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Glenn Seaborg | A Chemist Goes to War

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


In 1941, a young Berkeley chemist named Glenn Seaborg created one of the first artificial elements: plutonium. When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged America into war, he joined the Manhattan Project and played a key role in creating the plutonium for the bomb that was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Continue


Marie Curie | The Radium Craze

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


After Marie and Pierre Curie’s discovery of radium, the new element’s wondrous ability to glow in the dark inspired a worldwide craze — a rush of radium-laced products that promised to cure everything from impotence to hair loss. What few people realized — and the Curies were reluctant to admit — was the great harm this radioactive element could do. Continue


Humphry Davy | Davy’s Greatest Failure

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


Humphry Davy’s discovery of laughing gas made him famous and led to a new job at the Royal Institution in London, where he dazzled audiences with his popular lectures. But with his attention diverted, Davy failed to follow up on his observation that nitrous oxide could be used for anesthesia, thereby condemning thousands around the world to decades of needless surgical pain. Continue


Finding Rare Archival Footage

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American Experience
PBS


This recently re-discovered footage of Walt Disney and colleagues at a party was shot by Art Babbitt, regarded as one of the top animators at Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s and '40s. Decades later, associate producer Matt Gavin tracked down the footage through Babbitt's widow, Barbara Perry Babbitt, for use in American Experience's "Walt Disney" documentary. Continue


Joseph Priestley | A Momentous Encounter

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


While holding a variety of jobs as a minister, teacher, lecturer and tutor, Joseph Priestley wrote prolifically on subjects ranging from education and theology to politics and science. Biographer Steven Johnson explains how Priestley’s idea for a book about electricity led to his warm friendship with Benjamin Franklin — and inspired him to become a scientist in his own right. Continue


Sea Slugs' Gigantic Neurons

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Gross Science
PBS


The California brown sea hare has gigantic neurons. It also has a very strange way of reproducing. Continue


A Tsunami Strikes

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NOVA
PBS


When an unimaginably colossal tsunami hits Fukushima, the results are catastrophic. Continue


Learning history to honor fallen heroes of D-Day

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PBS NewsHour
PBS


To make the history of World War II more vivid and meaningful, teams of students and teachers are tracing the footsteps of those who served and died during the invasion of Normandy. Participants in the National History Day's Normandy Institute spend months doing intensive research on a single "silent hero," before offering a personalized graveside eulogy. The NewsHour's April Brown reports. Continue


Essential Documentaries About the Arab Spring

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POV
PBS


Filmmakers, journalists and programmers share their top five documentaries about life in the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring. Click on the menu to learn more about each of the contributors and see their picks, or click on each film image to read about their choices. Continue


Why Don't These Cicadas Have Butts?

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Gross Science
PBS


The fungus Massospora cicadina makes periodical cicadas’ butts fall off. Continue


Harry Moseley | Changing the Role of Scientists in War

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


In 1913, English graduate student Harry Moseley redefined the Periodic Table using X-rays to reveal the importance of atomic number — the number of protons in an atom’s nucleus. But when World War I broke out, Moseley enlisted and was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Turkey. His shocking death at age 27 forever changed the role of scientists during war. Continue


Dmitri Mendeleev | The Element Mendeleev Never Accepted

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


Dmitri Mendeleev’s grasp of chemistry was so legendary that he accurately predicted the properties of three elements before they were discovered. But the "father of the Periodic Table" never accepted the properties of radium, since the idea that it glowed in the dark because it was changing into other elements flew in the face of his belief that elements were eternal. Continue


Antoine Lavoisier | Lavoisier’s Better Half

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The Mystery of Matter
PBS


Before and after work each day as a tax administrator for the king of France, Antoine Lavoisier spent hours in his private laboratory, and one day a week he welcomed others to take part in his ambitious experiments. But his most important collaborator was his wife, Marie Anne, who brought her own extraordinary talents to their partnership. Continue


Why we Made "Walt Disney"

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American Experience
PBS


In this short video, Executive Producer Mark Samels explains how American Experience was able to gain unprecedented access to the Disney archives in order to tell the in-depth story of Walt Disney -- without any editorial input or oversight from The Walt Disney Company. "Walt Disney" premieres September 14 and 15 at 9/8c on PBS. Continue


Walt Disney Preview

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American Experience
PBS


An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers. "Walt Disney" premieres September 14 and 15 at 9/8c on PBS American Experience. Continue


Nuclear Meltdown Disaster

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NOVA
PBS


Go inside the Fukushima power plants for the minute-by-minute story of what went wrong. Continue


Visitors to Disneyland

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American Experience
PBS


Disneyland attracted one million visitors within the first 10 weeks after its grand opening in July 1955. It also became a top destination for foreign dignitaries visiting the United States. "Walt Disney" premieres September 14 & 15 on PBS American Experience. Continue


Softer, More Human Robots

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NOVA
PBS


Engineers are making robots more human by turning them entirely flexible, inside and out. Continue


Remembering Washington Week Moderator Paul Duke

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Washington Week
PBS


Ten years ago, long-time Washington Week moderator Paul Duke died at the age of 78. Duke worked for the AP, The Wall Street Journal and NBC News before joining Washington Week as moderator in 1974, a position he held for 20 years until his retirement in 1994. Continue


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