Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
SAF Archives  search ask the scientists in the classroom cool science
past teaching guides
interactive activities
cool careers in science
in the classroom

"Science Italian Style" Guide & Resources

JOIN Frontiers Host Alan Alda on a scientific tour of Italy, as he travels from Pisa, where engineers try to prop up the Leaning Tower, to Rome, Milan, the Apennines, Florence and sites near ancient but active volcanoes. Along the way, see what science is doing to save endangered wildlife and solve the riddle of missing matter.

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:

  • Fixing the Leaning Tower of Pisa (running time: 8:17) -- Engineers try to keep the tower from falling over while retaining its famous tilt. Activity: Build a leaning tower.

  • All in the Family (running time: 10:55) -- A two-part story on vanishing wildlife in Italy: the European brown bear and the Abruzzo chamois. Activities: Simulating DNA analysis; Facing the issues about endangered species.

  • Long-Distance Doc (running time: 5:35) -- In the operating room of the future, robots may perfrom surgery. Activities: Hone your surgical skills; Set up a remote for a remote.

  • Eruption! (running time: 10:37) -- A visit to Pompeii in 79 A.D. and a look at what science is doing to predict and prepare for volcanic eruptions. Activity: How fast does lava flow? This "Event-Based Science" activity measures viscosity.

  • Where's the Matter? (running time: 5:31) -- If 90 percent of the universe is missing, where is it? Physicists in an underground lab try to capture a particle that may provide the answer. Activities: Should the government continue to fund "Big Science" projects?; Role play a debate on the issues.

  • Renaissance Machines (running time: 5:40) -- A 20th-century machine, the computer, brings 15th-century machines to life. Contest Idea/Activity: Build a model hang glide.


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