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Science in Paradise Guide & Resources

Scientific American Frontiers' host Alan Alda accompanies scientists in the Carribean tracking hawksbill turtles as part of a conservation project and working to save coral reefs afflicted with an unexpected disease. He visits Trinidad and learns to play that country's native instrument -- the steel pan -- and uncovers science stories in island sites from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the island of Montserrat. Join Alan for the season's premiere episode of Frontiers as he and the crew tour the Caribbean in this special international episode!

Here are the topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related activities you'll find in this online teaching guide:

  • Turtle Travels (running time: 12:28) -- The hawksbill turtles that nest on the beaches of Buck Island off St. Croix are turning out to be a classic conservation success story. Discussion and Activities: Comparing nesting temperatures; Turtle reproductive strategies.

  • Paradise Postponed (running time: 9:15) -- Life on the tiny, lush island of Montserrat has been forever changed by deadly eruptions of a volcano dormant since the time of Columbus. Discussion and Activities: Model a mini-volcano.

  • The Pan Man (running time: 10:28) -- Alan learns to play the steel pan (believed to be the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century) in its country of origin, Trinidad. Discussion and Activities: Good vibrations from steel spoons.

  • Big Dish (running time: 7:57) -- Visit Arecibo, Puerto Rico, home of the world's largest radio telescope - a 1,000-foot dish tuned in to signals from all parts of the universe. Discussion and Activities: Build a reflecting dish; Risk assessment; Cosmic Collisions.

  • Dust Busting (running time: 11:02) -- Scientists dive into the Caribbean to find out why sea fans, a soft coral, are dying. The problem begins half a world away, in Africa. Discussion and Activities: Capture microbes in the air.

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch Science in Paradise, test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!

  • Transcripts from Science in Paradise

  • Related Sites for Science in Paradise


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.