubble story as never before. This single telescope has helped astronomers pinpoint the age of the universe, revealed the birthplace of stars and planets, advanced our understanding of dark energy and cosmic expansion, and uncovered black holes lurking at the heart of galaxies. For more than a generation, Hubble's stunning images have brought the beauty of the heavens to millions, revealing a cosmos richer and more wondrous than we ever imagined. Join Nova for the story of this magnificent machine and its astonishing discoveries.
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Dawn of Humanity (#4209H) Duration: 1:56:46 STEREO TVPG
Nova and National Geographic present exclusive access to an astounding discovery of ancient fossil human ancestors. Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting a special team of experts slender enough to squeeze through a maze of passages. They have brought to light an unprecedented wealth of fossils belonging to a crucial gap in the record of our origins that spans the transition between the ape-like australopithecines (such as the famous Lucy) and the earliest members of the human family. At the center of the discovery is paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, a big character, brimming with enthusiasm and opinions, whose claims have stirred long controversy in the contentious field of human origins. Join Nova as we solve a two million year-old "crime scene" and dig into extraordinary new clues about what made us human.