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Social Studies

Program Overviews


U.S. History Pre-1800 to Present

A Man, A Plan, A Canal -- Panama
Ride along with author David McCullough on a journey through the engineering and human drama that produced the Panama Canal. 1 hr.

Battle Alert in the Gulf
Strategy makers, fighter pilots, Aegis cruiser captains, and fast-attack submarine crews contend with a hostile Iraq. 1 hr.

Battle Plan Under Fire
Learn about the effectiveness of America's high-tech arsenal against Iraqi terrorists and civilian militias and find out the military's evolving strategies to fight such wars. 1 hr.

Building on Ground Zero
Find out what can be learned from the World Trade Center disaster. 1 hr.

Codebreakers
Explore the history of secret codes, including the most celebrated of all cryptographic coups: The breaking of the World War II codes used by Japan and Germany. 1 hr.

Decoding Nazi Secrets
Allied technologies developed at Britain's Station X helped halt the onslaught of the Third Reich and set the stage for today's computers. 2 hrs.

Escape! Because Accidents Happen -- Abandon Ship
Trace hundreds of years of maritime safety engineering, including the stories behind the invention of lifejackets, life boats, breathing apparatus, and other technologies. 1 hr.

Escape! Because Accidents Happen -- Car Crash
Hear about the heroes of automobile safety who have helped make today's cars safer than they have ever been. 1 hr.

Escape! Because Accidents Happen -- Fire
Learn about 2,000 years of human effort to be safe from fire, including such inventions as the automatic sprinkler. 1 hr.

Escape! Because Accidents Happen -- Plane Crash
Learn about the history of aircraft and passenger safety, from early inventions like the parachute through today's ultra-modern safety systems. 1 hr.

Faster Than Sound
Top test pilots describe the dangers, mysteries, and thrill of being the first to fly at supersonic speed. 1 hr.

Forgotten Genius
Discover the compelling story of 20th-century chemist Percy Lavon Julian, a world-class scientist and civil rights pioneer who helped break new ground in the chemistry of plants. 2 hrs.

Great Escape
Relive the story of a group of Allied POWs who attempted World War IIís most daring and technically ingenious prison break. 1 hr.

Hitler's Lost Sub
A fisherman's net snags off the coast of New Jersey, revealing a missing World War II German U-boat. 2 hrs.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
Explore the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, which considered whether intelligent design is science and whether it should be taught alongside evolution in a public school science classroom. 2 hrs.

Last Flight of Bomber 31
Join forensic scientists who set out to discover what happened to seven American airmen whose plane crashed on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula during World War II. 1 hr.

Lincoln's Secret Weapon
The Navy undertakes a risky project to salvage the USS Monitor, an innovative armored combat vessel from the Civil War. 1 hr

Missing in MiG Alley
Learn about the world's first jet war involving the U.S. F-86 Sabre and the North Korean MiG-15 fighter planes and hear a number of stories about pilots who went missing during the Korean War. 1 hr.

Most Dangerous Woman in America, The
Follow the life and struggles of Mary Mallon -- the first healthy carrier of typhoid fever ever identified -- and the development of the nation's early public health policies. 1 hr.

Pocahontas Revealed
Discover an illuminating new view of this legendary figure and learn what archeological evidence has revealed about her story. 1 hr.

Russia's Nuclear Warriors
Go inside Russia's largest missile base, where soldiers still stand at the ready, awaiting orders to push the nuclear button. 1 hr.

Saving the National Treasures
Trace the history of the nation's Charters of Freedom -- the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence -- and learn about the five-year, $5 million design and construction of the encasements that house them. 1 hr.

Secrets of Making Money
With a radically redesigned bill, the U.S. Treasury fights back against a new breed of counterfeiters. 1 hr.

Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies
NOVA looks back to the 1940s, when American spies passed their country's deepest scientific secrets to the Soviets. 1 hr.

Sinking the Supership
Relive the sinking of Japan's Battleship Yamato through historical records, archeological evidence, and eyewitness accounts. 1 hr.

Space Shuttle Disaster
Learn the story of the space shuttle program and find out what led to the 1986 Challenger and 2003 Columbia disasters. 1 hr.

Spies That Fly
Examine 50 years of unmanned aerial vehicle development that includes flying spies the size of a CD player to fully armed pilotless jets that roam halfway around the world. 1 hr.

Submarines, Secrets, and Spies
Explorer Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, investigates the wrecks of two Cold War-era nuclear submarines. 1 hr.

Terror in the Minefields
Travel to Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to discover the ease of laying mines and the difficulty and danger of clearing them. 1 hr.

The Spy Factory
Examine the role the National Security Agency played in tracking Al Qaeda operatives prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 1 hr.

To the Moon
Relive the remarkable history of humankind's journeys to the moon. 2 hrs.

Trillion Dollar Bet
An elegant mathematical formula attracts Wall Street's attention and spawns a multi-trillion-dollar industry. 1 hr.

Wanted -- Butch and Sundance
Go with forensic sleuth Clyde Snow and other experts to Bolivia in search of the remains of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 1 hr.

War Machines of Tomorrow
Take a look back at the war technology employed in the Desert Storm Gulf War and explore military machines of the future. 1 hr.

Who Killed the Red Baron?
Explore the mystery of who killed the Red Baron and learn about innovations in aircraft development during World War I. 1 hr.

Why the Towers Fell
Forensic engineers investigate the collapse of the World Trade Center. 1 hr.

World in the Balance
Profiles the population challenges and environmental impacts of a changing world as told through personal stories from India, Kenya, Japan, and China. 2 hrs.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
Learn the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who invented the first powered airplane to achieve sustained, controlled flight and see authentic replicas of their historic plane in flight. 1 hr.


World History 1500 A.D. to Present

A Man, A Plan, A Canal -- Panama
Ride along with author David McCullough on a journey through the engineering and human drama that produced the Panama Canal. 1 hr.

Anastasia -- Dead or Alive
Learn about the massacre of Czar Nicholas and his family, and delve into the mystery surrounding Princess Anastasia Romanov. 1hr.

Arctic Passage
Relive to legendary expeditions -- one tragic, one triumphant -- to pioneer a route through the Northwest Passage. 2 hrs.

Astrospies
Delve into the untold story of a secret U.S. Air Force-run program designed to launch military astronauts on spy missions in space during the Cold War. 1 hr.

B-29 Frozen in Time
Join an expedition with famed test pilot Darryl Greenamyer and his crew as they seek to repair and fly a B-29 bomber stranded on the Greenland icecap since 1947. 1 hr.

Battle Alert in the Gulf
Strategy makers, fighter pilots, Aegis cruiser captains, and fast-attack submarine crews contend with a hostile Iraq. 1 hr.

Codebreakers
Explore the history of secret codes, including the most celebrated of all cryptographic coups: The breaking of the World War II codes used by Japan and Germany. 1 hr.

Decoding Nazi Secrets
Allied technologies developed at Britain's Station X helped halt the onslaught of the Third Reich and set the stage for today's computers. 2 hrs.

Everest -- The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine
Relive George Mallory's climb and the enduring mystery surrounding his disappearance atop the Mt. Everest. 1 hr.

Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
Learn about Galileo Galilei's pioneering telescopic observations, his fateful Inquisition trial for heresy, and life in the seventeenth century in this re-creation of the famous scientist's life. 2 hrs.

Great Escape
Relive the story of a group of Allied POWs who attempted World War IIís most daring and technically ingenious prison break. 1 hr.

Hitler's Lost Sub
A fisherman's net snags off the coast of New Jersey, revealing a missing World War II German U-boat. 2 hrs.

Hitler's Sunken Secret
Follow a team of underwater archeologists to the bottom Lake Tinn in Norway as they try to locate and determine the historically significant contents of a ferry sabotaged in World War II. 1 hr.

Holocaust on Trial
A trial in London's High Court examines evidence from Auschwitz to successfully challenge the claims of Holocaust "deniers." 1 hr.

Last Flight of Bomber 31
Join forensic scientists who set out to discover what happened to seven American airmen whose plane crashed on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula during World War II. 1 hr.

Missing in MiG Alley
Learn about the world's first jet war involving the U.S. F-86 Sabre and the North Korean MiG-15 fighter planes and hear a number of stories about pilots who went missing during the Korean War. 1 hr.

Nazi Designers of Death
Learn about the creation of genocide factories during the Holocaust, with emphasis on Auschwitz. 1 hr.

Nazi Prison Escape
From 1940 to 1945, Allied prisoners of war engineered spectacular escapes from Colditz Castle, the Nazis' most impregnable prison. 1 hr.

Russia's Nuclear Warriors
Go inside Russia's largest missile base, where soldiers still stand at the ready, awaiting orders to push the nuclear button. 1 hr.

Secrets of the Parthenon
Explore the ambitious restoration of the Parthenon and discover a number of surprising secrets that help explain how the ancient Greeks constructed this unique architectural icon. 1 hr.

Secrets of the Samurai Sword
Learn about the ancient tradition of forging the samurai sword, and explore the legend of the renowned Japanese samurai warrior. 1 hr.

Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies
NOVA looks back to the 1940s, when American spies passed their country's deepest scientific secrets to the Soviets. 1 hr.

Sinking City of Venice
Examine the natural and manmade forces causing Venice to sink and the water to rise and see why a controversial plan to hold back the sea with massive floodgates has been hotly debated for more than 30 years. 1 hr.

Sinking the Supership
Relive the sinking of Japan's Battleship Yamato through historical records, archeological evidence, and eyewitness accounts. 1 hr.

Spies That Fly
Examine 50 years of unmanned aerial vehicle development that includes flying spies the size of a CD player to fully armed pilotless jets that roam halfway around the world. 1 hr.

Sputnik Declassified
Discover the political and scientific story behind the 1957 launch of the first satellite, Sputnik 1. 1hr

Submarines, Secrets, and Spies
Explorer Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, investigates the wrecks of two Cold War-era nuclear submarines. 1 hr.

Terror in the Minefields
Travel to Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to discover the ease of laying mines and the difficulty and danger of clearing them. 1 hr.

The Bible's Buried Secrets
Take in more than a hundred years of archeological excavations and centuries of biblical scholarship to explore the history of the Israelites and the beginnings of modern religion. 2 hrs.

The Spy Factory
Examine the role the National Security Agency played in tracking Al Qaeda operatives prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 1 hr.

To the Moon
Relive the remarkable history of humankind's journeys to the moon. 2 hrs.

Voyage of Doom
Nautical archeologists uncover the wrecked ship of 17th century French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle. 1 hr.

War Machines of Tomorrow
Take a look back at the war technology employed in the Desert Storm Gulf War and explore military machines of the future. 1 hr.

Who Killed the Red Baron?
Explore the mystery of who killed the Red Baron and learn about innovations in aircraft development during World War I. 1 hr.

World in the Balance
Profiles the population challenges and environmental impacts of a changing world as told through personal stories from India, Kenya, Japan, and China. 2 hrs.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
Learn the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who invented the first powered airplane to achieve sustained, controlled flight and see authentic replicas of their historic plane in flight. 1 hr.


World History Prehistory to 1500 A.D.

America's Stone Age Explorers
Learn about the evidence and controversies surrounding who the first Americans were, where they came from, and how they arrived. 1 hr.

Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land
Explore a remote Judean cave where ancient Jews sought refuge nearly 2,000 years ago. 1 hr.

Cracking the Maya Code
Explore the centuries-long effort to understand the Maya's complex hieroglyphic script and learn about the breakthroughs that led to the code being deciphered. 1 hr.

Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius
The shattered remnants of the Roman city of Pompeii bear witness to the risk that the people of Naples still face today. 1 hr.

Fall of the Leaning Tower
An international committee of engineers and architects race to prevent the toppling of Pisa's famous monument. 1 hr.

Great Inca Rebellion, The
Learn about skeletal evidence that reveals a new story of the Spanish conquest of the Inca and rewrites the history laid down by the Spanish conquistadors. 1 hr.

Ice Mummies -- Frozen in Heaven
Learn about the frozen bodies of children uncovered by archaeologists in South America and follow an archaeological expedition to a high-altitude sacred site in search of ritual remains. 1 hr.

Ice Mummies -- Return of the Iceman
See how X-ray, CAT scan, and microscopic analysis of the Iceman reveals where he lived, what he ate, and how he may have died. 1 hr.

Ice Mummies -- Siberian Ice Maiden
Glimpse the Ice Maiden's tattooed body and sacrificial offerings, uncovered for the first time in 2,400 years. 1 hr.

In Search of Human Origins, Part I
Discover the missing link between humans and apes. 1 hr.

In Search of Human Origins, Part II
Follow a living experiment to understand how early humans thrived. 1 hr.

In Search of Human Origins, Part III
Learn about the worldwide expansion and evolution of the human race. 1 hr.

In Search of the First Language
Explore the common threads that link the more than 5,000 languages of Earth. 1 hr.

Infinite Secrets
Follow the journey of the Archimedes Palimpsest, a treatise of the famous mathematician's work, and see how technology is helping to reveal its mathematical treasures. 1 hr.

Lost City of Arabia
Helped by remote sensing, an expedition searches Oman's vast al-Khali desert for the lost city of Ubar. 1 hr.

Lost King of the Maya
Using ancient hieroglyphs and new excavations, archeologists investigate the rise and fall of the majestic city of Copan. 1 hr.

Lost on Everest
See footage of the discovery of climber George Mallory's body on Mt. Everest and learn clues about his final hours. 1 hr.

Lost Roman Treasure
Follow archeologists as they use ground-penetrating radar and other technologies to identify and uncover artifacts from Turkey's ancient city of Zeugma, which is about to be flooded to create a reservoir. 1 hr.

Lost Treasures of Tibet
Travel to the Mustang region of Nepal where a small group of conservators work with local townspeople to preserve medieval Buddhist murals on monastery walls. 1 hr.

Lost Tribes of Israel
An anthropologist looks for the lost city of Africa's Lemba tribe, and investigates their claim to an ancient Jewish heritage. 1 hr.

Mummy Who Would Be King, The
Follow scientists who seek to reveal the hidden identity of a mummy -- possibly a pharaoh -- that lay neglected for decades in a Niagara Falls museum. 1 hr.

Mysterious Mummies of China
Three-thousand-year-old mummies with long blond hair and blue eyes are unearthed in a remote Chinese desert. 1 hr.

Mystery of the First Americans
The discovery of a 9,000-year-old skeleton embroils scientists in a debate over North America's first inhabitants. 1 hr.

Neanderthals on Trial
Are Neanderthals our ancestors or an evolutionary dead end? 1 hr.

NOVA scienceNOW: Maya
Find out how NASA archeologists use satellites to pinpoint ancient ruins buried deep in the jungle. Running time: 14:00 minutes.

Perfect Corpse, The
Follow scientists who seek to learn about the lives and deaths of two ancient bodies discovered in European bogs. 1 hr.

Search for the Lost Cave People
Caves lining a rugged canyon deep in the Chiapas jungle hold clues to the little known Zoque people. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires I -- Colosseum
Travel with a team of archaeologists and engineers to the famous Roman amphitheater to recreate the gigantic canopy that once covered it. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires I -- Inca
Investigate the secrets behind such Inca mysteries as grass suspension bridges and near perfect-fitting giant blocks. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires I -- Obelisk
Travel with scientists and others to the quarries of Aswan, the source of the original obelisks, in their quest to raise a 35 foot-long replica. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires I -- Pyramid
Join an Egyptologist, a stonemason, and a team of Egyptian workers as they attempt to build an 18-foot stone pyramid in three weeks on site at Giza. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires I -- Stonehenge
Watch as a team uses only Stone Age tools to move, raise, and cap a Stonehenge-like structure. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- China Bridge
Two teams working from opposite sides of a turbulent river attempt to build a 12th-century Chinese bridge. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Easter Island
How did the ancient Easter Islanders move and erect giant stone statues? Our team tests one theory. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Medieval Siege
Two teams set out to build precise replicas of a fearsome medieval weapon -- the trebuchet. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Pharaoh's Obelisk
Experts take on the challenge of raising a 40-ton obelisk without using modern technology. 1 hr.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Roman Bath
NOVA sets out to create a working Roman bath, complete with hot tubs and underfloor heating. 1 hr.

Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance
Beginning in 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton and 27 men survive a year and a half lost in the Antarctic. 2 hrs.

Sultan's Lost Treasure
Archeologists salvage more than 12,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain from an ancient shipwreck. 1 hr.

Titanic's Lost Sister
Underwater explorer Robert Ballard uses sonar technology to find the Britannic, a ship lost in the Aegean in World War I. 1 hr.

Treasures of the Sunken City
Divers search the seafloor for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Lighthouse of Alexandria. 1 hr.

Tribe that Time Forgot, The
Trek deep into the Amazon wilderness to learn about the customs and beliefs of a mysterious tribe whose lifestyle has not changed for centuries. 1 hr.

Viking Deception, The
Consider the evidence supporting and refuting the authenticity of the Vinland Map, a document purported to show that the Vikings discovered the New World. 1 hr.

Vikings in America
Learn about the myth and reality of the Vikings' historic exploration of North America. 1 hr.

Vikings, The
Recent discoveries paint a complex portrait of the Vikings and their boat journeys to places as far-flung as Istanbul. 2 hrs.


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