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TV Programs

January - December 1997

Kaboom!
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An in-depth and heart stopping look at the ultimate chemical reaction - the explosion. Using high speed photography and dramatic reconstruction, the film will chart the tarnished history of explosives: the terrible accidents, the scientific ingenuity and ultimately, the carnage of war and terrorism.
Original broadcast date: 01/14/97
Topic: technology/engineering, technology/weapons & warfare


Titanic's Lost Sister
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Few realize that the Titanic had two nearly identical sister ships, the Olympic and the Britannic. The Olympic had a successful career as a liner until she was broken up in 1935, but the Britannic met with a fate nearly as unlucky as that of the Titanic. Serving as a hospital ship in the Aegean, it was either torpedoed or the victim of a mine on November 21, 1916, and sank within an hour. Thirty out of its crew died. Robert Ballard will search for the wreck of the Britannic and explore the evidence surrounding its dramatic end.
Original broadcast date: 01/28/97
Topic: archeology, technology/weapons & warfare


Secrets of Lost Empires: Stonehenge
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Following the success of This Old Pyramid, a new four-part NOVA mini-series, co-produced with the BBC, explores the technological secrets of ancient civilizations with unique hands-on experiments. In each of the four parts, archaeological evidence is compared against the first-hand experience of present-day masons and engineers.

In Britain, fresh light is cast on the enigma of Stonehenge as dozens of volunteers use ropes and wooden sledges to erect replicas of the massive stones originally raised 4,000 years ago. Their task involves more than brute force, since the question of how the lintels that bridge the uprights were raised and leveled continues to baffle scholars and engineers alike. The meaning of Stonehenge to its builders and the purpose of the astronomical alignments built into its structure also figure in this match between muscles and megaliths.
Original broadcast date: 02/11/97
Topic: anthropology/ancient, archeology, technology/engineering


Secrets of Lost Empires: Inca
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Following the success of This Old Pyramid, a new four-part NOVA mini-series, co-produced with the BBC, explores the technological secrets of ancient civilizations with unique hands-on experiments. In each of the four parts, archaeological evidence is compared against the first-hand experience of present-day masons and engineers.

In Peru, Quechua villagers revive the astonishing engineering lore of their Inca ancestors as they weave a traditional bridge from grass fiber and suspend it across a gorge. Meanwhile, an architect and an amateur archaeologist try to settle their long-standing arguments about the secrets of Inca stone walls. How did the ancient masons fit giant, irregular blocks together so perfectly that a knife blade cannot be pushed between the joints? As they join our experts in puzzling over Inca mysteries, NOVA viewers will glimpse the splendors of Machu Picchu and masterpieces of ancient Peruvian weaving and gold work.
Original broadcast date: 02/11/97
Topic: anthropology/ancient, archeology, technology/engineering


Secrets of Lost Empires: Obelisk
Go to the companion Web site
Following the success of This Old Pyramid, a new four-part NOVA mini-series, co-produced with the BBC, explores the technological secrets of ancient civilizations with unique hands-on experiments. In each of the four parts, archaeological evidence is compared against the first-hand experience of present-day masons and engineers.

In Egypt, NOVA examines the quarrying of ancient obelisks, towering slabs of polished granite that pharaohs raised to honor the gods, and that now adorn Rome's piazzas, London's embankment, and Central Park. How did ancient laborers who had no metal tools or mechanized equipment carve out, transport, and raise single blocks of stone weighing several hundred tons? The team that made This Old Pyramid such a popular hit now travels to the quarries of Aswan, the source of the original obelisks. This time the team faces severe obstacles as they struggle to raise a thirty-five foot-long replica from the living rock.
Original broadcast date: 02/12/97
Topic: anthropology/ancient, archeology, technology/engineering


Secrets of Lost Empires: Colosseum
Go to the companion Web site
Following the success of This Old Pyramid, a new four-part NOVA mini-series, co-produced with the BBC, explores the technological secrets of ancient civilizations with unique hands-on experiments. In each of the four parts, archaeological evidence is compared against the first-hand experience of present-day masons and engineers.

And finally, the marvels of Roman public architecture and hydraulic engineering are explored in a show that looks at the structure of amphitheaters such as the Colosseum. A little known feature of these amphitheaters is that they were originally roofed by canvas covers that were retracted when the arena was not in use. But how did the Romans devise a mechanism as tricky as a huge retractable roof? Our team of archaeologists and engineers will tackle the problem that the ancient Romans solved in one of the most striking examples of that civilization's ingenuity.
Original broadcast date: 02/12/97
Topic: anthropology/ancient, archeology, technology/engineering


Hunt for Alien Worlds
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Are we alone in the universe? The dream of answering that question might finally be coming true. For most of this century, astronomers have tried and failed to find evidence of other planets beyond our solar system. Suddenly, with improved telescopes and faster computers, we now have the tools to find, for the first time, worlds beyond our own. NOVA follows a new breed of planet hunters as they race to find proof that other planets do exist.
Original broadcast date: 02/18/97
Topic: astronomy/space exploration


Curse of T.rex
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They are the most spectacular—and rarest—creatures ever to walk the earth. And they are for sale. In remote badlands, paleontologists have to compete with commercial fossil hunters to get at dinosaur bones. We follow the trail of legal and illegal fossil-dealing as the FBI tries to prevent the best Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found from winding up on the shelves of a souvenir shop.
Original broadcast date: 02/25/97
Topic: dinosaurs/paleontology, social science/miscellaneous


Cut to the Heart
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Heart failure is the biggest killer in the modern world. With three million Americans suffering from the debilitating disease, and fifty thousand dying each year, heart specialists are desperate for a cure. Now, a radical and controversial surgery that actually removes part of the heart is bringing new hope to thousands of patients. NOVA follows doctors in South America, Britain, and America who are on the cutting edge of this new heart surgery.
Original broadcast date: 04/08/97
Topic: medicine/disease & research, medicine/health care & surgery


Kingdom of the Seahorse
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Of all males in the animal kingdom, only one can be absolutely sure of his paternity. The seahorse. Because in seahorses it is the male, and only the male, who gets pregnant and gives birth. Seahorses' extraordinary looks and surprising behavior have earned them a mythic stature, one that now puts them in peril. Millions are harvested each year for use in Chinese medicine as a cure for male impotence. Now their populations worldwide are plummeting. Dive with Amanda Vincent, the world's leading seahorse biologist, in Australia and the Phillipines as she explores the secret lives of these extraordinary fish, and launches innovative efforts to help them thrive once again.
Original broadcast date: 04/15/97
Topic: animal biology/behavior


Coma
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A famous brain surgeon struggles to save the life of a comatose child using a controversial new method of treating severe head injuries. In charge is Dr. Jan Ghajar, who gained notoriety in 1996 by successfully treating a woman who was savagely beaten in Manhattan's Central Park and expected to die. Dr. Ghajar believes the measure that helped save her life should be available to all.
Original broadcast date: 10/07/97
Topic: medicine/heath care & surgery


Faster Than Sound
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On the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight, Chuck Yeager relives his gutsy assault on the sound barrier and tells how it was done. Other top test pilots of the day—those who survived—describe the dangers, mysteries, and thrill of trying to fly faster than sound at the dawn of the jet age.
Original broadcast date: 10/14/97
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight


Bomb Squad
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IRA terrorists and British bomb disposal experts tell behind-the-scenes stories of a a deadly cat-and- mouse game that pits ingenious IRA explosives officers against the most creative bomb squad in the world.
Original broadcast date: 10/21/97
Topic: technology/crime, technology/computers, technology/engineering


The Proof
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In a tale of secrecy, obsession, dashed hopes, and brilliant insights, Princeton math sleuth Andrew Wiles goes undercover for eight years to solve history's most famous math problem: Fermat's Last Theorem. His success was front-page news around the world. But then disaster struck.
Original broadcast date: 10/28/97
Topic: mathematics


Wild Wolves With David Attenborough
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Sir David Attenborough hosts a never-before-seen look at one of the most misunderstood creatures in nature. Special photography, including infrared photography, exposes the secret life of the wolf pack.
Original broadcast date: 11/11/97
Topic: animal biology/behavior


Super Bridge
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Viewers are sidewalk supervisors for one of the most unusual construction projects in the U.S. - the building of the stunningly beautiful and eminently practical Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River. Contractors faced every obstacle in the book—and then some—to build this complex structure.
Original broadcast date: 11/12/97
Topic: technology/engineering


Treasures of the Sunken City
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Divers search for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1375 and some believe lies in rubble on the sea floor. Close inspection of submerged ruins reveals some monumental archaeological surprises.
Original broadcast date: 11/18/97
Topic: archaeology


Avalanche!
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Viewers see what it's like to be overwhelmed by a sudden onslaught of "white death"—an avalanche. Avalanches are an escalating peril as skiers and snowmobilers push the limits into the back country. NOVA witnesses scientists getting buried alive in their attempts to understand these forces of nature.
Original broadcast date: 11/25/97
Topic: environment/weather


Danger in the Jet Stream
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NOVA covers the latest efforts to be first to circumnavigate the planet non-stop in a balloon. NOVA's cameras are on board for all three attempts, including that of the long-shot underdog, American Steve Fossett, who rode high-speed winds solo from Missouri to a remote corner of India against incredible odds.
Original broadcast date: 12/02/97
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight

 

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