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Fall of the Leaning Tower

Program Overview


NOVA investigates the 800-year battle between the leaning Tower of Pisa and the engineers struggling to keep it upright.

The program:

  • examines how the tip of the 14,000-ton (12,700 metric tons) medieval tower has come to lean 16 feet (5 meters) off center.

  • reveals how engineering experts offered varying solutions to prevent the tower's collapse.

  • describes how the tower reacts to sunlight, rain, and vibrations.

  • reviews the politics surrounding repairing the tower's lean.

  • portrays working models that predict what may happen if the tower is subjected to human interventions like propping and soil extraction.

  • shows how many generations have tried and failed to compensate for the tower's lean.

Teacher's Guide
Fall of the Leaning Tower
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