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TV Programs

January - December 1996

Terror in the Mine Fields
In one-third of the world's countries, a misstep can mean a lost leg-to a land mine. Planted during an ongoing conflict or a war long since over, these invisible weapons lurk, ready to explode at any time. NOVA's unprecedented access to the elusive Khmer Rouge in Cambodia reveals the ease of laying mines and the difficulty and danger of clearing them.
Original broadcast date: 01/9/96
Topic: technology/weapons & warfare


Day the Earth Shook, The
On the same date in January one year apart, earthquakes of almost identical power shook Northridge, California (1994) and Kobe, Japan (1995). NOVA probes why almost 100 times more people died in Japan than in the United States and what scientists have learned from the twin calamities.
Original broadcast date: 01/16/96
Topic: geology/earthquakes & volcanoes


B-29 Frozen in Time
NOVA accompanies famed test pilot Darryl Greenamyer and his intrepid crew on a perilous mission to repair and refly a B-29 bomber stranded on the Greenland icecap since 1947. In the face of incredible hardships, the team struggles to bring the old warbird back to life.
Original broadcast date: 01/30/96
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight, archeology


Plague Fighters
In the spring of 1995 a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus swept through Kikwit, Zaire, killing 77 percent of those who fell ill. No one stayed in the infectious "hot zone" longer than NOVA's production team, which filmed the inside story of the battle to contain one of the most feared diseases on the planet.
Original broadcast date: 02/06/96
Topic: medicine/disease & research


War Machines of Tomorrow
NOVA travels to the testing ranges and training grounds for a leaner, meaner and more effective United States military force that can fight and win on almost any battlefield in the world. One innovation in the works: super-accurate "brilliant" weapons, designed as successors to the smart munitions used in the Gulf War.
Original broadcast date: 02/20/96
Topic: technology/weapons & warfare


Kidnapped by UFOs
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Thousands of Americans have come forward with tales of being kidnapped by space aliens, and millions of Americans believe them. NOVA searches for the truth behind real-life stories, worthy of The X-Files, describing late-night visits by small, gray creatures bent on creating a hybrid human/alien race.
Original broadcast date: 02/27/96
Topic: unexplained phenomena, psychology


Flood!
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In 1993, the Mississippi River swept away bridges, levees, farms and entire towns in the largest flood ever recorded in America's heartland. NOVA covers the human drama of the flood-fight to stop a river overflowing from weeks of nearly nonstop rain.
Original broadcast date: 03/26/96
Topic: environment/weather


Dr. Spock the Baby Doc
NOVA profiles Dr. Benjamin Spock, whose best-selling baby and child care guide revolutionized the way Americans raise their children. At ninety-something, Dr. Spock continues to mix a lively interest in babies with his long-standing activism for world peace, on the theory that war is potentially more dangerous to children than accidents or illness.
Original broadcast date: 04/02/96
Topic: biography, psychology, medicine/disease & research


Warriors of the Amazon
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NOVA travels to the Amazonian jungle to live among the Yanomami, one of the few remaining hunter/gatherer groups in the world, recording their healing ceremonies, death practices and other customs, including a ritual feast with their enemies.
Original broadcast date: 04/09/96
Topic: anthropology/culture


Bombing of America
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Oklahoma City, the UNABOMBER, the World Trade Center - these tragedies have thrust bombing into the national limelight. But such high profile events do not tell the whole story. They are part of a disturbing trend. Every other hour, somehwere in this country a bomb explodes - often causing death and serious injury. In the United States, the incidence of criminal bombing has quadrupled in just five years and bombing has become a major law enforcement problem. This program will explore how science can help in the fight against "The Bombing of America."
Original broadcast date: 04/16/96
Topic: technology/crime


Einstein Revealed
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A two-hour NOVA special presents a penetrating profile of Albert Einstein, who contributed more than any other scientist to our modern vision of physical reality. Enlivened by dramatizations based closely on Einstein's writings and the recollections of friends, our programs will trace his extraordinary rise from a student who flunked his engineering exams to the world's most renowned physicist—a transformation that took barely a decade. What was the secret of Einstein's scientific creativity? How did a lowly patent clerk without regular access to academic literature or other scientists come up with three revolutionary theories in the single 'miracle' year of 1905? How did Einstein, the pacifist, later evolve to become a crucial advocate of the Manhattan Project? And does Einstein's popular image of a lovable eccentric match reality? NOVA draws on the latest scholarly studies of Einstein's private life to reveal a complex personality who was sometimes an unscrupulous flirt and at other times icy and remote from the women who supported his genius.
Original broadcast date: 10/01/96
Topic: biography, physics


Lost City of Arabia
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Ubar is the classic lost city of Arabia. The tale of its splendor and sudden catastrophic downfall is one of the most colorful of the Arabian Nights. One of the earliest maps of the region drawn up by Claudius Ptolemy in 150 AD seems to prove that it really existed, but the actual site eluded a generation of scholars and explorers. Drawing on travelers' tales and space-based remote sensing, an American expedition headed into the vast wasteland of Oman's Rub' al-Khali desert, the largest sea of sand on earth. Their dramatic rediscovery of the lost city made headlines around the world in 1992, and is presented in all its enthralling detail for the first time on NOVA.
Original broadcast date: 10/08/96
Topic: archeology, technology/engineering


Three Men and a Balloon
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When Richard Branson says he is out to defy the odds and be the first to circumnavigate the world in a hot-air balloon, everybody listens. At least three other teams, including American Steve Fossett, are quietly trying to compete for this elite first. NOVA follows the effort from designing a balloon capable of entering the jet stream 8 miles up to survival training aimed at saving their lives in a catastrophe. The heart stopping footage of Branson pulling the wrong cord and losing his parachute completely, only to be saved by a quick thinking instructor won't soon be forgotten. As the weather window closes, and countries in the proposed flight path deny fly over clearance, the going gets tough. Can the tough get going?
Original broadcast date: 10/15/96
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight, environment/weather


Secrets of Making Money
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The U.S. Treasury and Secret Service have battled to stay a step ahead of professional counterfeiters. But now color copiers and desktop publishing have invited a new class of "casual counterfeiters" to try their hands at making a dishonest buck. The Treasury is fighting back with a major initiative to re-design the U.S. currency—the most radical change in the look of American money in 60 years. NOVA will follow the process of making a better buck—from selecting new portraits through printing and issuing the first bills.
Original broadcast date: 10/22/96
Topic: technology/engineering, technology/crime


Top Gun Over Moscow
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Former enemies meet in an atmosphere of mutual respect as NOVA accompanies pilot and aviation writer Jeff Ethell - call sign "Fighter Writer" - to an air base outside Moscow for a unique visit with the Russian Knights. The Russians invite their guests inside the cockpits of their Migs and SUs for a brain-numbing ride to demonstrate their aerobatic skills. As these pilots from opposite sides of the world swap questions and stories, a brief history of Russian and Soviet air combat will unfold, making use of images that were locked away in Moscow military archives for generations. The program will also take a detailed look at the design, firepower and capabilities of Russia's combat jets—still among the most awesome flying machines invented by man.
Original broadcast date: 11/12/96
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight, technology/weapons & warfare


Shark Attack
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Strong and deadly, silent and swift, insatiable in its hunger for flesh - there is no more powerful image in nature than that of the shark. And chief among these emblems of terror are the Great White and the Tiger Shark. We will explore the behavior of these great killing machines of the seas and the attitudes of people towards them - from those who would see all sharks wiped out, to those others whose fear is tempered with awe, and even religious respect. Shot at exotic locations in California, Hawaii and Australia, the film looks at the dramatic increase in shark attacks on humans in the last few years. Is there a reason surfers are particularly vulnerable? We investigate the occurrence of attacks and the reason for their increase - with spectacular footage of sharks in action.
Original broadcast date: 11/19/96
Topic: animal biology/behavior


Odyssey of Life - A NOVA Special, part 1 "The Ultimate Journey"
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Original broadcast date: 11/24/96
Topic: human biology/behavior


Odyssey of Life - A NOVA Special, part 2 "The Unknown World"
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Original broadcast date: 11/25/96
Topic: animal biology/behavior, environment/ecology


Odyssey of Life - A NOVA Special, part 3 "The Photographer's Secrets"
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Original broadcast date: 11/26/96
Topic: photography/film, technology/engineering


Cracking the Ice Age
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NOVA investigates an intriguing idea on the origin of the Ice Age: namely, the Himalayas did it. According to the theory, the crash of continents that produced Mount Everest also produced a complicated chain of effects that has resulted in a drastically altered world climate.
Original broadcast date: 11/31/96
Topic: geology, environment/ecology

 

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