TV Programs

January - December 1987

Countdown to the Invisible Universe
NOVA scans the universe with the infrared eye of IRAS—the Infrared Astronomical Satellite—and discovers never-before-seen comets, stars, galaxies and other celestial wonders and enigmas.
Original broadcast date: 01/20/87
Topic: astronomy/space exploration

Children of Eve
NOVA examines a controversial theory that traces our ancestry to a small group of women living in Africa 300,000 years ago.
Original broadcast date: 01/27/87
Topic: anthropology/ancient

Why Planes Crash
Between 60 and 80 percent of all commercial airplane accidents are attributable to pilot error. NOVA looks at some shocking instances of pilot negligence and what airlines are doing to solve the problem.
Original broadcast date: 02/03/87
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight

Orangutans of the Rain Forest
NOVA cameras travel to Borneo, one of the last habitats of the wild orangutans, where scientists study the endangered ape. Who is observing whom? It is not always clear.
Original broadcast date: 02/10/87
Topic: animal biology/behavior

Freud Under Analysis
Fifty years after his death, the creator of psychoanalysis is still the subject of intense debate. Was Freud right or wrong? NOVA profiles the enigmatic man and his controversial legacy.
Original broadcast date: 02/17/87
Topic: biography

Hole in the Sky (The)
NOVA travels to Antarctica with an emergency scientific expedition to study a baffling "hole" in the Earth's protective ozone layer.
Original broadcast date: 02/24/87
Topic: environment/ecology

Confessions of a Weaponeer
Harvard chemist George Kistiakowsky was an anti-Bolshevik soldier in 1919 Russia, an atomic bomb scientist at Los Alamos, a presidential advisor in the Eisenhower White House and an arms control activist. Shortly before Kistiakowsky death, he recounts his eventful career to interviewer Carl Sagan.
Original broadcast date: 03/03/87
Topic: biography

Great Moments from NOVA
NOVA presents two hours of the best from its 14 seasons of exciting science coverage. A "talking" chimp, an exploding volcano and a sight-and-sound space video are but a few of the memorable segments. Richard Kiley hosts.
Original broadcast date: 03/10/87
Topic: science/methods, ethics & education

Will the World Starve?
All over the world, farmers are taking more from the soil than they return. NOVA reports on the soil crisis in world agriculture—a plight that has already resulted in massive starvation.
Original broadcast date: 03/24/87
Topic: plants/agriculture

Desert Doesn't Bloom Here Anymore (The)
In rich and poor countries alike, once-productive farms are turning to desert because of mismanagement of water resources. NOVA examines the causes and cures of desertification.
Original broadcast date: 03/31/87
Topic: environment/ecology

Rocky Road to Jupiter
In a case study of the strengths and weaknesses of the United States space program, NOVA chronicles the ambitious and long-delayed Galileo mission to Jupiter—still on the ground long after its planned May 1986 launch.
Original broadcast date: 04/07/87
Topic: astronomy/space exploration

Death of a Star
A star blows itself apart in a nearby galaxy, and astronomers scramble to study the rare event. NOVA covers a fast-breaking science story as it is happening.
Original broadcast date: 10/06/87
Topic: astronomy/space exploration

Spy Machines
On the 25th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, NOVA investigates the spy planes and satellites that played a critical role in history and influence arms control today.
Original broadcast date: 10/13/87
Topic: technology/weapons & warfare

Hidden Power of Plants
Plants produce some of the world's most potent chemicals in the fight against disease. NOVA follows the urgent efforts to track down new medicines in nature.
Original broadcast date: 10/20/87
Topic: plants/agriculture

Japan's American Genius
Is Detroit inventor Stanford Ovshinsky the new Thomas Edison? Japanese industries are betting that the genius behind amorphous materials-a simpler and less expensive alternative to silicon-is onto something big.
Original broadcast date: 10/27/87
Topic: biography

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
The Panama Canal opened in 1914 after a 30-year effort that dwarfed the building of the pyramids. Historian David McCullough navigates through the canal and tells the story of the human drama behind the engineering feat.
Original broadcast date: 11/03/87
Topic: technology/engineering

Millions live in the shadows of nature's ticking time-bombs—volcanos. NOVA accompanies scientists who are developing new techniques to predict when volcanos will erupt and how violently.
Original broadcast date: 11/10/87
Topic: geology/earthquakes & volcanoes

How Good is Soviet Science?
NOVA takes a behind-the-scences look at science and technology in the USSR, where the government is trying novel approaches in an effort to catch up with the West.
Original broadcast date: 11/17/87
Topic: science/methods, ethics & education

Ancient Treasures from the Deep
NOVA joins underwater archaeologists as they explore the oldest shipwreck ever excavated, a richly-laden merchant vessel dating from the time of King Tut.
Original broadcast date: 12/01/87
Topic: archeology

Riddle of the Joints
A trail of evidence leading from a medieval abbey to a small town in Connecticut sheds new light on rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling inflammation of the joints with no known cause or cure.
Original broadcast date: 12/08/87
Topic: medicine/disease & research

Secrets of the Lost Red Paint People
NOVA follows archaeologists as they unearth clues, some 7,000 years old, about an unknown, mysterious and advanced sea-faring people who lived along the North Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada.
Original broadcast date: 12/15/87
Topic: anthropology/ancient


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