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TV Programs

January - December 2001

Sultan's Lost Treasure
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In the middle of the South China Seas, a six-hour voyage from the tiny, oil-rich Sultanate of Brunei, prospectors spot an ancient wreck on the sea bed, half-swallowed up by the sand. An international team of archaeologists dives far down and begins retrieving a unique treasure—not gold or silver, but more than 12,000 intact pieces of Chinese procelain dating from the "golden age" of ceramic production in the 14th Century A.D. The priceless cargo poses countless riddles as the archaeologists seek the identity of the ship and its destination, and the meaning of the strange symbols so delicately figured on the dishes. And as the divers salvage the wreck in the teeth of pirates, looters, and the "bends," they also gradually reconstruct the story of the world's first international trading network - the ultimate ancestor of today's global marketplace.
Original broadcast date: 01/16/2001
Topic: archaeology


Vanished!
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On August 2, 1947, a primitive airliner converted from a World War II Lancaster bomber took off from Buenos Aires. The airliner, named Stardust was due to cross the Andes en route for Santiago, Chile. It never arrived. No wreckage was ever found, and for 53 years no one knew what happened to the plane and the 11 people on board. One rumor held that a bomb had been planted on board to eliminae a British diplomatic courier who was carrying sensitive official documents from Argentina to Chile. The case of the vanished Stardust soon became one of aviation's most celebrated unsolved mysteries. "Vanished!" is a classic NOVA that presents a gripping blend of high adventure and scientific detection.
Original broadcast date: 01/30/2001
Topics: technology/aeronautics and flight, archaeology


Nazi Prison Escape
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Colditz Castle - allegedly the most impregnable POW camp in the whole of Germany and home to those prisoners considered most dangerous by the Nazi high command. Yet from 1940 to 1945, over 300 men managed to escape. Belgians, Dutch, Poles, Serbs and Brits, united by their hatred of the Germans, shared secrets, tools and information, while competing to be the most successful 'escaping' nation.

In NAZI PRISON ESCAPE, the tunnelers, forgers and escapees reveal how they used the castle's passageways, nooks and crannies to their advantage; how they forged passes, keys and German uniforms; and how some of the finest military brains in Europe pitched themselves against famed German organization and won.
Original broadcast date: 02/06/2001
Topic: technology/weapons and warfare


Lost King of the Maya
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Sixteen hundred years ago, a mysterious left-handed warrior seized control of the Mayan city of Copán, founding a dynasty that would last for 400 years. Eventually the Maya abandoned Copán and all other Mayan cities, which lay undisturbed for over 1,000 years. Then, in the 19th century, explorers John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood stumbled on the vine-strangled remains of huge complexes of temples and monuments covered with strange portraits and hieroglyphs. In this program, NOVA takes viewers deep into the Central American rain forest to the resurrected ruins of Copán, a once majestic jewel of Mayan civilization which was inexplicably abandoned over a thousand years ago.
Original broadcast date: 02/13/2001
Topic: archaeology


Cancer Warrior
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"Cancer Warrior" is the story of an impassioned surgeon, Dr. Judah Folkman, and his struggle to pioneer a cancer treatment that for years went against the grain of many in the cancer research community. In 1960 when he was a surgical resident, Folkman was drafted by the U.S. Navy to help find a substitute for whole blood to meet the navy's needs for transfusable blood on long voyages. What he discovered instead was a startling secret about how cancer grows. It was a clue he would pursue for the next forty years. Dr. Judah Folkman, who has never been filmed for television before, has granted NOVA exclusive access to his much sought-after story. It is an incredible saga of personal dedication, of scientific blind alleys and breakthroughs, in a race to defeat one of humanity's most invincible foes.
Original broadcast date: 02/27/2001
Topics: medicine/disease and research, biography


Survivor M.D.
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In 1987 NOVA embarked with seven brilliant, natural-born survivors on the longest-running boot camp in higher education: the nearly decade-long process of training to be a fully qualified doctor. Now all but one of them (who switched careers) are out in the world in high-powered medical careers, trying to balance the demands of work, families, and personal lives, as NOVA reports on Survivor MD, which airs in three one-hour segments.

Survivor M.D.: Tattooed Doctor
Original broadcast date: 03/27/2001

Survivor M.D.: Second Opinions
Original broadcast date: 04/03/2001

Survivor M.D.: Hearts & Minds
Original broadcast date: 04/10/2001


Cracking the Code of Life
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In June 2000 two fiercely competitive teams of scientists made the joint announcement that their labs had secured one of the greatest prizes in history: the decoding of the human genome. NOVA tells the story of the genome triumph and its profound implications for the future of medicine in the two-hour special "Cracking the Code of Life." Hosted by Robert Krulwich, ABC Nightline correspondent.
Original broadcast date: 04/17/2001
Topics: genetics, human biology/behavior


Harvest of Fear
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A gene from a jellyfish is placed in a potato plant, making it light up whenever it needs watering. Rice plants are genetically transformed to produce vitamin A, preventing millions of African children from going blind. Other plants are modified to produce plastic or pharmaceuticals. While many see these as wondrous advancements, others fear they could spawn serious new threats to human health, a loss of genetic viability in our most important crop species, and other signficant and perhaps unforeseen problems. In "Harvest of Fear," NOVA and FRONTLINE join forces to explore the growing controversy over genetically modified agriculture.
Original broadcast date: 04/24/2001
Topics: plants/agriculture, genetics


Search for a Safe Cigarette
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Despite major efforts to educate the public on the health hazards of cigarettes, smoking is still a growth industry. Many health advocates now agree that global prohibition is unlikely. In "Search for a Safe Cigarette," NOVA gains unprecedented access to tobacco research and manufacturing facilities and asks the question: Can science help create a safer cigarette?
Original broadcast date: 10/02/2001
Topics: medicine/disease & research


18 Ways to Make a Baby
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Ever since the birth in 1978 of Louise Brown, the first baby conceived outside the womb, the science of assisted reproduction has burgeoned beyond belief. Today, to give just two examples, a woman in her sixties can give birth to a baby using the donated egg of a younger woman (as reported in this NOVA program), and a baby can have five parents: an egg donor, a sperm donor, a surrogate mother who carries the baby to term, and the parents who will raise the child. "18 Ways to Make a Baby" investigates this brave new world and what's to come.
Original broadcast date: 10/09/2001
Topics: medicine/disease & research, medicine/health care & surgery, human biology/behavior


Secrets of the Mind
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Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran, an eloquent neuroscientist, is fascinated by patients who have unusual abilities or defects in the way they perceive the world. These include such puzzling phenomena as the phantom pain experienced in a missing, amputated limb, or the inability to recognize a familiar face following a stroke. From these strange cases, Ramachandran is building a novel vision of how the brain works. In "Secrets of the Mind," NOVA dramatizes the intimate stories of Ramachandran's encounters with his extraordinary patients.
Original broadcast date: 10/23/2001
Topics: medicine/disease & research, human biology/behavior


Sex: Unknown
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Many babies are born intersex with genitals that did not fully develop in the womb. In such situations, most doctors declare a state of medical emergency, and quickly move to operate in an effort to "fix" the child and give it the appearance of either a male or female. But this intervention is not always welcome: Many intersex adults that were surgically changed in infancy now insist they should have been given a choice in the matter. In many cases the gender they were assigned at birth does not match the gender they grew to believe they were. This begs a larger question: How much of our gender identity is formed by nature and how much by nurture? "Sex: Unknown" delves into the complex world of gender identity.
Original broadcast date: 10/30/2001
Topics: medicine/health care & surgery, human biology/behavior


Russia's Nuclear Warriors
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Russia has 6,000 nuclear warheads in readiness, many of them perched atop ballistic missiles ready to launch in silos and on mobile missile launchers across the Russian countryside. The men in charge of these weapons are known as roketchiki, or missileers. Highly trained and deeply loyal to the motherland, these soldiers stand at the ready to push the nuclear button at a special command from Moscow. To film the missileers in action, NOVA gained unprecedented access to Russia's largest missile base—"Russia's Nuclear Warriors" is the result.
Original broadcast date: 11/6/2001
Topics: technology/weapons & warfare


Bioterror
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See "About the Program."
Original broadcast date: 11/13/2001
Topics: medicine/disease & research, medicine/health care & surgery


Life's Greatest Miracle
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When it first aired in 1983, the NOVA program "Miracle of Life" was hailed as revolutionary. Famed Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson's stunning endoscopic images of life inside the womb opened up a hidden world that few had ever seen. "Life's Greatest Miracle" showcases Nilsson's most recent photography while at the same time touching on the latest advances in our understanding of fertilization and embryonic and fetal development.
Original broadcast date: 11/20/2001
Topics: human biology/behavior


Methuselah Tree
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Ten thousand feet up in California's White Mountains lives the oldest living thing on Earth. It is a bristlecone pine that was around when the Egyptian Pyramids were built. Ironically, after weathering all the droughts, high winds, and lightning strikes that must have struck over the millennia, the nearly 5,000-year-old Methuselah Tree now faces threats from the one force of nature that seemingly can do it harm: people. "Methuselah Tree" dramatizes the life cycle of this ancient wonder using brilliant visuals and a quirky style in which the narrator takes on the voice of the bristlecone pine.
Original broadcast date: 12/11/2001
Topics: plant/agriculture, environment/ecology


Flying Casanovas
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When a European naturalist first found small thatched huts in the rain forest of New Guinea in the late 19th century, he thought they were homes of an unknown tribe of pygmies. In front of each entrance, there was a neat lawn of moss flanked by decorative beds of pink blossom, orange fruits, and shining beetle wings. In fact, the builders were not people but a species of bowerbird. In "Flying Casanovas," host David Attenborough leads viewers into this little-known world of avian architecture.
Original broadcast date: 12/25/2001
Topics: animal biology/behavior

 

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