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"Show 304" Guide & Resources

Join SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS for a fascinating journey to the Middle East...and leave the stereotypes behind. If you think this might be another program about wars and oil, or about the building of the pyramids, you're in for some surprises. For instance, although many theories have been proposed about pyramid-building, how much do we know about the people who actually built them? And suppose the Red Sea really did part so the Israelites could cross? One oceanographer has a possible explanation. And there's more. Find out how ancient Egyptians scooped Pythagorus, why storks migrating from Europe need an Egyptian-Israeli lift, how a desert oasis cultivates legend and lore, how to grow a coral reef from scratch and all about Israel's hi-tech sports advantage.

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

  • Under and Around the Red Sea: Growing a Coral Reef (running time: 8:25), Red Sea "Miracle" (running time: 3:21) -- Two sites in the Red Sea: at one, a scientist salvages a coral reef; another investigates the science of the Red Sea "miracle." Activities: Understanding coral dynamics, Create your own earthquake.

  • Tomb of the Pyramid Builders (running time: 6:30) -- The 4,500-year-old tomb of the pyramid builders is excavated; what secrets will it reveal? Activities: Set up a dig, Imaginary time travel.

  • Science and the Brain: Infant-mother Bonding (running time: 5:53), Hi-tech Sports Training (running time: 5:38) -- Two studies in Israel: in the first, new moms experience the "mush brain" effect; the second applies biofeedback techniques to sports. Activities: Test your sense of smell, Biofeedback techniques.

  • Oasis of the Ancestors (running time: 3:38) -- A green museum in Israel provides a natural setting for legendary plants. Activities: Hieroglyphics yesterday and today, Design a garden, Poetry in ancient and modern times.

  • Saving Storks in the Sinai (running time: 9:57) -- Travel-weary storks migrating from Europe to Africa get a lift from friends in the Middle East. Activity: Flight Patterns in thermals. Report from the Field: White Stork Project volunteer Jeffrey Glen.

  • Ancient Flutes in Egypt (running time: 6:20) -- An Egyptian flutist breathes into ancient instruments, raising questions about early music theory. Activities: Physics of music: making panpipes, Musical Q&A.


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