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.
Sinkholes - Buried Alive (#4203H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG
In Tampa, Florida, in February 2013, a giant hole in the ground opened up and swallowed half a house, killing 36 year-old Jeffrey Bush as he slept in his bedroom. A month later, a golfer in Illinois survived an 18-foot fall when the 14th hole caved in beneath his feet. Both were victims of sinkholes-a notorious worldwide hazard that lurks wherever limestone bedrock is found. When carbon dioxide dissolves in rainwater, it forms a weak acid that attacks the soft limestone, riddling it like Swiss cheese with hidden underground rivers, caves and hollows. While this process of erosion takes millions of years, the fragile roof of a cavern near the surface can collapse in an eye blink, with little or no advance warning. Sinkholes can range from a few meters across to one in Egypt that measures 50 x 75 miles, and a Chinese hole nearly half a mile deep. Filled with compelling eyewitness video of collapsing sinkholes and authoritative science from expert geologists, Nova investigates what it's like to have your world vanish beneath your feet.
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3D Spies of WWII (#3903H) Duration: 56:16 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.
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?
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Petra - Lost City of Stone (#4205H) Duration: 56:46 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.
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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.