Nova is an American science documentary television series produced by WGBH Boston for PBS. Many of the programs in this list were not originally produced for PBS, but were acquired from other sources such as the BBC.[1] All acquired programs are edited for Nova, if only to provide American English narration and additional voice of interpreters (translating from another language).[1] Most of the episodes aired in a 60-minute time slot.[2]

In 2005, Nova began airing some episodes titled NOVA scienceNOW, which followed a newsmagazine style format. For two seasons, NOVA scienceNOW episodes aired in the same time slot as Nova. In 2008, NOVA scienceNOW was officially declared its own series and given its own time slot.[3] Therefore, NOVA scienceNOW episodes are not included in this list.

Season 1: 1974

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Making of a Natural History Film"March 3, 1974 (1974-03-03)0101

Re-narrated Horizon episode, first aired in the UK in 1972.[5]

We give you a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a nature film. Oxford Scientific Films Unit shows how it tackles such problems as filming a wood wasp laying its eggs inside trees, the hatching of a chick and the courtship rituals of the stickleback.
"Where Did the Colorado Go?"March 10, 1974 (1974-03-10)0102
NOVA explores the mighty Colorado River which today has become the lifeblood of the Southwest, providing water and electricity to the farms and cities of California, Nevada, and Arizona. The program examines the political expediency and technological over-optimism that has led to some major miscalculations of the river's capacity. Narrated by Robert J. Lurtsema.
"Whales, Dolphins, and Men"March 17, 1974 (1974-03-17)0103
NOVA explores the impact of whaling and the goods it produces for the industry, versus the grace and beauty of this intelligent mammal of the sea.
"The Search for Life"March 24, 1974 (1974-03-24)0104
Does life exist outside this planet? The Viking lander will set down on Mars in July 1976 to try to find out just that. NOVA explores how life started on Earth and examines the Viking Lander being built in its germ-free room before starting its long journey.
"Last of the Cuiva"March 31, 1974 (1974-03-31)0105
How does a primitive nomadic tribe of the Amazon basin cope with the encroachment of Western settlers? NOVA looks at both sides of the story, revealing the misunderstandings between the two cultures.
"Strange Sleep"April 7, 1974 (1974-04-07)0106
Medicine was transformed in the 19th century by the discovery of anesthesia; surgery, until then hasty, bloody and completely unable to deal with internal disorders, subsequently took its place in the front rank of medical practice. This NOVA docudrama depicts the pioneers of medicine.
"The Crab Nebula"April 14, 1974 (1974-04-14)0107
In 1054 AD, the Chinese recorded the explosion of a star so bright that it lit the sky for three weeks, even during the day. It was the explosion of a dying star that was bigger than our sun. NOVA explores this mysterious explosion that led to the discovery of the Crab Nebula.
"Bird Brain: The Mystery of Bird Navigation"April 21, 1974 (1974-04-21)0108
Birds migrate in search of perpetual summer, sometimes traveling as many as 20,000 miles every year. NOVA uses radar to track and identify migrating birds that travel at night, focusing on how they choose routes that avoid bad weather and make the best of prevailing winds – information that can aid meteorologists.
"Are You Doing This for Me, Doctor?"April 28, 1974 (1974-04-28)0109
The advance of medicine depends inevitably on the testing of experimental procedures on human volunteers from either the healthy or the sick. Yet such procedures are often dangerous, and may not be of direct benefit to the subject. NOVA examines how individuals' interests are safeguarded, and asks under what circumstances should experiments be conducted on children.
"The First Signs of Washoe"May 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)0110
Washoe is a chimp more like a person; she talks with her hands. NOVA visits Washoe and her teachers, Professor Allen Gardner and Dr. Trixie Gardner, to learn more about this unusual animal.
"The Case of the Midwife Toad"May 12, 1974 (1974-05-12)0111
When Paul Kammerer committed suicide in 1926, it was taken by most of his fellow biologists as a tacit admission of guilt that he had faked his experiments purporting to show the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Arthur Koestler joins NOVA in an in-depth examination of Kammerer's infamous experiment.
"Fusion: The Energy Promise"May 19, 1974 (1974-05-19)0112
Controlled nuclear fusion means taming the hydrogen bomb. It could solve the world's energy shortage but it's an enormous engineering challenge. NOVA looks at the latest fusion machines in the UK and USA. Narrated by David Rose.[6]
"The Mystery of the Anasazi"May 26, 1974 (1974-05-26)0113
Who were the people that built the first cities – complete with apartment blocks – in North America? They were the Anasazi Indians, who lived in the Southwest for some eight or nine thousand years, and who then, in about 1300 AD, abruptly abandoned their cities and apparently disappeared. NOVA traces the steps of this ancient sophisticated culture. This is the last episode where Valerie Harper hosted the show.

Season 2: 1974–1975

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Why Do Birds Sing?"November 3, 1974 (1974-11-03)0201
NOVA travels to the forest and marshes by discovering why birds sing, and finding to surprise parallels with the acquisition of speech in humans.
"How Much Do You Smell?"November 10, 1974 (1974-11-10)0202
Many insects and some mammals use smell as a primary means of communication. NOVA explains how, for example, the entire economy of an ant's nest is organized by smell, and how some moths use smell for population control—an ability we is now beginning to understand.
"The Hunting of the Quark"November 17, 1974 (1974-11-17)0203
Smashing matter into ever smaller pieces in an attempt to find its fundamental building blocks has produced a confused nightmare of particles. NOVA looks at this on-again, off-again story—one of science's most mysterious—and, one of the most expensive, involving some of the biggest machines in the world.
"The Secrets of Sleep"November 24, 1974 (1974-11-24)0204
Most of us spend one-third of our lives in a state of which we understand remarkably little—some people sleep for only a few minutes a night, and function perfectly well, while others declare that eight hours isn't enough. NOVA explores traditional notions about how much sleep we need; looks at effects of the sleeping pill, and, perhaps the most baffling of all aspects of sleep—dreaming.
"Inside the Golden Gate"December 1, 1974 (1974-12-01)0205
NOVA joins scientists from different fields as they study the ecosystem of the estuary known as the San Francisco Bay, and man's effects on that ecosystem.
"The Men Who Painted Caves"December 8, 1974 (1974-12-08)0206
Just why did Cro-Magnon man living in France's Dordogne Valley some 15,000 years ago take time out from the desperate business of survival to paint pictures in inaccessible corners of his cave dwellings? NOVA joins French and American archeologists as they piece together the lifestyle of these hunters of the last great Ice Age, and try to interpret the meaning of their cave art.
"Red Sea Coral"December 15, 1974 (1974-12-15)0207
NOVA joins a group of English biologists living literally on a platform in the middle of the Red Sea, who for several years have been studying the crown-of-thorns starfish, notorious for the devastation it has wrought on the coral reefs of Australia and the Pacific.
"War From the Air"January 5, 1975 (1975-01-05)0208
Using historical & propaganda footage, NOVA traces the history of the usage of airplanes in warfare; beginning from movies that depict the possibility of pilots dropping bombs using airplanes to the development of nuclear weapons in the 1970s.
"What Time is Your Body?"January 12, 1975 (1975-01-12)0209
Scientists study the circadian body rhythms of plants and animals on earth. Knowing man's circadian rhythms may help us perform better at work and lead healthier lives.
"The Rise and Fall of DDT"January 19, 1975 (1975-01-19)0210
NOVA traces the rise in popularity of the insecticide after helping WWII soldiers avoid disease to its ban in the US after scientists rose the alarm of its effect on animals' reproduction rates.
"Take the World From Another Point of View"February 2, 1975 (1975-02-02)0211
NOVA asks famed Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman how he thinks and who he wants to have conversations with.
"The Lysenko Affair"February 9, 1975 (1975-02-09)0212
NOVA talks about the rise and fall of Trofim Lysenko, a Soviet biologist who used his political influence to push pseudoscientific ideas in agronomy that caused prolonged food shortages in the Soviet Union.
"The Tuaregs"February 16, 1975 (1975-02-16)0213
High in the Hoggar Mountains, in the exact center of the Sahara desert, lives Sidi Mohammed and his family: children, grandchildren, cousins and a few former slave women. Their environment, one of the most ungenerous on earth, provides them with almost nothing. NOVA examines the changing lifestyle of Sidi Mohammed.
"The Plutonium Connection"March 9, 1975 (1975-03-09)0214
With information into making a small nuclear bomb readily obtainable, NOVA determines whether nuclear reprocessing plants are capable of preventing the theft or robbery of plutonium.
"The Other Way"March 16, 1975 (1975-03-16)0215
As the prices of fuel continues to rise, Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher promotes intermediate technology to help small-scale business and less industrialized countries increase productivity and labor opportunities. NOVA asks Schumacher to explain his solution to increase productivity, while requiring less energy consumption. First aired in Horizon on 11 November 1974.
"The Lost World of the Maya"March 30, 1975 (1975-03-30)0216
Dr. Eric Thompson guides Magnus Magnusson around various Mayan sites and their meanings.[7] First broadcast in BBC Chronicle, 6 October 1972.
"Will The Fishing Have to Stop?"April 6, 1975 (1975-04-06)0217
Fish is an excellent source of protein; it could help ease the growing international food shortage. But in 1972 the total world fish catch dropped. NOVA explores the possible reasons for this decline.

Season 3: 1976

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Predictable Disaster"January 4, 1976 (1976-01-04)0301
It is now possible to predict earthquakes. At least two successful predictions have already been made in the United States; and the NOVA crew was present and filming while a third prediction was being formulated. NOVA looks at why earthquakes occur, how predictions are made, the threat they pose to cities at risk, and examines the advantages and disadvantages of making an earthquake a predictable disaster.
"Joey"January 11, 1976 (1976-01-11)0302
NOVA takes viewers into the world of Joey Deacon, 54 years old and a spastic since birth. Joey has lived most of his life in institutions, unable to communicate with anyone until he met Ernie Roberts. The docudrama recreates Joey's story, with remarkable performances by two spastic actors portraying him as a boy and as a young man. Joey and Ernie themselves appear in the final sequences. First aired in Horizon on 9 December 1974.
"Meditation and the Mind"January 18, 1976 (1976-01-18)0303
What do singer Peggy Lee, New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath and Congressman Richard Nolas have in common? They all practice a ritual called TM—Transcendental Meditation. NOVA examines the recent phenomenal success of the TM movement in America.
"The Planets"January 25, 1976 (1976-01-25)0304
The last fourteen years have been a revolution in our understanding of our place in the stars, the Solar System. Beginning in 1961 with a Russian spacecraft flying to Venus, quickening with the Apollo manned missions to the Moon, it came of age in the Spring of 1974, when there were six spacecrafts traveling simultaneously from the Earth to the planets. NOVA looks at the era of manned and unmanned exploration of the Solar System. Narrated by Paul Vaughan. Originally aired in Horizon on 10 March 1975.
"A Desert Place"February 1, 1976 (1976-02-01)0305
NOVA explores the mysterious ecosystem of the desert: a snowstorm; a lashing summer monsoon; and the emergence—in a pool created only minutes before—of a pair of adult spadefoot toads. Toads who had been waiting beneath the sand for a year for this brief and fortuitous moment to procreate the next generation. Narrated by Robert Dryden.
"A Small Imperfection"February 8, 1976 (1976-02-08)0306
Every year, some 5,000 babies are born in the US with spina bifida, a congenital abnormality of the central nervous system. NOVA explores the mystery of what causes spina bifida and raises the issues of whether heroic measures should be taken to preserve the life of severely malformed babies.
"Ninety Degrees Below"February 15, 1976 (1976-02-15)0307
There's one place on earth where no one will ever catch a cold. And the freezing waters are so bitter there that a fish has been discovered to have developed its own anti-freeze. NOVA explores Antarctica—the coldest desert in the world.
"The Race for the Double Helix"March 7, 1976 (1976-03-07)0308
Author Isaac Asimov joins NOVA in the retelling of the remarkable story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. James Watson and his ex-colleague Francis Crick exchange memories of the events which led to their winning the race for the structure of the gene.
"The Renewable Tree"March 7, 1976 (1976-03-07)0309
Paper mill business began planting trees in the early 20th Century after logging wiped out the forests in the Southern United States . This practice has continued, but is the tree a truly renewable resource? NOVA examines the effect of clear-cutting and reforestation efforts to determine if we will eventually run out of trees for wood products. Narrated by Glenn Kezer.
"The Williamsburg File"March 14, 1976 (1976-03-14)0310
NOVA joins chief archaeologist, Ivor Noël Hume, of Colonial Williamsburg, VA, for a fascinating glimpse of the lifestyles of the founders of this country, complete with detailed reconstructions of houses, stores, workshops, gardens, taverns and palaces.
"The Overworked Miracle"March 21, 1976 (1976-03-21)0311
Today we take antibiotics for granted, and by doing so are steadily eroding their medical value. NOVA examines the problem of resistance to antibiotics in the bacteria they are designed to kill.
"The Transplant Experience"April 11, 1976 (1976-04-11)0312
Dr. Norman Shumway of Stanford University has performed more heart transplants than any other heart surgeon. NOVA explores those extraordinary days in 1968–69 when it appeared that everyone with a scalpel was doing heart transplants, and survival of patients was measured in days.
"The Underground Movement"April 18, 1976 (1976-04-18)0313
NOVA explores life underground, from foxes and badgers through moles and Worms down to the myriad of micro-organisms that make soil the most complex substrate for life on earth. Included in the film is extraordinary footage of a mole burrowing and of roots growing.
"Hunters of the Seal: A Time of Change"May 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)0314
In 1967, the Canadian Government gave housing to the Netsilik Inuit for them to settle in and give up their nomadic lifestyle. 10 years later, some of them have returned to their old ways. NOVA shows how the elders preserve and teach their culture to the next generation while attempting to protect their ancestral lands from industrialization. Narrated by Mercedes McCambridge.
"Benjamin"May 9, 1976 (1976-05-09)0315
Benjamin is a healthy, normal baby, whom we meet at birth and whose first year of life provides the backbone of this revealing NOVA about early child development.
"The Women Rebel"May 23, 1976 (1976-05-23)0316
Margaret Sanger was responsible almost single-handedly for changing the whole attitude of the male-dominated medical profession towards "women's issues" and, above all, for gaining social and political acceptance for the concept of birth control. This NOVA docudrama reconstructs her life, told as flashbacks interspersed throughout an interview. Piper Laurie stars as Margaret Sanger.
"Death of a Disease"June 6, 1976 (1976-06-06)0317
As late as 1967, smallpox struck as many as 15 million people in 43 countries and killed an estimated two or three million. Experts now believe that the disease is on the verge of extinction. NOVA looks at the recent success of the World Health Organization's program to eradicate this disease, considered a triumph of western-styled medicine. Narrated by Robert Montiegel.
"Inside the Shark"June 13, 1976 (1976-06-13)0318
The "Jaws" phenomenon has given sharks a bad name. But is the shark really such a barbarian? NOVA looks at the lifestyle of this remarkable survivor from the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
"The Genetic Chance"June 20, 1976 (1976-06-20)0319
Recent scientific developments have made it possible to detect a wide variety of defects in unborn babies. NOVA focuses on the ethical question that must be considered: What defines a defect? Should defective babies be aborted, or should they be allowed to live?
"The Case of the Bermuda Triangle"June 27, 1976 (1976-06-27)0320
Since 1945, hundreds of ships and planes and thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared in an area of the Atlantic Ocean off of Florida, known as the Bermuda Triangle. NOVA penetrates the mystery of the terrifying Bermuda Triangle. Narrated by Paul Vaughan. First aired on Horizon on 16 February 1976.

Season 4: 1977

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Hitler's Secret Weapon"January 5, 1977 (1977-01-05)0401
Wernher Von Braun and others recount the development of the V-2 Rocket, the first long-range, guided ballistic missile. Narrated by Richard Kiley.
"The Hot Blooded Dinosaurs"January 12, 1977 (1977-01-12)0402
If you were a dinosaur scientist, what would you do with a pile of fossil bones? How would you even start to put the giant jigsaw puzzle together, never mind discover anything about how these dinosaurs lived? NOVA explores the incredible world of the dinosaur scientist.
"What Price Coal?"January 19, 1977 (1977-01-19)0403
What is the price we are prepared to pay for coal? NOVA looks at the environmental and health safety issues raised by the government, industry, and the victims.
"The Sunspot Mystery"February 2, 1977 (1977-02-02)0404
NOVA explores the research on the 1976 drought in the western United States which led some solar scientists to discover the link between weather patterns and the 11-year sunspot mystery.
"The Plastic Prison"February 9, 1977 (1977-02-09)0405
NOVA follows the lives of three boys who have combined immuned deficiency—a disease that leaves its victims with no immune system.
"Incident at Brown's Ferry"February 23, 1977 (1977-02-23)0406
NOVA recreates March 1975 at Browns Ferry, an Alabama nuclear power plant—the largest in the world—that suffered a seven-hour fire which came very close to developing into a major public disaster.
"Bye Bye Blackbird"March 2, 1977 (1977-03-02)0407
NOVA looks at blackbirds, their winter habit of nesting in the millions, and the destruction they do to crops.
"The Pill for the People"March 9, 1977 (1977-03-09)0408
NOVA profiles chemist Russell Marker who made the birth control pill possible by discovering a synthetic substitute for the hormone progesterone.
"The Gene Engineers"March 16, 1977 (1977-03-16)0409
NOVA explores the history of genetic engineering and the possible risks and benefits of this area of research.
"Sociobiology: The Human Animal"March 23, 1977 (1977-03-23)0410
NOVA investigates the controversial theory of Harvard University biologist E.O. Wilson, that many aspects of human behavior are genetically determined.
"The Wolf Equation"March 30, 1977 (1977-03-30)0411
In the winter of 1976–77, 80 percent of the wolf population in Northwest Alaska was the target of aerial hunts. Although the area is roamed by the Western Arctic caribou herds—a natural predator of the wolf—the caribou population has been steadily decreasing in number. NOVA examines how the Dept. of Fish and Game is handling the problem of wolf control.
"The Dawn of the Solar Age"April 20, 1977 (1977-04-20)0412
Solar energy is increasingly popular as a home heating source. But only recently has it been seriously considered as a source of industrial power. NOVA looks at this new industrial approach, such as the use of a huge windmill in Ohio, giant machines that may generate electricity from the heat of the tropical seas or from the motion of waves, and an orbiting solar power station able to beam microwaves to Earth.
"The Business of Extinction"April 20, 1977 (1977-04-20)0413
NOVA explores the huge international illegal trade in animals, penetrates the thriving underworld of smugglers and assesses the effects on vanishing wildlife.
"The Red Planet"April 27, 1977 (1977-04-27)0414
NOVA traces 300 years of speculation, investigation and discovery that have centered on Mars—particularly the theory that the planet could support life. Questions raised by NASA's 1976 Viking missions about how the vast canyons were formed are also explored.
"Tongues of Men: Disaster at Babel" (1 of 2)May 11, 1977 (1977-05-11)0415
In part one of this two-part exploration of the diversity of world languages, NOVA examines how and why the bewildering confusion of languages came about.
"Tongues of Men: A World Language?" (2 of 2)May 18, 1977 (1977-05-18)0416
In part two of this two-part series on the diversity of language, NOVA explores how man has coped with the confusion of language and asks if the growing acceptance of English is the answer.
"Linus Pauling: Crusading Scientist"June 1, 1977 (1977-06-01)0417
NOVA profiles Linus Pauling—the only person to have received two unshared Nobel Prizes for his work in nuclear weapons.
"Across the Silent Barrier"June 22, 1977 (1977-06-22)0418
NOVA explores the different means by which hearing-impaired people have learned to penetrate the world of the hearing by visiting with Kitty O'Neil—a woman record-holding speed car racer; Frances Parsons, an advocate of hearing-impaired persons' rights; and workers at Silent Industries—a factory in Los Angeles founded by a deaf man.
"The New Healers"June 29, 1977 (1977-06-29)0419
NOVA explores the debilitating diseases that are often caused by poverty and follows two paths to health care in Tanzania and the United States.

Season 5: 1978

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"In The Event of Catastrophe"January 4, 1978 (1978-01-04)0501
Can a nuclear war be survived? Some members of the defense community say yes. NOVA explores the possibility.
"The Green Machine"January 11, 1978 (1978-01-11)0420
Botany is a neglected science and plants are all around us, but unfamiliar. NOVA examines our state of knowledge of how plants work: growth hormones, responses to light and shade, photosynthesis, root mechanisms and twining responses.
"Blueprints in the Bloodstream"January 18, 1978 (1978-01-18)0502
It has been known since the turn of the century that there are four human blood groups, based on different red cells and serum characteristics. NOVA looks at the more recent discovery that the different white cell types, as determined by a variety of different molecular markers on the cell surface, open up the possibility of the prevention of disease.
"One Small Step"January 25, 1978 (1978-01-25)0503
Part one of a two-part series on the subject of man in space, NOVA examines the history of NASA—from the origin of the space race through the triumph of the Apollo programs. By tracing the history of three key programs—Mercury, Gemini, Apollo—we show how the basic challenges surrounding space flight were answered: rendezvous and docking, life support, weightlessness, space sickness, equipment reliability and so on.
"The Final Frontier"February 1, 1978 (1978-02-01)0504
Second of the two-part series on space programs, NOVA looks ahead to the future, post-Apollo and the role that man in space will play, including the possibility of space colonization—huge orbiting space stations where people live and work in an earth atmosphere under artificial gravity.
"BaMiki BaNdula: Children of the Forest"February 15, 1978 (1978-02-15)0505
In the rain forests of Zaire, in the heart of Africa, live the Mbuti Pygmies. The Pygmy way of life has always been extraordinarily difficult to capture on film, though many have tried. NOVA presents a rare portrait of an elusive people, made by an independent filmmaker who lived with the Pygmies and won their trust.
"Trial of Denton Cooley"February 22, 1978 (1978-02-22)0506
In a dramatic docudrama, NOVA reconstructs the controversial lawsuit raised against renowned heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley when one of his patients died after heart surgery, and examines the legal and moral issues this raises in the practice of modern medicine.
"The Great Wine Revolution"March 1, 1978 (1978-03-01)0507
A science-based revolution in the making of wine is underway. NOVA traces the secrets of the aging process and science's involvement with the predicting of mass production high-quality vintage wines.
"The Case of the Ancient Astronauts"March 8, 1978 (1978-03-08)0508
NOVA investigates the theories of von Daniken and others that the Earth has been visited by intelligent beings from outer space. Among claims examined are: that the building techniques used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops are so advanced that only an extraterrestrial intelligence could have built it; and that the engraved stones of Palenque in Mexico depict an ancient astronaut at the controls of a space rocket.
"The Mind Machines"March 22, 1978 (1978-03-22)0509
Today's scientists may be creating their own successors. Work being done in Artificial Intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science, only suggest that in the not too distant future, machines will outpace their creators. NOVA examines the possibility.
"Icarus' Children"March 29, 1978 (1978-03-29)0510
In the summer of 1977 Paul MacCready, a California scientist and businessman, won the coveted Kremer Prize. His achievement was to design and build an airplane which completed, unaided, a one-mile figure-eight course entirely under the power provided by the pilot himself. This is the story of those many failures and MacCready's success.
"Still Waters"April 12, 1978 (1978-04-12)0511
NOVA shows a year in the life of a beaver pond and includes almost every life form that exists in, on, under, around and above the water, from the microscopic plant life of summer to the eagles feeding on carcasses of deer that collapsed on the winter ice.
"Battle for the Acropolis"April 19, 1978 (1978-04-19)0512
The fortified plateau above Athens known as the Acropolis is the site of some of the most remarkable architecture in the world: its marble structures built in the fifth century BC, including the renowned Parthenon, represent the artistic peak of classical Greek architecture. NOVA examines how the heavily polluted air of Athens produces acid rain which is dissolving the marble sculptures and columns; and how iron tiles used extensively in repair 40 years ago are now rusting, expanding and shattering the stone structures.
"The Road to Happiness"May 3, 1978 (1978-05-03)0513
Henry Ford, a great friend of Edison, was a film enthusiast who amassed some one and a half million feet of film during his lifetime. Deposited in the National Archives and known as the Ford Film Collection, it covers not only the Ford family and Ford Motor Company but also contains newsreels, and general films produced under Ford. Using the Collection, NOVA profiles Ford's life and times.
"Light of the 21st Century"May 10, 1978 (1978-05-10)0514
When first invented 18 years ago, lasers were called "a solution looking for a problem;" nobody could think what to do with them. But in fact research scientists immediately began to exploit their pure colors and near-perfect focusing ability. Today lasers have grown into a billion-dollar business. They are used in construction, manufacturing, clothing, dentistry and medicine. And the future uses of lasers are likely to be of major significance as the means of achieving nuclear fusion and as a very high efficiency communications medium.
"The Insect Alternative"May 24, 1978 (1978-05-24)0515
In a world that each year loses up to 40 percent of its crops to insects, some form of pest control is desperately needed. But chemical pesticides have backfired. Pesticide-resistant insects frequently develop, and previously harmless insects have become devastating infestations. Farmers have found themselves trapped on a "pesticide treadmill"—the more they spray, the more they have to spray. NOVA examines several alternatives for pest control.
"The Desert's Edge"May 31, 1978 (1978-05-31)0516
For thousands of years people have managed to live in deserts all over the world. But in recent years, a growing population and the demands of the international market have put more stress on these poor and easily exhausted lands. NOVA examines the consequences and possible solutions to desertification.
"The Tse Tse Trap"June 7, 1978 (1978-06-07)0517
NOVA explores Bovine sleeping sickness. Spread by a fly, it is a deadly disease that poses a threat to Africa's cattle.
"Memories From Eden"June 14, 1978 (1978-06-14)0518
Traditionally zoos were designed neither for people nor animals; barred cages taught people more about their separation from nature than about an animal and its habitat. But just as man has realized that he has all but destroyed much of the world's wilderness and its wildlife, he is realizing that the zoo may be the last refuge for wildlife. NOVA visits several United States zoos to examine a variety of activities of concern today: breeding, public education, creative new animal habitats, and the reintroduction of animals to their natural environment.
"A Whisper From Space"June 21, 1978 (1978-06-21)0519
In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two radio astronomers at Bell Telephone Laboratories, discovered faint, but ever-present, microwave signals from space—the most ancient and most distant signals detected by man: the oldest "fossils" in the universe. NOVA explores the current surge of cosmological discovery that continues to aid scientists in the "cosmic archaeology" of digging into the history of the universe.
"Alaska: The Closing Frontier"June 28, 1978 (1978-06-28)0520
Congress is currently considering a proposal that would double the size of America's national park system by designating a sizeable chunk of Alaska as off-limits to developers. NOVA explores the public debates on Alaska, such as the construction of the oil pipeline—a proposal that has sparked a bitter controversy between conservationists and developers.

Season 6: 1979

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Black Tide"January 4, 1979 (1979-01-04)0601
On the morning of 16 March 1978, the US owned, Liberian registered supertanker, the Amoco Cadiz, went aground off the coast of Brittany. Over the following days and weeks its entire 68 million gallons of oil drained into the sea. A NOVA production team began filming at the scene shortly after the disaster, the biggest oil spill in history, and recorded clean-up efforts, effects of the spill on the crucial tourism and fishing industries, and the attempts of US and French marine biologists to trace the passage of the oil through the environment.
"Long Walk of Fred Young"January 11, 1979 (1979-01-11)0602
As a child, Fred Young hunted birds and wild animals with primitive weapons, spoke only the Indian languages Ute and Navajo, went to a medicine man when he was sick, and slept under the stars. NOVA profiles Dr. Frederick Young, now a nuclear physicist working on the laser fusion project at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico.
"A World of Difference"January 18, 1979 (1979-01-18)0603
In 1945, B.F. Skinner shocked the world by putting his 13-month-old daughter, Deborah, into a "box." The box was actually a climate-controlled crib designed for comfort and protection, and the young psychologist was merely testing his theory that environment controls behavior. NOVA portrays the life of this famous behavioral psychologist now in his 70's and living quietly in Cambridge as Emeritus professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
"Cashing In On The Ocean"February 1, 1979 (1979-02-01)0604
The bed of the northeast Pacific Ocean is covered with a "carpet" estimated to be worth a staggering ten million dollars. These manganese nodules—the bumpy carpet—are rich not only in manganese but in the key strategic minerals: copper, nickel and cobalt. NOVA examines the debate about who owns them and who has the right to exploit their use.
"Patterns from the Past"February 8, 1979 (1979-02-08)0605
Below the snow-capped peaks of the Peruvian Andes, the Q'ero Indians live a life patterned on that of their ancestors thousands of years ago. NOVA takes a look at the unchanging world of these isolated mountain people.
"The Invisible Flame"February 22, 1979 (1979-02-22)0606
Some day hydrogen may replace the gasoline that we are now using up so rapidly. NOVA looks at the potential of hydrogen as a zero-pollution fuel.
"The End of the Rainbow"March 1, 1979 (1979-03-01)0607
Is nuclear fusion the solution to the energy crisis? NOVA examines the promise—and problems—of fusion as a future energy source.
"The Beersheva Experiment"March 8, 1979 (1979-03-08)0608
Health care is the third largest industry in the US. As a result of billions of dollars spent for medical education in the 1960s, there are now too many specialists and too few primary care physicians, especially in underserved areas. NOVA tells the story of one medical school in Israel that is training a new kind of family doctor.
"Einstein"March 15, 1979 (1979-03-15)0609
One hundred years after his birth, Albert Einstein remains an enigma to most Americans. NOVA presents an insightful portrait of the man and his mind through rarely viewed film footage.
"The Keys of Paradise"March 29, 1979 (1979-03-29)0610
Some powerful and complex painkilling drugs have just been discovered—in a place where you would least expect to find them. Endorphins and their component Enkephalins are manufactured in the brain, and perform the same painkilling function as analgesics like morphine. NOVA explores some physiological mysteries, such as why acupuncture works, and how placebos can relieve symptoms, and shows how endorphins could revolutionize the treatment of pain, depression, and even schizophrenia.

Season 7: 1979–1980

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"A Plague on our Children"October 2, 1979 (1979-10-02)0611
Is the chemical industry a boom to modern civilization, or a major threat to our health and that of future generations? NOVA examines how toxic heribicides, Pesticides, and other chemicals may cause cancer, Miscarriages and Birth defects in humans.
"Life on a Silken Thread"October 9, 1979 (1979-10-09)0612
Sinister, sometimes even deadly, spiders have little popular appeal; yet their silken webs are among nature's loveliest creations. NOVA takes a close-look in slow motion, as spiders reveal a delicate grace and beauty, and an amazing array of lifestyles.
"Sweet Solutions"October 16, 1979 (1979-10-16)0613
NOVA views the history of sugar—from its scientific, religious and political history to its medical controversy.
"Race For Gold"October 30, 1979 (1979-10-30)0614
At the 1976 Olympics, East German athletes walked off with 40 of the coveted gold medals, though their country is only the size of New Jersey. NOVA investigates whether a drug is responsible for their incredible success—or is American athletic training and commitment falling behind that of the Communist world?
"All Part of The Game"November 6, 1979 (1979-11-06)0615
Thousands of amateur athletes are hurt every year, and many professional athletes suffer injuries that may mean the end of a career. NOVA looks at a new medical specialty—sports medicine—that promises to prevent and cure many sports related problems.
"India: Machinery of Hope"November 20, 1979 (1979-11-20)0616
Most of India lives by the same rhythm, the same tools, as in centuries past. But there is another India—with thriving commercial centers, spotless research laboratories and large-scale industry. NOVA looks at how the gap between these two extremes is shrinking because of a policy of "appropriate" technology that uses the resources of both to meet the greatest needs of all.
"The Bridge That Spanned The World"December 4, 1979 (1979-12-04)0617
The Iron Bridge across the River Severn in Telford, England is two centuries old this year. It remains a monument to the Shropshire iron masters who built it, and a symbol of the Industrial Revolution that was born in the area where the bridge stands. NOVA traces the development of ironmaking and its far-reaching effects on society and the world economy.
"Termites and Telescopes"December 11, 1979 (1979-12-11)0618
Dr. Philip Morrison, Institute Professor and professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, presents this thoughtful and provocative commentary on the nature of civilization.
"Blindness: Five Points of View"December 18, 1979 (1979-12-18)0619
For many people the idea of life without vision is as fearful as death. NOVA looks at five people struggling to save their threatened vision using drugs, surgery, counseling and determination.
"The Elusive Illness"January 15, 1980 (1980-01-15)0701
Aborigines in Australia, woodchucks in Pennsylvania, the Nobel Prize in Stockholm and the gay community in New York City—what could possibly link such disparate elements? The answer is Hepatitis. NOVA examines this elusive disease, what causes it, how it is spread and how you get rid of it.
"A is for Atom, B is for Bomb"January 22, 1980 (1980-01-22)0702
NOVA profiles Dr. Edward Teller, the "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb," an acclaimed scientific genius and brilliant theoretician, and a man considered by some the most dangerous scientist in the United States.
"Living Machines"February 5, 1980 (1980-02-05)0703
NOVA explores the science of natural engineering and asks the basic questions: what makes a good design in nature and why did a particular plant or animal adopt a particular design?
"Portrait of a Killer"February 19, 1980 (1980-02-19)0704
More than 40 million Americans are afflicted by cardiovascular disease. NOVA examines the new information on risk factors and possible prevention of heart attacks and Strokes—often fatal diseases.
"Umealit: The Whale Hunters"March 4, 1980 (1980-03-04)0705
Whaling is an integral part of Eskimo life, and a major source of food; even so, conservationists are seeking to restrict the hunting of bowheads in Alaska.
"The Safety Factor"March 11, 1980 (1980-03-11)0706
Recent aircraft accidents have raised the question of just how safe modern commercial aviation really is. NOVA looks at some of the problems and experimental efforts underway to deal with them.
"A Mediterranean Prospect"March 18, 1980 (1980-03-18)0707
Every year, millions of tourists converge on the Mediterranean's sunny coasts, lured by the prospect of bathing in clear, azure waters and basking in semi-tropical sun. But years of use and abuse have taken their toll on the once idyllic Mediterranean and the "world's biggest swimming pool" has become the world's biggest open sewer. NOVA explores the complex problems that plague the Mediterranean's future.
"Mr. Ludwig's Tropical Dreamland"March 25, 1980 (1980-03-25)0708
NOVA explores the amazing Jari project of the Amazon basin. Eleven years ago, 3.5 million acres of virgin jungle were bought by the reclusive billionaire, Daniel K. Ludwig.

Season 8: 1980–1981

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Pinks and the Blues"September 30, 1980 (1980-09-30)0709
NOVA explores the shaping and molding of the male and female personality. From infancy through childhood, the program documents the impact of culture on the development of sex differences. Known as "The Secret Of The Sexes" as the Vestron Video release of 1988.
"The Cancer Detectives of Lin Xian"October 7, 1980 (1980-10-07)0710
In one of the first films ever to come out of modern China, NOVA sifts through clues that Chinese scientists have uncovered in their pursuit of particularly virulent and elusive forms of cancer from which one out of every four people die.
"The Sea Behind the Dunes"October 14, 1980 (1980-10-14)0711
One year in the intricate life of a coastal lagoon unfolds in an hour's time when NOVA documents the fragile tidal ecosystem which supports the entire ocean.
"Do We Really Need The Rockies?"October 28, 1980 (1980-10-28)0712
Locked in the shale of the Western Rocky Mountains is more oil than in the Middle East—more than enough to solve our dependence on foreign crude oil. But will shale oil solve our gasoline shortage, or will it simply turn the Rockies into a gigantic industrial zone? NOVA explores the promise and the problems of shale oil.
"The Big IF"November 4, 1980 (1980-11-04)0713
Is interferon—known as IF in medical shorthand—the wonder drug and cure for cancer that some doctors claim? NOVA travels to London, Stockholm, Houston, San Francisco, and New Haven in search of the answer in the most complete film on interferon ever to appear on American television.
"Voyager: Jupiter & Beyond"November 11, 1980 (1980-11-11)0714
On Wednesday, 12 November 1980, Voyager 1 is expected to arrive at Saturn for a first time ever extensive close-up investigation of the majestic ringed planet. Astronomers can expect to gather more information than ever before possible. On the day before this historic event, NOVA documents Voyager's journey through the outer solar system.
"The Wizard Who Spat On The Floor"November 18, 1980 (1980-11-18)0715
Thomas Edison is the quintessential American hero, the Wizard whose inventions revolutionized modern living. But there was always more to Edison than met the eye. He was a complex and contradictory man; a brilliant inventor, a foolish investor; a demanding boss, a liberal benfactor—a public figure that no one ever really knew. NOVA profiles the man behind the mythical reputation.
"The Water Crisis"November 25, 1980 (1980-11-25)0716
Water, water everywhere...but just how useful is it? NOVA travels to the Adirondack Mountains where acid rain is killing many high elevation lakes; to the Mississippi River where chlorine has combined with natural and manmade organic chemicals to form cancer-causing toxic chemical substances; to California, where conservation recycling has had to become a way of life; and to Bedford, Massachusetts, where the town wells have been contaminated by industrial waste.
"Moving Still"December 2, 1980 (1980-12-02)0717
NOVA tells the story of still and cine photography in science—from the extraordinary work of the pioneers in the early 1800s to how the ability to freeze time on film in ever shorter periods has given scientists remarkable new insights. Today photography enables us to analyze (frame by frame) the thousands of molecular reactions that can happen in less time than the blink of an eye.
"A Touch of Sensitivity"December 9, 1980 (1980-12-09)0718
The exquisite sensitivity of touch cells in the human skin makes it possible for us to discriminate with precision the slightest changes in texture and pressure, but how the electrical impulses we receive are converted into sensation remains a mystery. NOVA explores the hidden meaning and extraordinary power of human touch.
"Red Deer of Rhum"December 23, 1980 (1980-12-23)0719
The cuddly image of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become an integral part of the jollity of the Christmas season. NOVA takes a timely look at how real deer live by visiting Rhum—an island off the coast of Scotland inhabited by red deer.
"It's About Time"December 30, 1980 (1980-12-30)0720
Time—a concept which has baffled scientists and philosophers since time immemorial. Actor Dudley Moore hosts a funny, sobering and visually stunning quest for answers to riddles, as NOVA spends an hour on time. Aired on the BBC in 1979.
"The Doctors of Nigeria"January 6, 1981 (1981-01-06)0801
Is the fagara root a match for the stethoscope? This program looks at the contributions of both traditional herbal medicine and western orthodox medicine to the health of the Nigerian people.
"Message In The Rocks"January 20, 1981 (1981-01-20)0802
This program explores clues gathered from ancient rocks and Meteorites in an attempt to piece together how our planet formed, what happened during its earliest days, and when life first appeared. The program includes visits to the scene of a fresh fall of meteorites, several volcanic eruptions, and an underwater glimpse of molten "pillow" lava as it oozes out of volcanic vents in the sea floor.
"The Dead Sea Lives"January 27, 1981 (1981-01-27)0803
NOVA examines the Dead Sea. The lowest place on earth, at 1400 feet below sea level, it is jointly owned by Israel and Jordan. If used properly it could become a vital natural resource for both countries, giving them not only salt, but protein, fertilizer, oil, and a solar energy store.
"Anatomy of a Volcano"February 10, 1981 (1981-02-10)0804
When Mount St. Helens erupted earlier this year, it focused the attention of the whole world on the almost incredible destructive forces that volcanos can release. Geologists from around the world congregated at the volcano and NOVA joined the vigil for an in-depth look at the incident and its aftermath.
"The Science of Murder"February 17, 1981 (1981-02-17)0805
NOVA investigates what science can do in helping to solve murder—in understanding why it occurs, and how the rate might be reduced—and explores the work of people who have the stark job of dealing with death: the police, pathologist, scientists and psychiatrists.
"The Malady of Health Care"February 24, 1981 (1981-02-24)0806
Health care is no longer two Aspirins and some chicken soup—it is a huge enterprise capable of amazing feats and costing billions of dollars. How can we afford to pay the bills? Is quality health care a right or a privilege? NOVA examines these questions in a comparison between the American and British systems of health care.
"Beyond the Milky Way"March 3, 1981 (1981-03-03)0807
Sophisticated instruments used by astronomers enable earthlings to see beyond what was once the cloudy barrier of the Milky Way, to a universe of perhaps 100 billion other galaxies. NOVA takes a trip into outer space to see these clusters which are as old as time and several million light years away.
"The Asteroid and the Dinosaur"March 10, 1981 (1981-03-10)0808
For 150 million years, dinosaurs dominated the earth. Then, 65 million years ago, they suddenly vanished, along with a great deal of the planet's animal and plant life. NOVA examines a remarkable theory about the cause of the catastrophe—in which the first clue to the solution was a piece of clay.
"Animal Olympians"March 17, 1981 (1981-03-17)0809
The beauty, endurance, and raw power of animals in the wild are captured on film as NOVA juxtaposes Olympic athletes performing feats which have parallels in the animal kingdom with animals who are the champions of grace and strength.
"Resolution on Saturn"August 25, 1981 (1981-08-25)0810
It's over 300 years since Galileo turned his new telescope on Saturn and first saw its spectacular rings. NOVA shows the beauty and new mysteries discovered by Voyager 1 on its historic visit.

Season 9: 1981–1982

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Computers, Spies, & Private Lives"September 27, 1981 (1981-09-27)0811
NOVA reports on the potential danger of modern Computers that gather "routine" information about our daily lives as we buy things, go to the hospital, or make donations. Computers can know more about us than our closest friends. NOVA examines how much of that personal information is readily shared with other computers.
"Why America Burns"October 4, 1981 (1981-10-04)0812
More people die in fires in the US than in any other industrialized country. In an alarming report that challenges the complacency of the US fire prevention establishment, NOVA uncovers glaring gaps in our defenses against flames that kill. Sealing any one of these gaps might save thousands of lives and prevent enormous pain and misery.
"The Great Violin Mystery"October 11, 1981 (1981-10-11)0813
A great secret lies locked inside the master Violins created by Italian craftsmen like Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now, a Wisconsin physicist, working alone in his cellar, may have solved the violin mystery.
"Cosmic Fire"October 18, 1981 (1981-10-18)0814
A NOVA showing the extraordinary discoveries of X-ray astronomy. This new science has revealed that our universe is much stranger and more violent than ever imagined, filled with neutrons, stars, exploding galaxies, quasars and black holes—a universe seething with energy, bursting across vast distances of space and time.
"Locusts: "War Without End""October 25, 1981 (1981-10-25)0815
Called the "teeth of the wind" by those who have battled them for centuries, locusts continue to plague hundreds of millions of people. Rare desert rains transforms locusts from harmless grasshoppers to voracious swarms capable of destroying all vegetation in their path. NOVA reveals some of man's latest attempts to rid himself of his age-old enemy, the locust.
"Did Darwin Get It Wrong?"November 1, 1981 (1981-11-01)0816
The controversy which exploded a century ago when Charles Darwin published "The Origin of Species" is erupting again with new facts and emotion. NOVA explores challenges to the theory of evolution coming from evidence in fossils, from biology laboratories, and Creationists.
"Artists in the Lab"November 15, 1981 (1981-11-15)0817
Many were delighted by the extraordinary special effects in movies like "2001" and "Star Wars," but few realized how their magic relied on technologies as futuristic as their science fiction plots. NOVA introduces 20th century pioneers who use computers and lasers to create an extraordinary array of strange, exciting new art forms.
"Notes of a Biology Watcher: A Film with Lewis Thomas"November 22, 1981 (1981-11-22)0818
You are not alone! Like it or not, every human being and virtually every living creature is, in a sense, owned and operated by legions of prehistoric organisms, hordes of them in each cell in the body. That is one of the startling revelations as NOVA explores the mysterious wonder of life with Dr. Lewis Thomas, a leading biologist and award-winning author described by Time as "quite possibly the best essayist on science anywhere in the world."
"City Spaces, Human Places"November 29, 1981 (1981-11-29)0819
William H. Whyte's insightful and humorous look at city parks, plazas and Streets, and the people who use them. Whyte shows the remarkable research he did over a period of many years to find out why some city squares and small parks are enjoyable while others are so dreary. His work led to the transformation of some New York City plazas from barren to bustling. Whyte shows how any city—large or small—can lick the problem of downtown dreariness.
"Twins"December 6, 1981 (1981-12-06)0820
Ever thought what it's like having your mirror image talk back to you? It can be an everyday occurrence for identical Twins. NOVA tells the incredible story of scientific research on twins—a field marked by brazen and damaging fraud, but also by surprising and important new discoveries about nature's recipe of heredity and environment which makes us all unique individuals.
"Salmon on the Run"January 10, 1982 (1982-01-10)0901
NOVA captures the breathtaking power and determination of these amazing creatures and examines how business and technology are changing the fishing industry—and the salmon itself.
"Test-Tube Babies: A Daughter For Judy"January 17, 1982 (1982-01-17)0902
NOVA presents a dramatic, exclusive film of the first "test-tube" baby born in America, Elizabeth Jordan Carr. NOVA follows the pregnancy from the start, presenting the only view on American TV of the extraordinary medical procedures used to remove and fertilize the egg, and of the historic birth, 28 December 1981 in Norfolk, VA.
"A Field Guide to Roger Tory Peterson"January 24, 1982 (1982-01-24)0903
NOVA takes an intimate look at Roger Tory Peterson, the man whose best-selling guide books to ornithology have played a pivotal role in turning birdwatching into a mass sport.
"The Hunt for the Legion Killer"January 31, 1982 (1982-01-31)0904
One of the biggest investigations in medical history began when a mysterious killer disease broke out during independence celebrations in Philadelphia in 1976: Legionnaires' disease. NOVA traces the search for a cause and cure—a search bedeviled by false trails, accusations of incompetence and cover-up, and increasing urgency as the death toll mounted.
"Finding a Voice"February 7, 1982 (1982-02-07)0905
What is it like not to be able to communicate with others? NOVA explores the severest of speech disabilities with Dick Boydell—born with cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair and unable for 30 years to say more than "yes" or "no" and investigates some of the new technology that gives the speechless a "voice."
"The Television Explosion"February 14, 1982 (1982-02-14)0906
NOVA explores the past, present, and future of American television including the potential of cable, the Columbus, Ohio, two-way TV experiment, the array of new techniques and their potential social impact. Will the new video technology let people see what they really want, rather than what the networks want?
"Life: Patent Pending"February 28, 1982 (1982-02-28)0907
NOVA shows how scientists go about creating new forms of life, and investigates the impact of the gene bonanza on industry, medicine, and the universities themselves. NOVA reveals that other countries are plowing far more resources than the US into the burgeoning industry.
"Palace of Delights"March 7, 1982 (1982-03-07)0908
NOVA visits San Francisco's Exploratorium—part laboratory, part school, part three-ring circus—run by an unlikely collection of physicists and high school students.
"Animal Impostors"March 14, 1982 (1982-03-14)0909
In this vivid study of mimicry and camouflage NOVA shows dramatically how snakes, butterflies, fish, turtles and many other kinds of animals, both predators and their intended victims, use remarkable forms of deception to achieve their goal: to eat, or avoid being eaten.
"Aging: The Methuselah Syndrome"March 28, 1982 (1982-03-28)0910
What is aging? Why does it happen? Can it be stopped? NOVA presents a startling report on research into the processes which make us age and how to control them.

Season 10: 1982–1983

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Case of the UFOs"October 12, 1982 (1982-10-12)0911
For the first time on television a rigorous, scientific investigation into the fact, fiction, and hoax of Unidentified flying objects. With vivid film and accounts from several eyewitnesses including astronauts, NOVA sifts the evidence for and against the existence of UFOs.
"The Fragile Mountain"October 19, 1982 (1982-10-19)0912
The Himalayas, highest peaks in the world, are crumbling. People are making them crumble, and people are the victims, as NOVA reveals in this breathtaking documentary.
"Here's Looking At You, Kid"November 9, 1982 (1982-11-09)0913
Of the 70,000 Americans hospitalized annually for severe Burns, one-third are children. NOVA tells the story of extraordinary personal resilience in an 11-year-old boy's fight to recover from burns suffered over 73 percent of his body.
"Adventures of Teenage Scientists"November 16, 1982 (1982-11-16)0914
NOVA introduces some of the winners of the 1982 Westinghouse Science Talent Search: high school students whose interests range from silkworms to solar cells. With education facing a deepening financial crisis, will this year's group of well-trained young scientists be among the last of the best and the brightest?
"The Cobalt Blues"November 23, 1982 (1982-11-23)0915
An investigative report on US dependence on foreign sources of strategic minerals, vital to the aerospace and steel industries, which examines and questions Reagan Administration policies toward those international sources.
"Goodbye Louisiana"November 30, 1982 (1982-11-30)0916
NOVA reports on the staggering water problems of Southern Louisiana—where the mighty Mississippi is threatening to change its course, and where last year 49 square miles of coastline disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico.
"Whale Watch"December 7, 1982 (1982-12-07)0917
NOVA follows the great grey whales along their annual marathon migration from the Arctic to the Mexican coast and reveals little known facts about the mating and feeding habits of the gentle giants.
"Tracking The Supertrains"December 14, 1982 (1982-12-14)0918
While America's passenger-train service deteriorates, trains in Japan and Europe are speeding ahead at over 150 miles per hour. NOVA reports that the super-fast trains are finally coming to America.
"Hawaii: Crucible of Life"January 18, 1983 (1983-01-18)1001
This land of fire and beauty is the most isolated island chain in the world. NOVA cameras uncover an extraordinary world far from the teeming tourist hotels, one filled with unique life forms, but also scarred by tragic extinction.
"The Pleasure of Finding Things Out"January 25, 1983 (1983-01-25)1002
NOVA captivates a remarkably candid portrait of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, a man of few pretensions and tremendous personal charm, who speaks with the same passion about a child's toy wagon and the frontiers of subatomic physics.
"Lassa Fever"February 8, 1983 (1983-02-08)1003
A gripping docudrama about a mysterious, highly lethal disease which struck a village in Nigeria in 1969, and the frustrating, seesaw battle against it. NOVA recounts how public health workers came perilously close to accidentally releasing a deadly virus in the US.
"The Miracle of Life"February 15, 1983 (1983-02-15)1004
NOVA presents the first film ever made of the incredible chain of events which turns a sperm and an egg into a newborn baby. Amazing photographic techniques give the viewers the feeling of being reduced to the size of cells, following the sperm on its perilous voyage toward the egg, and meeting protectors and enemies along the way—like Ulysses on a microscopic odyssey.
"Asbestos: A Lethal Legacy"March 1, 1983 (1983-03-01)1005
Every 58 minutes between now and the end of the century, one American will die from asbestos exposure. NOVA turns its spotlight on the tragic consequences of asbestos use and on the current controversy over who is responsible.
"City of Coral"March 8, 1983 (1983-03-08)1006
NOVA takes a spellbinding voyage through one of the world's most fascinating and colorful ecosystems: a coral reef, where the line between plants and animals is blurred, "rocks" move, eat and fight, fish farm, and weak animals borrow the shields and weapons of stronger ones.
"Fat Chance in a Thin World"March 22, 1983 (1983-03-22)1007
"Why can't I lose weight?" It's a question many Americans ask themselves everyday. NOVA comes up with some surprising answers about weight and dieting that could have significant impact on our daily lives.
"Sixty Minutes to Meltdown"March 29, 1983 (1983-03-29)1008
The accident at Three Mile Island made front page news all over the world and rocked the entire nuclear power industry. In this special 90-minute broadcast, NOVA presents a docudrama chronicling the minute-by-minute events leading up to the accident and examines the questions raised about safety confronting nuclear power industry today.

Season 11: 1983–1984

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Signs of the Apes, Songs of the Whales"October 11, 1983 (1983-10-11)1009
The dream of talking with animals has been with us for centuries. NOVA explores the latest research, from language experiments with dolphins and apes to studies of animal calls in the wild.
"The Artificial Heart"October 18, 1983 (1983-10-18)1010
Seattle dentist Barney Clark received the first artificial heart implant in 1982. He died in March 1983, having survived 112 days with the world's first permanent, pneumatic, totally artificial heart. NOVA follows the case with the surgeon, William DeVries, and looks at the prospects for this technology to save lives. It also explored the work of Dr. William F. Bernhard on the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) ongoing at the Cardiovascular Surgical Research Laboratories, Boston Children's Hospital Medical Center.
"Talking Turtle"October 25, 1983 (1983-10-25)1011
NOVA looks at computers in the classroom through the eyes of MIT's Seymour Papert, father of the Turtle—a computerized robot that crawls on the floor and talks in versatile language even five-year-olds can learn.
"Papua New Guinea: Anthropology on Trial"November 1, 1983 (1983-11-01)1012
Remote tribes and exotic islanders have been made known to the world through the lens of anthropology. But in recent years, some of these people have begun to object. NOVA travels to Margaret Mead's Papua New Guinea and looks at anthropology from the other side.
"To Live Until You Die: The Work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross"November 8, 1983 (1983-11-08)1013
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has become a legend in her lifetime for her work with the dying. For the first time on American television, her explorations with patients are captured in film, as NOVA presents an intimate portrait of the Swiss-born psychiatrist at work.
"A Magic Way of Going: The Story of Thoroughbreds"November 15, 1983 (1983-11-15)1014
Can the thoroughbred horse run any faster? NOVA examines the billion-dollar horse racing industry in its search for the magic combination of speed, stamina and the will to win.
"A Normal Face: The Wonders of Plastic Surgery"November 22, 1983 (1983-11-22)1015
When plastic surgeons repair the shattered face of a soldier or rescue a child from a disfiguring disease, the victory is more than skin-deep. NOVA looks at the history, heroes and miracles of plastic surgery in mending the accidents of war and birth.
"Captives of Care"November 29, 1983 (1983-11-29)1016
Patients at an Australian institution for the severely handicapped rebel against a pair of over-zealous custodians. This astonishing true story was filmed as a docudrama, written and performed by the patients themselves.
"Twenty-Five Years in Space"December 6, 1983 (1983-12-06)1017
As the American space program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, NOVA chronicles the effects of the space age on Earth, drawing on popular music, film and television archives from the last quarter of a century.
"Nuclear Strategy for Beginners"December 13, 1983 (1983-12-13)1018
Will nuclear weapons deter World War III or only make it more likely? NOVA explores the military strategies of the nuclear age, now that the challenge may no longer be to win global war but to prevent it.
"The Climate Crisis"December 20, 1983 (1983-12-20)1019
This summer's record temperatures may be one of the signs that the earth's atmosphere is warming up. NOVA looks at the climate predictions and hazard warnings for the next century, based on the effects of our soaring consumption of Fossil fuels.
"Eyes Over China"December 27, 1983 (1983-12-27)1020
NOVA documents a dramatic encounter in international medicine when an American plane lands in China—equipped with a state-of-the-art eye-operating theater—and two very different medical systems meet eyeball to eyeball.
"Alcoholism: Life Under The Influence"January 10, 1984 (1984-01-10)1021
In a culture laced with alcohol, the search for a scientific understanding of alcoholism is as complex as the disease. In an interdisciplinary report, NOVA looks at the many faces of alcoholism—medical, historical and social.
"The Case of ESP"January 17, 1984 (1984-01-17)1101
In the past decade, a number of researchers have begun systematic laboratory research into extrasensory perception—ESP. NOVA considers the claims for—and against—paranormal phenomena and looks at some startling applications in the field of archaeology, criminology and Warfare.
"Antarctica: Earth's Last Frontier"January 31, 1984 (1984-01-31)1102
An astronaut once observed a great white light shining out from the bottom of our world: Antarctica, the ice-covered continent we are only just beginning to understand. NOVA visits this wilderness of ice, larger than the United States and Mexico combined, whose only warm-blooded residents are seals, skuas, penguins and scientists.
"China's Only Child"February 14, 1984 (1984-02-14)1103
Efforts to control the population explosion are among the burning controversies of our time. NOVA looks at the one-child policy of the People's Republic of China, a revolutionary decree with profound implications for a people accustomed to traditionally large families.
"Will I Walk Again?"February 28, 1984 (1984-02-28)1104
Is there a cure for paralyzing spinal injuries? Most neurosurgeons are doubtful, pointing to the central nervous system's most apparent inability to heal itself. But others dispute the point. NOVA explores the debate, the hopes for a cure and recent breakthroughs to help paralyzed patients.
"Visions of the Deep: The Underwater World of Al Giddings"March 6, 1984 (1984-03-06)1105
Al Giddings is one of the greatest underwater photographers in the world. In a riveting look at the unearthly beauties and terrors of the seas, NOVA presents a portrait of Giddings at work.
"Down on the Farm"March 20, 1984 (1984-03-20)1106
Agriculture is America's biggest industry. This productivity, envied around the world, is also depleting the most essential ingredients in farming: water and soil. NOVA looks at the agricultural dilemma, the short term need for profit and long term needs of the land.
"Make My People Live: The Crisis in Indian Health Care"March 27, 1984 (1984-03-27)1107
What are America's obligations to its native population? As an important Indian health act comes up for renewal in Congress this Spring (1984), NOVA explores the state of medical care for a proud but vulnerable minority.
"The World According to Weisskopf"April 3, 1984 (1984-04-03)1108
Victor Weisskopf: physicist, lover of music and citizen of the world. NOVA profiles the international statesman of science and learns that one of the giants of 20th century physics is also one of the country's greatest humanists.

Season 12: 1984–1985

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Space Bridge to Moscow"October 2, 1984 (1984-10-02)1120
At a time when scientific exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union is at its lowest since the 1950s, a special hookup will allow eight leading Soviet and American scientists to share ideas face-to-face before millions of television viewers in each country on this NOVA special.
"The National Science Test I"October 16, 1984 (1984-10-16)1109
NOVA departs from tradition with the first National Science Test. Viewers can match wits with celebrity panelists Jane Alexander, Jules Bergman, Marva Collins and Edwin Newman. Art Fleming hosts.
"Fountains of Paradise"October 23, 1984 (1984-10-23)1110
NOVA explores the billion-dollar-plus Mahaweli Irrigation Project in Sri Lanka. Will this high-risk project prove to be a great leap forward or an industrial and sociological disaster?
"The Mystery of Yellow Rain"October 30, 1984 (1984-10-30)1111
NOVA explores whether "yellow rain," described by members of the Hmong tribe of Laos, is a form of chemical warfare—or a naturally occurring phenomenon.
"The Nomads of the Rain Forest"November 6, 1984 (1984-11-06)1112
NOVA visits a tribe of Ecuadoran Indians who still maintain traditions that date back to the Stone Age—thirty years after their first contact with Western Civilization.
"Farmers of the Sea"November 13, 1984 (1984-11-13)1113
NOVA looks at the "blue revolution"—modern advances in the ancient art of raising aquatic animals and plants—in the United States, Japan, Scotland and other countries.
"Frontiers of Plastic Surgery"November 20, 1984 (1984-11-20)1114
NOVA's sequel to "A Normal Face" examines the merging of technology and art in modern reconstruction and cosmetic surgical techniques.
"Space Women"November 27, 1984 (1984-11-27)1115
They have been part of the United States' space program for more than 20 years. Who are these talented, courageous women? NOVA looks at astronaut Sally Ride and her colleagues, how they are trained and their role in NASA's future.
"Jaws: The True Story"December 4, 1984 (1984-12-04)1116
Acclaimed underwater cameraman Al Giddings takes NOVA viewers beneath the waves to explore the fact and fiction surrounding the great white shark.
"Acid Rain: New Bad News"December 11, 1984 (1984-12-11)1117
The debate over acid rain continues to grow. NOVA travels to West Germany, the mid-Atlantic states and New England to examine the controversy surrounding this phenomenon.
"Stephen Jay Gould: This View of Life"December 18, 1984 (1984-12-18)1118
What do dinosaurs, a panda's thumb and a peacock's tail have in common? Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, the internationally renowned paleontologist and Evolutionary theorist, provides some surprising answers in this NOVA profile.
"The Garden of Inheritance"January 8, 1985 (1985-01-08)1119
In this docudrama presentation, NOVA looks at the life, times and work of Gregor Mendel, the 19th century Augustinian friar whose revolutionary scientific Experiments in selective breeding have made him the "Father of Genetics."
"Edgerton and His Incredible Seeing Machines"January 15, 1985 (1985-01-15)1201
NOVA explores the fascinating world of Dr. Harold Edgerton, electronics wizard and inventor extraordinaire, whose invention of the electronic strobe, a "magic lamp," has enabled the human eye to see the unseen.
"Global Village"January 22, 1985 (1985-01-22)1202
NOVA presents an in-depth look at India's attempt to use satellite technology to leapfrog into the era of space-age communication and whether it brings benefit or blight to India's villages and rural areas.
"Conquest of the Parasites"January 29, 1985 (1985-01-29)1203
NOVA examines the complex world of parasites, parasitic diseases and the exciting work currently being done by a new breed of medical researchers as they meet the challenge of conquering the world's number one medical problem.
"In the Land of the Polar Bears"February 5, 1985 (1985-02-05)1204
A rare look at the beautiful and desolate Wrangel Island-a Soviet possession 300 miles off the coast of Alaska-as seen through the eyes of Soviet Filmmaker and naturalist Yuri Ledin. Wrangel Island is not only the home to Siberian snow geese, polar foxes and Walruses, but serves as the world's largest denning area for Polar bears.
"AIDS: Chapter One"February 12, 1985 (1985-02-12)1205
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is a deadly disease that has struck down some 2,000 people in the four years since its discovery. NOVA examines how modern science has been unraveling the mystery of this baffling ailment.
"The Shape of Things"February 19, 1985 (1985-02-19)1206
Sea shells, Crystals, Honeycombs, Eggs and seeds: They are shaped the way they are for a reason. NOVA takes viewers on a unique journey of discovery to find out why things are shaped the way they are and why they work so well.
"Baby Talk"February 26, 1985 (1985-02-26)1207
It's a mystery just how children acquire language. Does the process begin in the womb? And which comes first, language or thought? NOVA explores the fascinating world of baby talk and reveals the latest theories on this remarkable achievement.
"A Mathematical Mystery Tour"March 5, 1985 (1985-03-05)1208
Imagine a bottle with no inside or a number bigger than infinity or parallel lines that meet. Welcome to the world of pure mathematics. NOVA offers a look into a wholly abstract, quirky world of mathematics.
"Child's Play: Prodigies and Possibilities"March 12, 1985 (1985-03-12)1209
What do Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the painter Raphael and chess champion Bobby Fischer have in common? They were all child prodigies. NOVA explores the current efforts to learn more about the nature of giftedness.
"Monarch of the Mountains"March 19, 1985 (1985-03-19)1210
NOVA explores the breeding, migration and survival patterns of the Rocky Mountain elk in a unique film, made totally under natural conditions. Telephoto lenses were used so as not to disturb the animals; filmmakers spent 18 months tracking the elk through the breathtaking Wyoming Rockies.

Season 13: 1985–1986

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The National Science Test II"October 8, 1985 (1985-10-08)1211
In NOVA's special sequel to 1984's National Science Test, viewers can match wits with celebrity panelists David Attenborough, Michelle Johnson, Edwin Newman and Alvin Poussaint and a live studio audience. Art Fleming hosts.
"Seeds of Tomorrow"October 15, 1985 (1985-10-15)1212
NOVA examines worldwide efforts of scientists who employ aggressive agricultural technologies to ensure food for the future.
"What Einstein Never Knew"October 22, 1985 (1985-10-22)1213
Albert Einstein did not live to find the answer. NOVA follows a new generation of physicists in their search to explain the mystery of the universe.
"The Robot Revolution?"October 29, 1985 (1985-10-29)1214
How are the computer and the robot affecting the way we work? NOVA chronicles the new industrial revolution reshaping the American workplace.
"The Magic of Special Effects"November 5, 1985 (1985-11-05)1215
NOVA cameras go behind-the-scenes to reveal the new art of illusion, Hollywood-style, focusing on three blockbuster films—Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
"Child Survival: The Silent Emergency"November 12, 1985 (1985-11-12)1216
NOVA charts the progress of an ambitious worldwide health program established to save the lives of millions of children who continue to die from common but curable diseases.
"Tornado!"November 19, 1985 (1985-11-19)1217
NOVA follows a chase team—a group of scientists who chart deadly Tornadoes—in an effort to learn more about predicting nature's most powerful and elusive weather phenomenon.
"The Genetic Gamble"November 26, 1985 (1985-11-26)1218
NOVA examines current research and its ethical implications as modern medicine confronts the era of human gene therapy.
"Animal Architects"December 3, 1985 (1985-12-03)1219
NOVA examines the intricate world of nature's construction industry and presents rare footage of unusual habits.
"The Plane that Changed the World"December 17, 1985 (1985-12-17)1220
NOVA joins the 50th anniversary celebration of the DC-3—the plane that revolutionized commercial air travel, served gallantly in World War II and is called the most important plane ever built.
"Halley's Comet: Once in a Lifetime"January 21, 1986 (1986-01-21)1301
NOVA observes worldwide preparations as amateur comet hunters, astronomers and scientists armed with specialized cameras, high powered telescopes and spacecraft look to the heavens in search of the expected arrival in 1986 of Halley's Comet.
"Goddess of the Earth"January 28, 1986 (1986-01-28)1302
Gaia, the Greek word for Earth goddess, also is the name of the controversial hypothesis that life on Earth controls the environment. NOVA explores this provocative theory that challenges conventional ways of thinking about the Earth.
"Horsemen of China"February 4, 1986 (1986-02-04)1303
For centuries, the Chinese Kazakh horseman preserved their ancient traditions, refusing to be dominated by either the Chinese or nearby Russian cultures. Today, however, this nomadic tribe has integrated communism into its way of life. NOVA traces the ancient Kazahk lifestyle and looks at how the Chinese cultural Revolution has modernized Kazakh customs.
"Life's First Feelings"February 11, 1986 (1986-02-11)1304
NOVA explores the incredibly complex emotional development of infants and examines the current theory that early childhood psychological intervention can head off emotional problems later in life.
"The Case of the Frozen Addict"February 18, 1986 (1986-02-18)1305
In July 1982, a 42-year-old addict in a San Jose, California jail became paralyzed—unable to move or talk. His symptoms, caused by a bad batch of synthetic heroin, were indistinguishable from those associated with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative nerve disorder that strikes the elderly. NOVA traces the story of a "designer" drug which could lead to a major medical breakthrough.
"Toxic Trials"February 25, 1986 (1986-02-25)1306
When a high number of cancer cases struck the suburban community of Woburn, Massachusetts, the town mobilized to investigate why. The result was a landmark study of the effects of hazardous wastes. NOVA explores the legal and scientific implications of the link between environmental pollution and illness.
"Skydive to the Rain Forest"March 4, 1986 (1986-03-04)1307
NOVA journeys to a remote region of southern Venezuela where the land is alive with spectacular waterfalls, colored by exotic flowers and inhabited by rare species of birds and animals.
"Return of the Osprey"March 11, 1986 (1986-03-11)1308
NOVA follows a conservation success story as environmentalists, scientists and bird-lovers fight to save the majestic Osprey from extinction.
"The Rise of a Wonder Drug"March 18, 1986 (1986-03-18)1309
When Alexander Fleming discovered the penicillin mold in 1928, he never considered its possible therapeutic value. NOVA explores the "Fleming myth" and reveals the true story of the scientists who worked behind the scenes to develop the wonder drug of the century.
"When Wonder Drugs Don't Work"March 25, 1986 (1986-03-25)1310
NOVA examines the medical community's alarm as the spread of antibiotic-resistant infection increases, and studies how one hospital fights its own dramatic epidemic.
"Visions of 'Star Wars"April 22, 1986 (1986-04-22)TBA
NOVA and Frontline combine resources to explore the Strategic Defense Initiative. The two-hour documentary contains the most comprehensive information on "Star Wars" ever produced. Bill Kurtis of WBBM-TV/Chicago hosts.

Season 14: 1986–1987

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Search for the Disappeared"October 14, 1986 (1986-10-14)1311
NOVA joins scientists in Argentina as they help locate kidnapped children and identify thousands of dead in the aftermath of a military reign of terror.
"The Planet that Got Knocked on its Side"October 21, 1986 (1986-10-21)1312
The adventures of the Voyager 2 spacecraft continue as it passes the rings of Uranus. Scientists suspect that violent events in the early history of the planet may have shaped Uranus and its strange collection of moons.
"High-Tech Babies"November 4, 1986 (1986-11-04)1313
Scientific breakthroughs now make it possible to reproduce ourselves in ways never before imagined. NOVA looks at the medical, legal and moral questions raised by this brave new technology.
"Can AIDS Be Stopped?"November 11, 1986 (1986-11-11)1314
What are the prospects for halting or curing the deadliest epidemic ever to challenge modern medicine? NOVA finds cause for both hope and alarm in the battle against AIDS.
"Is Anybody Out There?"November 18, 1986 (1986-11-18)1315
Could there be life beyond Earth? Only recently has it become possible to scan the skies in a systematic attempt to find out. NOVA joins the search with guest host Lily Tomlin.
"The Mystery of the Animal Pathfinders"November 25, 1986 (1986-11-25)1316
Birds do it; bees do it, butterflies, bats and eels do it—all leave one habitat to migrate to another, often thousands of miles away. NOVA penetrates the mystery of where animals migrate, why and how they get there.
"Are You Swimming in a Sewer?"December 2, 1986 (1986-12-02)1317
NOVA dips into the sad plight of our coastal waters, where toxic chemicals, raw sewage and disease-carrying microbes are routinely dumped.
"Sail Wars!"December 9, 1986 (1986-12-09)1318
Yankee ingenuity has designs on the America's Cup. NOVA goes behind-the-scenes to look at the engineering effort to design a technically advanced sailboat.
"Leprosy Can Be Cured!"December 16, 1986 (1986-12-16)1319
Leprosy, a misunderstood disease that has been curable for 40 years, still afflicts some 12 million people. NOVA looks at the tragedy of the disease that need not be.
"How Babies Get Made"January 13, 1987 (1987-01-13)1320
NOVA explores the ground-breaking experiments that led to the discovery of a tiny sequence of molecules—and more clues to the mystery of how a complete baby develops from a single cell.
"Countdown to the Invisible Universe"January 20, 1987 (1987-01-20)1401
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.
"Children of Eve"January 27, 1987 (1987-01-27)1402
NOVA examines a controversial theory that traces our ancestry to a small group of women living in Africa 300,000 years ago.
"Why Planes Crash"February 3, 1987 (1987-02-03)1403
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.
"Orangutans of the Rainforest"February 10, 1987 (1987-02-10)1404
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.
"Freud Under Analysis"February 17, 1987 (1987-02-17)1405
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.
"The Hole in the Sky"February 24, 1987 (1987-02-24)1406
NOVA travels to Antarctica with an emergency scientific expedition to study a baffling "hole" in the Earth's protective ozone layer.
"Confessions of a Weaponeer"March 3, 1987 (1987-03-03)1407
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's death, he recounts his eventful career to interviewer Carl Sagan.
"Great Moments from NOVA"March 10, 1987 (1987-03-10)Special
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.
"Will the World Starve?"March 24, 1987 (1987-03-24)1408
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.
"The Desert Doesn't Bloom Here Anymore"March 31, 1987 (1987-03-31)1409
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.
"Rocky Road to Jupiter"April 7, 1987 (1987-04-07)1410
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.

Season 15: 1987–1988

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Death of a Star"October 6, 1987 (1987-10-06)1411
A star blows itself apart in a nearby galaxy, and astronomers scramble to study the rare appearance of a supernova. NOVA kicks off its 15th season with a fast-breaking science story as it is happening. Including scenes taken from Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and many others in the U.S., Australia and South Africa. Narrated by Bill Mason. Later, it was broadcast as a Horizon episode on the BBC, the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in Germany and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"Spy Machines"October 13, 1987 (1987-10-13)1412
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.
"The Hidden Power of Plants"October 20, 1987 (1987-10-20)1413
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.
"Japan's American Genius"October 27, 1987 (1987-10-27)1414
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.
"A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama"November 3, 1987 (1987-11-03)1415
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.
"Volcano!"November 10, 1987 (1987-11-10)1416
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.
"How Good is Soviet Science?"November 17, 1987 (1987-11-17)1417
NOVA takes a behind-the-scenes look at science and technology in the USSR, where the government is trying novel approaches in an effort to catch up with the West.
"Ancient Treasures from the Deep"December 1, 1987 (1987-12-01)1418
NOVA joins underwater archaeologists as they explore the oldest shipwreck ever excavated, a richly-laden merchant vessel dating from the time of King Tut.
"Riddle of the Joints"December 8, 1987 (1987-12-08)1419
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.
"Secrets of the Lost Red Paint People"December 15, 1987 (1987-12-15)1420
NOVA follows archaeologists as they unearth clues, some 7,000 years old, about unknown, mysterious and advanced sea-faring people who lived along the North Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada.
"Top Gun and Beyond"January 19, 1988 (1988-01-19)1501
Today's sophisticated fighter jets can almost fly themselves, but well-trained pilots are still needed to win air battles. NOVA looks at how planes and pilots are adapting to high technology.
"How to Create a Junk Food"January 26, 1988 (1988-01-26)1502
Julia Child introduces NOVA's behind-the-scenes look at how science aids in the creation of snack foods.
"Buried in Ice"February 2, 1988 (1988-02-02)1503
Scientists investigate the frozen remains of members of the 19th century Franklin Expedition to the Canadian Arctic and ask why all perished.
"Why Planes Burn"February 9, 1988 (1988-02-09)1504
Airplane fires are often deadly. NOVA looks at efforts to make fires aboard planes less likely and more survivable.
"Battles in the War on Cancer: A Wonder Drug on Trial"February 23, 1988 (1988-02-23)1505
In part one of a two-part special presentation, NOVA reports on the trials to determine whether the new drug Interleukin-2—the first to make use of the body's own disease-fighting strategy—will live up to its promise as a pivotal cancer breakthrough. Jane Pauley of NBC News hosts and narrates.
"Battles in the War on Cancer: Breast Cancer – Turning the Tide"March 1, 1988 (1988-03-01)1506
Breast cancer claims the lives of four American women every hour. Jane Pauley of NBC News hosts and narrates this NOVA report on stepped-up efforts to reduce the death rate from this all-too-common killer.
"The Mystery of the Master Builders"March 8, 1988 (1988-03-08)1507
Princeton professor and author Robert Mark tracks down the engineering secrets of some of the beautiful buildings in the world including Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul in London and the Roman Pantheon.
"Whale Rescue"March 15, 1988 (1988-03-15)TBA
It was a blustery day in December 1986, and the New England Coast was in the midst of a winter storm, accompanied by strong on-shore gales and an unusually high tide—conditions perfect for stranding whales in the confined shallows of Cape Cod. NOVA recounts this tragic episode and the happy surprise ending for the young whales who survived after being nursed back to health by the New England Aquarium in Boston.
"The Man Who Loved Numbers (Re-edit of episode aired during 8th season titled "Ramanujan – The Man Who Loved Numbers".)"March 22, 1988 (1988-03-22)1508
NOVA explores the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor clerk from India who astounded mathematicians in the 1910s with his brilliant insight into the world of Numbers.
"Race for the Superconductor"March 29, 1988 (1988-03-29)1509
NOVA charts an electronics revolution in the making as Japan and the United States race to develop a material that will conduct electricity at room temperature with zero resistance.
"Can You Still Get Polio?"April 5, 1988 (1988-04-05)1510
Most cases of polio in the United States are caused by the vaccine designed to prevent it. NOVA examines the controversy surrounding the nation's vaccine policy.

Season 16: 1988–1989

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Pioneers of Surgery: The Brutal Craft"September 6, 1988 (1988-09-06)1511
Part one of a four-part series on the pioneers of modern surgery relives the early days, when surgery was practiced without the benefit of anaesthesia or antisceptics and patients usually died.
"Pioneers of Surgery: Into the Heart"September 13, 1988 (1988-09-13)1512
Once unthinkable, open-heart surgery is now an everyday miracle. NOVA looks at the brave doctors and patients who make it possible.
"Pioneers of Surgery: New Organs for Old"September 20, 1988 (1988-09-20)1513
From kidneys to Hearts, NOVA examines the daring attempts to replace diseased organs with transplanted ones.
"Pioneers of Surgery: Beyond the Knife"September 27, 1988 (1988-09-27)1514
Surgeons have always been eager to help patients, even at the risk of killing them. NOVA looks at some of the excesses of surgery, and at how new drugs and technologies are rendering some operations obsolete.
"Can the Vatican Save the Sistine Chapel?"October 4, 1988 (1988-10-04)1515
Science meets art in the controversial effort to restore Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel frescoes.
"Can the Next President Win the Space Race?"October 11, 1988 (1988-10-11)1516
Thirty years after Sputnik, the United States space program is mired in uncertainty, while the Russians, Europeans, Japanese and others sprint onward and upward.
"Do Scientists Cheat?"October 25, 1988 (1988-10-25)1517
NOVA examines the troubling question of scientific fraud: How prevalent is it? Who commits it? And what happens when the perpetrators are caught?
"Who Shot President Kennedy?"November 15, 1988 (1988-11-15)1518
Using previously unavailable technology, NOVA probes the available evidence surrounding the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy.
"The Light Stuff"November 22, 1988 (1988-11-22)1519
Reliving a Greek myth takes an effort of mythic proportions, as NOVA reveals in its behind-the-scenes report of a human powered-flight across the Aegean Sea, a journey that symbolically recreated the mythical flight of Daedalus. NOVA follows the epic journey of the human-powered plane Daedalus 88 from the early prototypes to its dramatic landing in the surf after a 74-mile flight from the island of Crete to Santorini.
"The All-American Bear"December 6, 1988 (1988-12-06)1520
The life of the shy, intelligent black bear in the wild—foraging, mating, playing and constantly preparing for its remarkable hibernation—is captured for the first time on film by NOVA.
"Can We Make a Better Doctor?"December 13, 1988 (1988-12-13)1521
NOVA embarks on a 10-year project to profile—in its entirety—the education of a doctor. In the premiere episode, we follow a handful of students as they start their first year at Harvard Medical School under a revolutionary program emphasizing early clinical contact with patients. Part one of a ten-year study. See also "So You Want to Be a Doctor?", "Making of a Doctor", and "Doctors' Diaries".
"Hot Enough for You?"January 17, 1989 (1989-01-17)1601
Was the searing summer of 1988 a taste of things to come? NOVA looks at the greenhouse effect, which portends higher temperatures, rising sea levels and other environmental disasters
"The Last Journey of a Genius"January 24, 1989 (1989-01-24)1602

Re-narrated Horizon episode, "The Quest for Tannu Tuva".[8]

NOVA looks at the bongo-playing scientist, adventurer, safecracker and yarn-spinner Richard Feynman, most recently famous for his role as gadfly of the Presidential Commission investigating the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
"The Strange New Science of Chaos"January 31, 1989 (1989-01-31)1603
NOVA explains "chaos," a new science that is making surprising sense out of chaotic phenomena in nature, from the weather to brain waves.
"Back to Chernobyl"February 14, 1989 (1989-02-14)1604
NOVA goes to the Soviet Union for an inside investigation of the world's most catastrophic nuclear power accident with correspondent Bill Kurtis.
"God, Darwin and Dinosaurs"February 21, 1989 (1989-02-21)1605
In an Idaho classroom, teacher Phil Gerrish puts an unorthodox interpretation on the day's biology lesson. As students take notes, he explains that creationism is a valid scientific explanation for the origin on life. Once relying solely on the literal word of the Bible to make their case, creationists now argue that the scientific evidence is on their side. NOVA reports on this new twist in the long-running battle between creationism and evolution.
"Adrift on the Gulf Stream"February 28, 1989 (1989-02-28)1606
NOVA explores the importance of the Gulf Stream to ocean life, climate and human history.
"Secrets of Easter Island"March 7, 1989 (1989-03-07)1607
NOVA investigates the mystery of Easter Island in the South Pacific. Who built its celebrated statues and why?
"Legends of Easter Island"March 14, 1989 (1989-03-14)1608
NOVA explores ancient legends hold the clues to the violent history of the South Pacific's Easter Island.
"The World Is Full of Oil!"March 21, 1989 (1989-03-21)1609
Scientific detectives test their ingenuity in the effort to find underground oil deposits.
"Confronting the Killer Gene"March 28, 1989 (1989-03-28)1610
Arlo, Nancy and Janice each have a 50/50 chance of developing a devastating nerve disorder. A laboratory test can tell them if in fact they will fall victim. In their shoes, would you take the test? Thousands of others face a similar choice: to know, or not know, if they will carry the genetic time bomb of Huntington's disease. NOVA looks at this incurable disease which affects 20,000 people in the US and threatens tens of thousands of others.

Season 17: 1989–1990

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Hidden City"October 3, 1989 (1989-10-03)1611
Exposing four essential public infrastructure systems that city dwellers depend on: electricity, water, sewage and sanitation. Filmed in New York City and hosted by Judd Hirsch.
"The Controversial Dr. Koop"October 10, 1989 (1989-10-10)1612
In this profile of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, NOVA follows events as they unfold in a unique behind-the-scenes account of a man who speaks his mind on AIDS, smoking and abortion.
"Design Wars!"October 17, 1989 (1989-10-17)1613
Five architects compete for the approval of architecture-obsessed Chicagoans in the contest to build the city's new public library. NOVA looks at the strengths and weakness of each of the surprisingly varied entries.
"Echoes of War"October 24, 1989 (1989-10-24)1614
The atomic bomb might have ended World War II, but radar was the quiet miracle that won battles. NOVA tells the little-known wartime history of radar.
"Decoding the Book of Life"October 31, 1989 (1989-10-31)1615
Biologists around the world gear up to decode the three-billion-letter genetic message that describes how humans are made. Ethicists warn that it may not be such a good idea.
"Hurricane!"November 7, 1989 (1989-11-07)1616
NOVA studies hurricanes—the lurking giants waiting to destroy many coastal areas—by flying straight into one. Scientists hope that such close-up studies will supply the data to make better predictions.
"Will Venice Survive Its Rescue?"November 14, 1989 (1989-11-14)1617
Increasingly awash in high water, the romantic city of Venice is counting on high-tech floodgates to save it from drowning. Environmentalists worry that the gates may destroy the fragile lagoon that surrounds the city.
"What Is Music?"November 21, 1989 (1989-11-21)1618
NOVA explores the science of musical sound—from what makes a classic violin to how the human brain perceives music. Bells, trumpets, human voices and computers all perform.
"Yellowstone's Burning Question"December 5, 1989 (1989-12-05)1619
The 1988 Yellowstone fire may have been one of the worst in human memory, but nature has had eons of experience with such events. NOVA accompanies scientists who are studying the surprisingly rapid recovery from the blaze. Narrated by Peter Thomas.
"The Schoolboys Who Cracked the Soviet Secret"December 12, 1989 (1989-12-12)1620
NOVA re-enacts a classic case of classroom detection when English schoolboys track down a secret Soviet launch site.
"Poison in the Rockies"January 9, 1990 (1990-01-09)1701
NOVA reports on the 100-year-old legacy of pollution from mining that poisons the once-pristine waters of the Rocky Mountain states. Acid Rain and economic development also contribute to stress on the West's scarce water supply.
"Race for the Top"January 23, 1990 (1990-01-23)1702
Using some of the largest machines ever built on earth, American and European physicists race to discover one of the most fundamental and most elusive objects in nature—the top quark.
"Disguises of War"February 6, 1990 (1990-02-06)1703
NOVA takes the wraps off the art of deception in war—from simple camouflage to the expensive, radar-evading technology embodied in the Stealth bomber.
"The Bomb's Lethal Legacy"February 13, 1990 (1990-02-13)1704
NOVA examines an alarming nuclear waste problem at the Hanfrod Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington state, where 45 years of mismanagement in the nuclear weapons industry will cost billions to correct.
"The Big Spill"February 27, 1990 (1990-02-27)1705
Covering last year's Exxon Valdez oil spill from an unexplored angle, NOVA focuses on how technology failed in preventing, containing and cleaning up the Alaskan disaster.
"The Genius That Was China: Rise of the Dragon"March 20, 1990 (1990-03-20)[9]1706
China in the 13th century was the richest, most powerful, most technologically advanced civilization on earth. NOVA looks at how China achieved what it did, and what in Chinese politics, culture and economy kept it from doing more.
"The Genius That Was China: Empires in Collision"March 27, 1990 (1990-03-27)[9]1707
NOVA examines the extraordinary transformation that propelled Europe outward into the world from the 15th to 18th centuries, while China remained the insular middle kingdom.
"The Genius That Was China: The Threat from Japan"April 3, 1990 (1990-04-03)[9]1708
East and West came into direct conflict over trade and power in the 19th century. The West won. NOVA explores how Japan was later able to master Western methods, while China was not.
"The Genius That Was China: Will the Dragon Rise Again?"April 10, 1990 (1990-04-10)[9]1709
NOVA covers China's long road to economic and technological equality with the West, punctuated by frequent setbacks such as the 1989 massacre of pro-democractic demonstrations in Beijing.

Season 18: 1990–1991

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The KGB, The Computer and Me"October 2, 1990 (1990-10-02)1710
What happens when a Berkeley hippie turns detective and gets mixed up with the CIA and the KGB? NOVA follows computer sleuth Cliff Stoll as he tracks a data thief through a maze of military and research computers.
"Neptune's Cold Fury"October 9, 1990 (1990-10-09)1711
NOVA visits Neptune, the planet that took Voyager 12 years to reach. Mysteries abound in and around this big, blue world at the outer limits of the Solar System. Narrated by Patrick Stewart.
"To Boldly Go..."October 16, 1990 (1990-10-16)1712
NOVA chronicles the Voyager space mission – from Earth to the ends of the Solar System. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and dozens of moons star in this epic voyage of exploration and a new view of the Solar System. Narrated by Patrick Stewart.
"Poisoned Winds of War"October 23, 1990 (1990-10-23)1713
Sixty-five years after attempts to ban them, chemical weapons pose more of a threat than ever. NOVA looks at the problem of controlling substances that are easily produced and cruelly effective.
"The Blimp is Back!"October 30, 1990 (1990-10-30)1714
NOVA examines the troubled past and promising future of blimps, zeppelins, cyclocranes and other species of airships. There's life in the old gasbags yet.
"Earthquake!"November 6, 1990 (1990-11-06)1715
NOVA looks at the high-stakes quest to predict earthquakes. Despite past disappointments, geologists still hope to divine the clues that precede nature's ultimate upheavals. Narrated by Avery Brooks.
"Killing Machines"November 13, 1990 (1990-11-13)1716
Robotic weapons that seek out and destroy ships, planes, and other targets are the wave of the future. NOVA questions whether their proliferation may spell an end to superpower invincibility.
"Can the Elephant Be Saved?"November 20, 1990 (1990-11-20)1717
Is the ivory ban in the elephant's best interest? NOVA looks at the controversial strategies to save the world's largest land animal from extinction.
"We Know Where You Live"November 27, 1990 (1990-11-27)1718
NOVA investigates the hidden world of direct marketing, pointing out how advertisers know a lot more about people than they think.
"In the Land of the Llamas"December 4, 1990 (1990-12-04)1719
NOVA profiles the llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco of South America. At one time nearly extinct, these four members of the camel family are exceptionally well adapted to life in the beautiful high Andes.
"What's Killing the Children?"December 18, 1990 (1990-12-18)1720
NOVA tracks a mysterious disease that suddenly and fatally attacks the children of a small Brazilian town. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta are called in to crack the case.
"Return to Mt. St. Helens"January 8, 1991 (1991-01-08)1801
NOVA returns to Mount St. Helens a decade after its cataclysmic eruption to learn how nature is recovering from the disaster.
"ConFusion in a Jar"January 15, 1991 (1991-01-15)1802
An experiment that could mean limitless supplies of energy sets the scientific world on its head. NOVA covers the cold fusion controversy.
"The Hunt for China's Dinosaurs"February 5, 1991 (1991-02-05)1804
NOVA covers the most elaborate expedition ever undertaken in the search for dinosaurs—to China's Gobi desert. Paleontologists brave sandstorms, heat and worse to find their fossils.
"Case of the Flying Dinosaur"February 12, 1991 (1991-02-12)1805
Are dinosaurs still among us? NOVA looks at the question of whether present-day birds are dinosaurs. Over the years, new fossil discoveries keep amending the answer.
"T. Rex Exposed"February 19, 1991 (1991-02-19)1806
Tyrannosaurus rex, a kind of dinosaur, recently turned up in a nearly complete skeleton in Montana. NOVA follows the dig to extract the bones and looks at the science and lore of dinosaurs in general.
"Russian Right Stuff: The Invisible Spaceman"February 26, 1991 (1991-02-26)1807
In the first program of a three-part miniseries on the Soviet space program, NOVA profiles the mysterious genius behind the world's first satellite, the first man to orbit the Earth and other early Russian triumphs in space.
"Russian Right Stuff: The Dark Side of the Moon"February 27, 1991 (1991-02-27)1808
NOVA reveals the details of Moscow's secret plan to reach the Moon ahead of the Americans.
"Russian Right Stuff: The Mission"February 28, 1991 (1991-02-28)1809
In an unprecedented insider's look, NOVA covers the training, flight and recovery of a cosmonaut crew that visits the Soviet space station Mir. Unexpected emergencies show that space travel is still far from routine.
"Swimming With Whales"March 5, 1991 (1991-03-05)1810
Gregory Peck narrates a scientific voyage around Vancouver Island in search of whales. Humpbacks, Killers, Grays and other whale species make their appearance in spectacular, never-before-seen footage both above and below the waves.
"The Chip vs. the Chessmaster"March 26, 1991 (1991-03-26)1803
The computer chess champ matches wits with the human world titleholder.

Season 19: 1991–1992

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Sex, Lies and Toupee Tape"October 1, 1991 (1991-10-01)1811
NOVA covers the causes and attempted cures of baldness. Some men take pride in their bald heads; others will go to great lengths to cover up. Alan Rachins of NBC's LA Law tells the story.
"So You Want to Be a Doctor?"October 9, 1991 (1991-10-09)1812
In a two-hour special, NOVA follows seven aspiring doctors through four years of medical school. The first examination, the anatomy lab, the first death, the first baby-it's all part of becoming a doctor. Neil Patrick Harris, star of ABC's Doogie Howser, MD hosts.
"Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls"October 15, 1991 (1991-10-15)1814
Forty years after they were discovered, the Dead Sea Scrolls have yet to be published in their entirety. NOVA looks at the laborious-some say scandalous-process of compiling and releasing this religious treasure.
"Suicide Mission to Chernobyl"October 22, 1991 (1991-10-22)1815
NOVA accompanies Soviet scientists on a deadly mission inside the sarcophagus-the massive structure that entombs the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Will there be another deadly explosion?
"Taller Than Everest?"November 5, 1991 (1991-11-05)1816
The tallest mountain in the world? Think again: cartographers had to when satellite date revealed a peak called "K2" might be the real champ. Which is the world's tallest mountain?
"Fastest Planes in the Sky"November 12, 1991 (1991-11-12)1817
The fastest machines in the sky are going to be slow stuff when the latest speed demons on the drawing board take to the air. NOVA looks at the intoxicating lure to fly even faster.
"Avoiding the Surgeon's Knife"December 3, 1991 (1991-12-03)1818
NOVA follows the efforts of four participants in a celebrated California study to unblock arteries without using drugs or surgery before their heart disease becomes fatal. A studio segment featuring experts with varying medical views will air as part of the 60-minute program. ABC News Medical Correspondent George Strait moderates.
"Skyscraper! A Nova Special"December 10, 1991 (1991-12-10)1819
This 80-minute NOVA pledge special chronicles the building of the Worldwide Plaza, 47-story office tower in midtown Manhattan, from a hole in the ground to a 770-foot skyscraper.
"The Fine Art of Faking It"December 17, 1991 (1991-12-17)1820
Science comes to the aid of art. Museums now employ scientists to find forgeries and give insight into the process of artist creation. Richard Dreyfuss narrates.
"Hell Fighters of Kuwait"January 14, 1992 (1992-01-14)1901
NOVA covers the fight to put out Saddam Hussein's bonfire of oil wells in Kuwait, which has created the worst manmade pollution event in history. Fire fighting teams from Houston and elsewhere are faced with a Texas-size job.
"Submarine!"January 21, 1992 (1992-01-21)1902
NOVA takes a voyage on the newest of America's doomsday machines—the ballistic missile submarine USS Michigan. The Cold War may be won, but these submerged super arsenals continue to prowl the deep.
"Saddam's War on Wildlife"January 28, 1992 (1992-01-28)1903
Few people give any thought to wildlife in the midst of a war. During the Gulf War, environmentalist John Walsh did his best to save animals from oil spills, bullets and other dangers.
"What Smells?"February 11, 1992 (1992-02-11)1904
The nose knows. How much is the subject of NOVA's investigation of the mysterious aromas and hidden messages picked up by our sense of smell. David Suzuki hosts.
"Can You Believe TV Ratings?"February 18, 1992 (1992-02-18)1905
Rating the audience for TV shows is a classic problem in statistical analysis. NOVA finds that ratings are getting more accurate but still are far from scientific.
"Making a Dishonest Buck"March 3, 1992 (1992-03-03)1906
Criminals still make money the old-fashioned way—by counterfeiting. NOVA looks at why US currency is so easy to fake and what the government is doing about it.
"Rescuing Baby Whales"March 10, 1992 (1992-03-10)1907
NOVA examines the mysterious whale strandings along the beaches of Cape Cod Bay, as the puzzling behavior becomes more common.
"An Astronaut's View of the Earth"March 17, 1992 (1992-03-17)1908
NOVA goes behind the scenes to watch the filming of a big-screen IMAX/Omnimax space spectacle. Astronauts operate the cameras on location aboard the Space Shuttle.
"Eclipse of the Century"March 24, 1992 (1992-03-24)1909
The spectacular eclipse of 1991 passed over major observatories on the island of Hawaii. NOVA was there for 6 1/2 minutes of frenetic research that revealed new secrets about our sun.

Season 20: 1992–1993

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Animal Olympians II"August 25, 1992 (1992-08-25)1910
NOVA looks at grace, speed, strength and endurance of humans and animals.
"The Genius Behind the Bomb"September 29, 1992 (1992-09-29)1911
Physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard reenact the signing of the 1939 letter that alerted President Franklin Roosevelt to the feasibility of atomic weapons. Szilard drafted and Einstein signed the famous warning, which led to the building of the first atomic bomb.
"Mind of a Serial Killer"October 13, 1992 (1992-10-13)1912
NOVA goes behind the scenes to give the real story behind the FBI unit popularized in the Academy Award-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs. Using a detailed psychological profile, the unit helped the Rochester, New York police department catch a notorious serial killer who targeted prostitutes. Actor Patrick Stewart narrates.
"Search for the First Americans"October 20, 1992 (1992-10-20)1913
NOVA follows the trail of America's first inhabitants. Did they migrate across a Bering Sea land bridge at the end of the last Ice Age, as we all learned in school? Or did they arrive thousands of years earlier, possibly by some different route, as new archaeological evidence increasingly hints?
"Rafting Through the Grand Canyon"October 27, 1992 (1992-10-27)1914
NOVA explores Earth's greatest natural wonder by rafting down the river that created it, repeating the spectacular first canyon voyage of the 19th-century explorer John Wesley Powell. The Grand Canyon tells the story of nearly 2 billion years of earth history plus the changes caused by three decades of human intervention.
"This Old Pyramid"November 4, 1992 (1992-11-04)1915
In a 90-minute special presentation, NOVA reveals the ancient secrets of how the pyramids were built by actually building one. A noted Egyptologist, Mark Lehner, and a professional stonemason, Roger Hopkins (This Old House), join forces in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza to put clever and sometimes bizarre pyramid construction theories to the test.
"Iceman"November 10, 1992 (1992-11-10)1916
Five thousand years ago, a man perished in a mountain storm. In 1991, his frozen body was found along with artifacts of his vanished way of life. NOVA covers the international effort to unlock the secrets of this astonishing discovery.
"The Private Lives of Dolphins"November 17, 1992 (1992-11-17)1917
NOVA delves into the deep sea drama of life among the dolphins at research stations in Florida and Australia. Like humans and chimpanzees, dolphins have evolved a sophisticated social system that provides clues about the origins and purpose of big brains and intelligence.
"Brain Transplant"December 1, 1992 (1992-12-01)1918
Two paralyzed drug addicts travel to Sweden to receive a revolutionary treatment for brain disease that is largely unavailable in the US due to the ban on fetal tissue research. "Brain Transplant" continues the remarkable story of a mysterious malady linked to a bad batch of synthetic heroin that NOVA first covered in the 1986 award-winning film, "The Case of the Frozen Addict".
"Can You Stop People From Drinking?"December 22, 1992 (1992-12-22)1919
NOVA looks at how Russia and the United States are attacking the intractable problem of alcohol abuse with old and new weapons—including prohibition, hypnotism, imprisonment, surveillance, deception, aversion therapy and group therapy as practiced by Alcoholics Anonymous.
"Sex and the Single Rhino"December 29, 1992 (1992-12-29)1920
NOVA examines the high-tech efforts to preserve the world's animal diversity. Noah needed only an ark—but today's conservationists need all the tools that biology, ecology, diplomacy and politics can muster if endangered species are to survive beyond the next century.
"The Hunt for Saddam's Secret Weapons"January 12, 1993 (1993-01-12)[10]2001
NOVA follows the international team of advisors who are fulfilling the UN mandate to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear technology, poison chemicals, missiles and giant guns are some of the threats that inspectors must hunt down in a cat-and-mouse game with the Iraqis.
"Can Bombing Win a War?"January 19, 1993 (1993-01-19)2002
The Gulf War was fought in 38 days of non-stop bombing and four days of swift ground action. Did bombing win it? NOVA looks at the history of strategic bombing and asks whether bombing has now achieved preeminence in warfare.
"The Deadly Deception"January 26, 1993 (1993-01-26)2003
For four decades, 400 African American men from Macon, Alabama were unwitting participants in a government study of untreated syphilis. NOVA tells the story of this notorious human experiment. George Strait, ABC News Medical Correspondent, hosts.
"Nazis and the Russian Bomb"February 2, 1993 (1993-02-02)2004
NOVA tells the story of the German scientists abducted to the Soviet Union after World War II to help build an atomic bomb. The success of the crash program in 1949, with the explosion of the first Soviet nuclear weapon, shocked the world.
"In the Path of a Killer Volcano"February 9, 1993 (1993-02-09)2005
NOVA covers scientists on the brink of a sputtering, shaking, impatient volcano, trying to forecast when it will go off. When it does, Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines goes big time, producing the largest volcanic eruption in 80 years.
"Can Science Build a Champion Athlete?"February 16, 1993 (1993-02-16)2006
Athletes are training smarter, running faster, jumping higher and generally outperforming their predecessors—thanks to high technology. NOVA covers the record-setting trend for improving sports performance with science.
"Diving for Pirate Gold"February 23, 1993 (1993-02-23)2007
These days, piracy on the high seas often involves sonar, magnometers, metal detectors and other high-tech equipment for finding and plundering sunken ships. NOVA explores the swashbuckling seafaring pirates of old and their present-day successors.
"Murder, Rape and DNA"March 2, 1993 (1993-03-02)2008
Wherever we shed our body cells, we leave an indisputable identity card: our DNA. NOVA investigates the new science of DNA typing which is putting increasing numbers of murderers and rapists behind bars.
"The Lost Tribe"March 30, 1993 (1993-03-30)2009
NOVA covers both sides of the stormy controversy over the Tasaday tribe. When these isolated cave dwellers were discovered in the Philippines in 1971, they were hailed as a Stone Age relic. Now, many anthropologists denounce them as fakes.

Season 21: 1993–1994

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The NOVA Quiz"October 5, 1993 (1993-10-05)2010
NOVA fans from around the country match wits in a fast-paced contest of general science knowledge celebrating NOVA's 20th anniversary. Famous guests pose questions for the viewers at home. Marc Summers hosts.
"Wanted: Butch and Sundance"October 12, 1993 (1993-10-12)2011
Forensic sleuth Clyde Snow and a posse of experts travel to Bolivia in search of the remains of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They find Hollywood and legend got a few things wrong.
"Secrets of the Psychics"October 19, 1993 (1993-10-19)2012
Magician James "The Amazing" Randi tests the claims of mind readers, fortune tellers, faith healers and others with purported paranormal powers. As a magician, "I know how people are deceived," Randi says.
"Dying to Breathe"October 26, 1993 (1993-10-26)2013
NOVA covers the tense vigil of three people with terminal lung disease as they await the most complex of all organ transplants – a new lung. Months of waiting end in a few frenzied hours of intricate surgery.
"Shadow of the Condor"November 2, 1993 (1993-11-02)2014
NOVA soars with the condor, an extraordinary bird that lives a tenuous existence in the California mountains and the Andes of South America. Footage includes never-before-photographed nesting sites in the cliffs of the Patagonia.
"The Real Jurassic Park"November 9, 1993 (1993-11-09)2015
With help from director Steven Spielberg, author Michael Crichton and a host of scientific experts, NOVA investigates what it would take to recreate the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park. It won't be as easy as it was for Hollywood.
"Roller Coaster!"November 16, 1993 (1993-11-16)2016
NOVA takes viewers on the ride of their lives as it explores the science of roller coasters, where physics and psychology meet. New rides of the future may take place entirely in the mind—with virtual reality. First aired on Channel Four in 1992.
"Mysterious Crash of Flight 201"November 30, 1993 (1993-11-30)2017
US federal investigators are called in to determine the cause of a mysterious jetliner crash in Panama, Copa Airlines Flight 201. Nothing about the accident makes sense, until a key clue emerges.
"Great Moments from NOVA"December 7, 1993 (1993-12-07)2018
Bill Cosby guides viewers through the most exciting footage from two decades of NOVA in a 20th anniversary salute. Real-life action, adventure, mystery, drama and non-stop discovery fill this 90-minute special.
"The Best Mind Since Einstein"December 21, 1993 (1993-12-21)2019
A profile of the late Richard Feynman – an atomic bomb pioneer, Nobel prize-winning physicist, acclaimed teacher and all-around eccentric, who helped solve the mystery of the space shuttle Challenger explosion. Edited and re-narrated from the two-part Horizon episode, "No Ordinary Genius".[8]
"Stranger in the Mirror"December 28, 1993 (1993-12-28)2020
NOVA explores the nature of human perception through the puzzling condition called visual agnosia, the inability to recognize faces and familiar objects, made famous in Oliver Sacks' book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat".
"Codebreakers"January 18, 1994 (1994-01-18)2101
NOVA delves into the history of secret communications and the people who wrack their brains to decipher them. The program probes the most celebrated of all cryptographic coups: the breaking of the World War II codes used by Japan and Germany and how codebreaking helped shorten the war.
"Dinosaurs of the Gobi"January 25, 1994 (1994-01-25)2102
Velociraptors and primitive birds are among the fabulous fossil finds as NOVA accompanies an American Museum of Natural History expedition to the Gobi Desert. The trip relives the exploits of the Museum's dashing explorer of the 1920s, Roy Chapman Andrews -said to be the real-life model for Indiana Jones.
"Daredevils of the Sky"February 1, 1994 (1994-02-01)2103
NOVA follows members of the US Aerobatic Team as they prepare for and compete in the 1992 World Aerobatic Championship. The sport, as precisely choreographed as gymnastics-except that it takes place in airplanes at 200 miles per hour-has always been on the leading edge of developments in aviation.
"Journey to Kilimanjaro"February 8, 1994 (1994-02-08)2104
NOVA explores ice-capped mountains-on the equator. These African giants are magical islands of life towering above the scorched plains. Giant forest hogs, bearded vultures, the elusive bongo and other exotic creatures live in this harsh and isolated high country.
"Can Chimps Talk?"February 15, 1994 (1994-02-15)2105
NOVA covers exciting and controversial research with chimpanzees who have been trained to express themselves with human symbols. Are they speaking their minds? Or are they just aping their trainers?
"In Search of Human Origins: The Story of Lucy" (1 of 3)February 28, 1994 (1994-02-28)2106
In the first part of a three-part series, noted anthropologist Donald Johanson probes the earliest ancestors of the human species, reaching back more than three million years to a strange ape who walked upright. Johanson takes viewers to the site in Ethiopia where he discovered the fossil remains of this missing link nicknamed "Lucy".
"In Search of Human Origins: Surviving in Africa" (2 of 3)March 1, 1994 (1994-03-01)2107
Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at how our human ancestors of two million years ago made their living. Contrary to popular myth, scavenging was a more lucrative living than hunting – and may have contributed to the development of human intelligence.
"In Search of Human Origins: The Creative Revolution" (3 of 3)March 2, 1994 (1994-03-02)2108
At what point did our distant ancestors become anatomically like us? And, more importantly, when did they begin to act like us? Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at what it is that makes us human.
"Can China Kick the Habit?"April 12, 1994 (1994-04-12)2109
NOVA visits the most cigarette-addicted nation in the world, China. Western advertising and trading practices have exacerbated the fatal romance with smoking in the world's most populous country, where lung cancer cases are beginning to strain the nation's health care system.
"Aircraft Carrier!"April 19, 1994 (1994-04-19)2110
NOVA experiences the relentless, round-the-clock life aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier, Independence, where every day is a constant drill of launching and landing aircraft atop a floating city of 5,000 people. The action includes Top Gun mock combat exercises and live-ammunition patrols over Iraq.

Season 22: 1994–1995

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"The Great Wildlife Heist"October 11, 1994 (1994-10-11)2111
Polly wants a crackdown when it comes to the illegal trade in the world's most beautiful and intelligent birds: parrots. NOVA goes undercover with a US government sting that breaks an international parrot smuggling ring, landing some surprising suspects.
"The Secret of the Wild Child"October 18, 1994 (1994-10-18)2112
NOVA profiles "Genie", a girl whose parents kept her imprisoned in near total isolation from infancy. When social workers discovered her as a teenager, Genie had not learned to walk or talk. This NOVA documentary includes never-before-seen footage of Genie during her rehabilitation and probes how and when we learn the skills that make us "human."
"Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird"October 25, 1994 (1994-10-25)2113
NOVA explores the legacy of the great Auk, a magnificent flightless bird that was hunted to extinction over a century ago. In a journey retracing its migratory route, host Richard Wheeler kayaks from Newfoundland to Cape Cod and discovers that other marine species face the Auk's luckless fate.
"What's New About Menopause"November 1, 1994 (1994-11-01)2114
NOVA tackles the long-taboo subject of menopause, profiling new research and examining the medical and ethical controversies that arise when science enables women to postpone menopause or even to bear children long after "the change." Stockard Channing narrates.
"The Tribe that Time Forgot"November 8, 1994 (1994-11-08)2115
NOVA travels deep into the Amazon wilderness in search of a mysterious tribe- a tribe that dismembered and partially ate three prospectors in 1976. Locating the group, NOVA lives with them for three months, gaining insight into the customs and beliefs of a people whose lifestyle has not changed for centuries.
"Killer Quake!"November 15, 1994 (1994-11-15)2116
NOVA probes the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake. Even as the city struggles to repair itself from the tragedy, seismic pressure continues to build. Scientists fear that newly discovered faults could, at any moment, trigger California's most devastating natural disaster.
"Buried in Ash"November 29, 1994 (1994-11-29)2117
Ten million years ago, an enormous volcanic eruption buried much of what is now Nebraska in up to 10 feet of ash, preserving countless skeletons of prehistoric big game animals. NOVA joins the discoverer of this treasure trove to learn what life was like when a lot more than buffalo roamed the West.
"Rescue Mission in Space"December 6, 1994 (1994-12-06)2118
Hobbled by defective eyesight because of its original, bungled prescription, the Hubble Space Telescope was recently repaired in a dramatic Space Shuttle mission. NOVA follows the exploits of astronauts who saved the day, and the stunning work that Hubble has performed in the months since its repair.
"Journey to the Sacred Sea"December 20, 1994 (1994-12-20)2119
NOVA travels to Lake Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake, containing one-fifth of all the fresh water on Earth. Investigating Baikal from above, below and all around, NOVA charts its dramatically changing environment over the course of four seasons.
"In Search of the First Language"December 27, 1994 (1994-12-27)2120
NOVA explores the common threads that link the more than 5,000 languages of Earth, including a controversial theory that claims to reconstruct words from a time when only a handful of languages were spoken, recalling the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
"Mammoths of the Ice Age"January 10, 1995 (1995-01-10)2201
The subjects of Stone Age Cave paintings thunder onto the screen as NOVA explores Woolly mammoths. Recent discoveries show that the hairy ancestors of Elephants fought off extinction much longer than anyone thought, surviving on an isolated island in the Arctic Ocean until as recently as 4,000 years ago.
"Vikings in America"January 24, 1995 (1995-01-24)2202
NOVA investigates the myth and reality of the first known Europeans to reach North America – Vikings. These intrepid Norsemen explored and settled parts of present-day North America 500 years before Columbus set sail.
"Little Creatures Who Run the World"January 31, 1995 (1995-01-31)2203
Entomologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson shows who's boss on this planet: ants. The professor's infectious fascination for ant civilization wins over even the most confirmed "formicophobe" (ant hater).
"Nazi Designers of Death"February 7, 1995 (1995-02-07)2204
NOVA uses recently discovered documents to uncover the complicity of German architects and engineers in the Holocaust. Focusing on Auschwitz, the program tells a tale of ever-deepening evil as the prison camp was methodically converted into a super-efficient factory for genocide.
"Siamese Twins"February 14, 1995 (1995-02-14)2205
Born joined at the pelvis, Siamese twins Dao and Duan were brought to the United States from Thailand to assess their chances for being separated surgically. NOVA covers the intricate planning and protracted operations that eventually made the two girls into two distinct individuals.
"Mystery of the Senses: Hearing" (1 of 5)February 19, 1995 (1995-02-19)[11]TBA
"Mystery of the Senses: Smell" (2 of 5)February 20, 1995 (1995-02-20)[11]TBA
"Mystery of the Senses: Taste" (3 of 5)February 21, 1995 (1995-02-21)[11]TBA
"Mystery of the Senses: Touch" (4 of 5)February 22, 1995 (1995-02-22)[11]TBA
"Mystery of the Senses: Vision" (5 of 5)February 22, 1995 (1995-02-22)[11]TBA
"The Universe Within"March 7, 1995 (1995-03-07)2206
What amazing processes go on inside super-athletes and couch potatoes alike? NOVA uses the latest medical imaging techniques to explore the body's incredible inner workings-with the help of Olympic ice skater Bonnie Blair, world record long jumper Mike Powell and others.
"Making of a Doctor"May 3, 1995 (1995-05-03)2207
In the third installment of a 10-year project, NOVA checks up on a group of aspiring doctors who've been chronicled since their first day of medical school in 1987. Now bona fide MDs and in the middle of residency training, the group faces the awesome responsibility of curing the sick and keeping their own lives intact.
"Fast Cars"May 23, 1995 (1995-05-23)2208
What does it take to win at Indy? NOVA follows champion race driver Bobby Rahal and a team of engineers as they strive to design a new car that can win the checkered flag at the Memorial Day classic. The program also features racing insights from top drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Willy T. Ribbs and Lyn Saint James.

Season 23: 1995–1996

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Anastasia: Dead or Alive?"October 10, 1995 (1995-10-10)2209
Shortly after midnight on 17 July 1918, at a house in the town of Ekaterinburg in the Ural mountains, Bolshevik guards awakened the deposed Tsar Nicholas II together with his family and forced them into the basement, where they were shot and clubbed to death. NOVA follows forensic tests of skeletons discovered in Ekaterinburg in 1979 that are alleged to be the remains of the Russian royals, and explores the intriguing claim that Anna Anderson of Charlottesville, Virginia, was really the long lost Anastasia.
"Venus Unveiled"October 17, 1995 (1995-10-17)2210
Venus reveals its true face, recorded in detail for the first time by the radar spacecraft Magellan. Our next-door planetary neighbor turns out to be one of the most bizarre places in the solar system.
"Hawaii: Born of Fire"October 24, 1995 (1995-10-24)2211
NOVA explores the fiery moonscapes and lush rainforests or the world's most isolated archipelago: the Hawaiian islands. From blistering beginnings as molten rock, the islands have developed into a verdant paradise of unique lifeforms.
"The Doomsday Asteroid"October 31, 1995 (1995-10-31)2212
Is there an asteroid or comet out there with our name on it? NOVA scans the skies and the geological record on Earth, for evidence that giant rocks from outer space have struck before and will eventually plow into our planet again.
"Lightning!"November 7, 1995 (1995-11-07)2213
Lightning! takes you on a high voltage trip into the most electrically charged weather in the world culminating in a dazzling lightning show set to music that rivals the most extraordinary fireworks display. The program also visits with some of lightning's tragic victims who though they were out of harm's way.
"Hunt for the Serial Arsonist"November 14, 1995 (1995-11-14)2214
In the spring of 1991, a rash of suspicious store fires in Los Angeles set fire investigators on the trail of a serial Arsonist. Using ingenious techniques to "read" burn patterns and reconstruct the chain of events at each fire, the team uncovered a crucial clue—a fingerprint on a crude incendiary device. Eight months later, the team closed in on their chief suspect and revealed the shocking truth behind his identity. A classic scientific detective story with a final twist that will keep viewers guessing until the end.
"Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef"November 28, 1995 (1995-11-28)2215
Recording sights that will astonish even experienced divers, NOVA documents an extraordinary day in the life of the largest coral reef in the world, capturing for the first time the annual spawning of coral and other unusual creatures of the reef.
"Race to Catch a Buckyball"December 19, 1995 (1995-12-19)2216
In 1985 a chemist looking at stardust, paired with one searching for brand new materials, stumbled across what science said could not exist – a third form of carbon. They named the soccer ball-shaped molecules "Buckminsterfullerene" after the architect who invented the geodesic dome. Today "Buckyballs," as the molecules are playfully known, are revolutionizing chemistry and promise countless technological applications. NOVA traces this remarkable tale of serendipity in scientific discovery.
"Can Buildings Make You Sick?"December 26, 1995 (1995-12-26)2217
NOVA unravels baffling cases of bad air in buildings all over the world. Even hospitals are on the "sick building" list – along with offices, schools, homes and just about any enclosed space.
"Terror in the Mine Fields"January 9, 1996 (1996-01-09)2301
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.
"The Day the Earth Shook"January 16, 1996 (1996-01-16)2302
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.
"B-29 Frozen in Time"January 30, 1996 (1996-01-30)2303
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.
"Plague Fighters"
"Ebola: The Plague Fighters"[12]
February 6, 1996 (1996-02-06)2304
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.
"War Machines of Tomorrow"February 20, 1996 (1996-02-20)2305
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.
"Kidnapped by UFOs?"February 27, 1996 (1996-02-27)2306
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.
"Flood!"March 26, 1996 (1996-03-26)2307
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.
"Dr. Spock the Baby Doc"April 2, 1996 (1996-04-02)2308
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.
"Warriors of the Amazon"April 9, 1996 (1996-04-09)2309
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.
"Bombing of America"April 16, 1996 (1996-04-16)2310
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.

Season 24: 1996–1997

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Einstein Revealed"October 1, 1996 (1996-10-01)2311
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.
"Lost City of Arabia"October 8, 1996 (1996-10-08)2312
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.
"Three Men and a Balloon"October 15, 1996 (1996-10-15)2313
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?
"Secrets of Making Money"October 22, 1996 (1996-10-22)2314
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.
"Top Gun Over Moscow"November 12, 1996 (1996-11-12)2315
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.
"Shark Attack"November 19, 1996 (1996-11-19)2316
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.
"Odyssey of Life: The Ultimate Journey" (1 of 3)November 24, 1996 (1996-11-24)2317
The development of animal embryos reflects the evolution of species.
"Odyssey of Life: The Unknown World" (2 of 3)November 25, 1996 (1996-11-25)2318
Mites, beetles and borers that share man's surroundings are observed in this look at microscopic intruders including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
"Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secrets" (3 of 3)November 26, 1996 (1996-11-26)2319
Cameras follow microphotographer Lennart Nilsson as he obtains spectacular footage of events, including a human egg cell during conception and a journey through the aorta.
"Cracking the Ice Age"December 31, 1996 (1996-12-31)2320
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.
"Kaboom!"January 14, 1997 (1997-01-14)2401
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.
"Titanic's Lost Sister"January 28, 1997 (1997-01-28)2402
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 21 November 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.
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Stonehenge" (1 of 4)February 11, 1997 (1997-02-11)2403
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.
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Inca" (2 of 4)February 11, 1997 (1997-02-11)2404
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.
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Obelisk" (3 of 4)February 12, 1997 (1997-02-12)2405
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.
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Colosseum" (4 of 4)February 12, 1997 (1997-02-12)2406
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.
"Hunt for Alien Worlds"February 18, 1997 (1997-02-18)2407
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.
"Curse of T. Rex"February 25, 1997 (1997-02-25)2408
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.
"Cut to the Heart"April 8, 1997 (1997-04-08)2409
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.
"Kingdom of the Seahorse"April 15, 1997 (1997-04-15)2410
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 Philippines as she explores the secret lives of these extraordinary fish, and launches innovative efforts to help them thrive once again.

Season 25: 1997–1998

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Coma"October 7, 1997 (1997-10-07)2411
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.
"Faster Than Sound"October 14, 1997 (1997-10-14)2412
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.
"Bomb Squad"October 21, 1997 (1997-10-21)2413
IRA terrorists and British bomb disposal experts tell behind-the-scenes stories of a deadly cat-and- mouse game that pits ingenious IRA explosives officers against the most creative bomb squad in the world.
"The Proof"October 28, 1997 (1997-10-28)2414
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.
"Wild Wolves"November 11, 1997 (1997-11-11)2415
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.
"Super Bridge"November 12, 1997 (1997-11-12)2416
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.
"Treasures of the Sunken City"November 18, 1997 (1997-11-18)2417
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.
"Avalanche!"November 25, 1997 (1997-11-25)2418
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.
"Danger in the Jet Stream"December 2, 1997 (1997-12-02)2419
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.
"Night Creatures of the Kalahari"January 6, 1998 (1998-01-06)2501
Beneath the grassland plains of the Kalahari lies a hidden world of rare and exotic animals. By day, the Kalahari belongs to familiar predators and grazing animals. At night, the earth seems to release scores of seldom seen nocturnal creatures—Bush Babies, Brown Hyenas, Aardvarks and Fungal Termites—in search of food.
"Mysterious Mummies of China"January 20, 1998 (1998-01-20)2502
Perfectly preserved 3000-year-old mummies have been unearthed in a remote Chinese desert. They have long, blonde hair and blue eyes, and don't appear to be the ancestors of the modern-day Chinese people. Who are these people and how did they end up in China's Takla Makan desert? NOVA takes a glimpse through a crack in the door of history, to a past that has never before been seen outside of China.
"Supersonic Spies"January 27, 1998 (1998-01-27)2503
The race to build the world's first supersonic passenger airliner led to a massive espionage effort during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the west. The Soviets started years behind the Concorde team, but espionage enabled Konkordski to beat Concorde into the air by three months. Now, NOVA reveals the cause behind the fatal Konkordski disaster at the 1973 Paris Air Show, which put the Soviet's work on the plane in a deep freeze. In a twist of fate, Konkordski is being resurrected in a NASA initiative to build the second generation of supersonic jets.
"Animal Hospital"February 3, 1998 (1998-02-03)2504
Tapping into the clearly demonstrated affection we all have for our pets, this program will offer an offbeat, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad portrait of pets, their owners, and the veterinarians who treat our beloved animals' ailments. From race horses under the knife for cancer treatment, to Manhattan hounds on Prozac, to anorexic boa constrictors, we will show how cutting edge veterinary medicine is saving lives, and draw viewers into the mini-dramas that unfold each day in homes, in zoos, and in veterinary hospitals across the country.
"The Brain Eater"February 10, 1998 (1998-02-10)2505
In this scientific mystery, NOVA ventures to the front lines of medical research where scientists are scrambling to understand the strange new ailment popularly known as "mad cow disease." Highly infectious and incurable, this disease has claimed the lives of nearly a million cattle in Britain, and a variant is responsible for a handful of deaths in humans. Millions more people may have been exposed, and now the race is on to determine if we are on the brink of another deadly epidemic like AIDS or Ebola. What scientists are finding is making them rethink many fundamental assumptions about epidemiology and may hold startling implications for public health in the future.
"Everest – The Death Zone"February 24, 1998 (1998-02-24)2506
NOVA treks with a group of Himalayan climbers in their quest to reach the summit of Everest, along the way exploring in never-before-conducted tests how extremes of weather and altitude affect the human mind and body. Why do some people succumb so quickly to the ills caused by high altitude while others do not? Does exposure to extreme hypoxia—or lack of oxygen—take a lasting toll on the mind and body? Images of the brain scanned before and after the expedition may reveal truths about the physical traumas suffered in an oxygen-depleted environment, and give us new insight into why the tallest mountain in the world has claimed so many victims.
"Search for the Lost Cave People"March 31, 1998 (1998-03-31)2507
NOVA follows an international team of archaeologists and spelunkers into the Rio la Venta Gorge deep in the Chiapas jungle of Central America. In a rugged canyon they find caves filled with startling remains of a people called the Zoque who lived hundreds of years before the Maya. The extreme inaccessibility and relative dryness of the caves has preserved rare artifacts including bones, clothes, rope, and jewelry. Moving downstream from the caves the team finds a legendary city hidden in a tangle of jungle vines. Evidence of the Zoque's sophisticated writing system and their practice of ritualistic cannibalism and child sacrifice is shedding new light on a little known civilization.
"Warnings from the Ice"April 21, 1998 (1998-04-21)2508
Could the world be facing the next deluge—a catastrophic rise in sea levels—as a result of the rapid break-up of the huge Antarctic ice sheets? The ice sheets hold 70% of the world's fresh water in a deep freeze cold enough to shatter steel, but now scientists are racing to understand whether the recent calving of a Connecticut sized iceberg signals the beginning of a giant meltdown.
"Crocodiles!"April 28, 1998 (1998-04-28)2509
An unprecedented look at a dangerous predator, this is the second of three natural history programs hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Surviving virtually unchanged since the days of the dinosaur and found throughout the world, these remarkable creatures have the tools for survival. Long known as vicious hunters, new photographic techniques now allow us to see them cooperating with each other and protecting their families. From tiny babies hatching from the shell we see them grow into great beasts capable of standing up to the lion and bringing down a zebra.
"The Truth About Impotence"May 12, 1998 (1998-05-12)2510
NOVA reports on new hope for victims of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. Among the promising therapies covered in the program are ones developed by Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Boston University School of Medicine and Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, director of the Male Clinic in Santa Monica, CA. Actual cases are profiled, featuring men talking candidly about their problem—and going through treatment—on camera. Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70.

Season 26: 1998–1999

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude"October 6, 1998 (1998-10-06)2511
"Chasing El Niño"October 13, 1998 (1998-10-13)2512
"Terror In Space"October 27, 1998 (1998-10-27)2513
"Special Effects: Titanic and Beyond"November 3, 1998 (1998-11-03)2514
"Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius"November 10, 1998 (1998-11-10)2515
"Ice Mummies: Frozen in Heaven" (1 of 3)November 24, 1998 (1998-11-24)2516
"Ice Mummies: Siberian Ice Maiden" (2 of 3)November 24, 1998 (1998-11-24)2517
"Ice Mummies: Return of the Iceman" (3 of 3)November 24, 1998 (1998-11-24)2518
"Leopards of the Night"December 1, 1998 (1998-12-01)2519
(Narrated by David Attenborough.)
"The Perfect Pearl"December 29, 1998 (1998-12-29)2520
"The Beast of Loch Ness"January 12, 1999 (1999-01-12)2601
This episode can be seen in an episode of another WGBH series, Arthur.
"Submarines, Secrets, and Spies"January 19, 1999 (1999-01-19)2602
"Surviving AIDS"February 2, 1999 (1999-02-02)2603
"Escape! Because Accidents Happen: Fire" (1 of 4)February 16, 1999 (1999-02-16)2604
"Escape! Because Accidents Happen: Car Crash" (2 of 4)February 16, 1999 (1999-02-16)2605
"Escape! Because Accidents Happen: Plane Crash" (3 of 4)February 17, 1999 (1999-02-17)2606
"Escape! Because Accidents Happen: Abandon Ship" (4 of 4)February 17, 1999 (1999-02-17)2607
"Battle Alert in the Gulf"February 23, 1999 (1999-02-23)2608
"Volcanoes of the Deep"[13]March 30, 1999 (1999-03-30)2609
"To the Moon"July 13, 1999 (1999-07-13)2610
A two-hour special marking the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

Season 27: 1999–2000

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Fall of the Leaning Tower"October 5, 1999 (1999-10-05)2611
"Everest: Mystery of Mallory and Irvine"October 6, 1999 (1999-10-06)2612
"Time Travel"October 12, 1999 (1999-10-12)2613
"The Killer's Trail"October 19, 1999 (1999-10-19)2614
"Island of the Spirits"November 2, 1999 (1999-11-02)2615
"Decoding Nazi Secrets"November 9, 1999 (1999-11-09)2616
"Voyage of Doom"November 23, 1999 (1999-11-23)2617
"Electric Heart"December 21, 1999 (1999-12-21)2618
"Tales from the Hive"January 4, 2000 (2000-01-04)2701
(Originally aired in 1998 by the Austrian broadcaster ORF)
"Lost on Everest"January 18, 2000 (2000-01-18)2702
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Medieval Siege"[15] (1 of 5)February 1, 2000 (2000-02-01)TBA
(Sixth episode of a ten-episode multipart miniseries with one in 1992, four in 1997, and five in 2000. Last five episodes produced by WGBH in association with Channel 4 and France 5.[14])
"The Diamond Deception"February 1, 2000 (2000-02-01)2703
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Pharaoh's Obelisk" (2 of 5)February 8, 2000 (2000-02-08)TBA
"Trillion Dollar Bet"February 8, 2000 (2000-02-08)2704
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Easter Island" (3 of 5)February 15, 2000 (2000-02-15)TBA
"Mystery of the First Americans"February 15, 2000 (2000-02-15)2705
"Secrets of Lost Empires: Roman Bath" (4 of 5)February 22, 2000 (2000-02-22)TBA
"Lost Tribes of Israel"February 22, 2000 (2000-02-22)2706
"Secrets of Lost Empires: China Bridge" (5 of 5)February 29, 2000 (2000-02-29)TBA
"What's Up with the Weather?"April 18, 2000 (2000-04-18)TBA
(A coproduction with FRONTLINE.)
"Stationed in the Stars"April 25, 2000 (2000-04-25)2707
"The Vikings"May 9, 2000 (2000-05-09)2708

Season 28: 2000–2001

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Lincoln's Secret Weapon"October 24, 2000 (2000-10-24)2710
"Holocaust on Trial"October 31, 2000 (2000-10-31)2711
"Hitler's Lost Sub"November 14, 2000 (2000-11-14)2712
"Runaway Universe"November 21, 2000 (2000-11-21)2713
"Garden of Eden"November 28, 2000 (2000-11-28)2714
"Dying to Be Thin"December 12, 2000 (2000-12-12)2715
"Japan's Secret Garden"December 18, 2000 (2000-12-18)2716
"Sultan's Lost Treasure"January 16, 2001 (2001-01-16)2801
"Vanished!"January 30, 2001 (2001-01-30)2802
Tells the story of the search for the Avro Lancaster bomber, Star Dust, that crashed in the Andes on its way to Santiago, Chile. BBC / WGBH co-production.[16] Broadcast in 2000 as BBC Horizon episode, "Vanished: The Plane That Disappeared".[17]
"Nazi Prison Escape"February 6, 2001 (2001-02-06)2803
Edited from the Windfall Films series for Channel 4 (UK) – Escape From Colditz.[18]
"Lost King of the Maya"February 13, 2001 (2001-02-13)2804
This episode focuses on the search for the tomb of K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo', one of the first Ajaws of the Mayan city of Copán.
"Cancer Warrior"February 27, 2001 (2001-02-27)2805
Focuses on the cancer treatments developed by surgeon Judah Folkman.
"Survivor M.D.: Tattooed Doctor" (1 of 3)March 27, 2001 (2001-03-27)2806
"Survivor M.D.: Second Opinions" (2 of 3)April 3, 2001 (2001-04-03)2807
"Survivor M.D.: Hearts & Minds" (3 of 3)April 10, 2001 (2001-04-10)2808
"Cracking the Code of Life"April 17, 2001 (2001-04-17)2809
"Harvest of Fear"April 24, 2001 (2001-04-24)TBA
A coproduction with FRONTLINE.

Season 29: 2001–2002

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Search for a Safe Cigarette"October 2, 2001 (2001-10-02)2810
"18 Ways to Make a Baby"October 9, 2001 (2001-10-09)2811
"Secrets of the Mind"October 23, 2001 (2001-10-23)2812
"Sex: Unknown"October 30, 2001 (2001-10-30)2813
"Russia's Nuclear Warriors"November 6, 2001 (2001-11-06)2814
"Bioterror"November 13, 2001 (2001-11-13)2815
Two versions, 90 minutes 2 December 2002 and 60 minutes 13 November 2001.
"Life's Greatest Miracle"November 20, 2001 (2001-11-20)2816
"Methuselah Tree"December 11, 2001 (2001-12-11)2817
"Flying Casanovas"December 25, 2001 (2001-12-25)2818
"Death Star"January 8, 2002 (2002-01-08)2901
"Neanderthals on Trial"January 22, 2002 (2002-01-22)2902
"Fireworks!"January 29, 2002 (2002-01-29)2903
"Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies"February 5, 2002 (2002-02-05)2904
"The Missing Link"February 26, 2002 (2002-02-26)2905
"Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance"March 26, 2002 (2002-03-26)2906
"Why the Towers Fell"April 30, 2002 (2002-04-30)2907
BBC / WGBH co-production.[19] Broadcast as the Horizon episode, "The Fall of the World Trade Center".
"Fire Wars"May 7, 2002 (2002-05-07)2908

Season 30: 2002–2003

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Killer Disease on Campus"September 3, 2002 (2002-09-03)2909
"Mysterious Life of Caves"October 1, 2002 (2002-10-01)2910
"Lost Roman Treasure"October 8, 2002 (2002-10-08)2911
"Galileo's Battle for the Heavens"October 29, 2002 (2002-10-29)2912
"Volcano's Deadly Warning"November 12, 2002 (2002-11-12)2913
"Sinking City of Venice"November 19, 2002 (2002-11-19)2914
"Orchid Hunter"November 26, 2002 (2002-11-26)2915
"Spies That Fly"January 7, 2003 (2003-01-07)3001
"Last Flight of Bomber 31"January 14, 2003 (2003-01-14)3002
"Ancient Creature of the Deep"January 21, 2003 (2003-01-21)3003
"Battle of the X-Planes"February 4, 2003 (2003-02-04)3004
"Mountain of Ice"February 11, 2003 (2003-02-11)3005
"Lost Treasures of Tibet"February 18, 2003 (2003-02-18)3006
"Dirty Bomb"February 25, 2003 (2003-02-25)[20]3007
"Deep Sea Invasion"April 1, 2003 (2003-04-01)3008
"Secret of Photo 51"April 15, 2003 (2003-04-15)3009

Season 31: 2003–2004

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Infinite Secrets"September 30, 2003 (2003-09-30)3010
"Who Killed the Red Baron?"October 7, 2003 (2003-10-07)3011
Edited from the Channel 4 (UK) series Secret History 22 December 2002 episode "Dogfight – The Mystery of the Red Baron."
"The Elegant Universe: Einstein's Dream" (1 of 3)October 28, 2003 (2003-10-28)3012
"The Elegant Universe: String's the Thing" (2 of 3)October 28, 2003 (2003-10-28)3013
"The Elegant Universe: Welcome to the 11th Dimension" (3 of 3)November 4, 2003 (2003-11-04)3014
"Wright Brothers' Flying Machine"November 11, 2003 (2003-11-11)3015
"Magnetic Storm"November 18, 2003 (2003-11-18)3016
"Volcano Above the Clouds"November 25, 2003 (2003-11-25)3017
"Mars Dead or Alive"January 4, 2004 (2004-01-04)3101
"Secrets of the Crocodile Caves"January 20, 2004 (2004-01-20)3102
"Dogs and More Dogs"February 3, 2004 (2004-02-03)3103
"Descent into the Ice"February 10, 2004 (2004-02-10)3104
"Crash of Flight 111"February 17, 2004 (2004-02-17)3105
"Life and Death in the War Zone"March 4, 2004 (2004-03-04)3106
"Hunt for the Supertwister"March 30, 2004 (2004-03-30)3107
"World in the Balance"April 20, 2004 (2004-04-20)3108
"Battle Plan Under Fire"May 4, 2004 (2004-05-04)3110

Season 32: 2004–2005

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Origins: Earth is Born" (1 of 4)September 28, 2004 (2004-09-28)3111
Edited from the Channel 4 (UK) series The Day the Earth was Born episode "Creation".
"Origins: How Life Began" (2 of 4)September 28, 2004 (2004-09-28)3112
Edited from the Channel 4 (UK) series The Day the Earth was Born episode "Life".
"Origins: Where Are the Aliens?" (3 of 4)September 29, 2004 (2004-09-29)3113
"Origins: Back to the Beginning" (4 of 4)September 29, 2004 (2004-09-29)3114
"The Most Dangerous Woman in America"October 12, 2004 (2004-10-12)3115
"America's Stone Age Explorers"November 9, 2004 (2004-11-09)3116
Original BBC Horizon episode, "Stone Age Columbus", first broadcast in 2002.[21][22]
"Great Escape"November 16, 2004 (2004-11-16)3117
Windfall Films production for Five (UK) / WGBH / The History Channel (UK) originally broadcast on Five in March 2004 as The Great Escape: Revealed.[23]
"Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land"November 23, 2004 (2004-11-23)3118
"Welcome to Mars"January 4, 2005 (2005-01-04)3201
Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers.
"The Boldest Hoax"January 11, 2005 (2005-01-11)3202
One of the most famous hoaxes in archaeological history, the Piltdown Man. Original BBC Timewatch episode "Britain's Greatest Hoax".[24]
"Supersonic Dream"January 18, 2005 (2005-01-18)3203
Original BBC Timewatch episode "Concorde: A Love Story".[25]
"The Viking Deception"February 8, 2005 (2005-02-08)3205
Original Channel 4 (UK) documentary Vinland: Viking Map or Million-Dollar Hoax?.[26]
"Saving the National Treasures"February 15, 2005 (2005-02-15)3206
"A Daring Flight"February 22, 2005 (2005-02-22)3207
"Wave That Shook the World"March 29, 2005 (2005-03-29)3208
Original Channel 4 (UK) Equinox episode, "The Wave That Shook The World".[27][28]

Season 33: 2005–2006

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Mystery of the Megaflood"September 20, 2005 (2005-09-20)3211
"Sinking the Supership"October 4, 2005 (2005-10-04)3212
"Einstein's Big Idea (E=mc²: Einstein's Big Idea)"October 11, 2005 (2005-10-11)3213
"Volcano Under the City"November 1, 2005 (2005-11-01)3215
"Hitler's Sunken Secret"November 8, 2005 (2005-11-08)3216
"Newton's Dark Secrets"November 15, 2005 (2005-11-15)3217
Original BBC documentary, Newton: The Dark Heretic, first broadcast in 2003.[29][30]
"Storm That Drowned A City"November 22, 2005 (2005-11-22)3218
Hurricane Katrina
"The Mummy Who Would Be King"January 3, 2006 (2006-01-03)3301
"Deadly Ascent"January 17, 2006 (2006-01-17)3303
"The Perfect Corpse"February 7, 2006 (2006-02-07)3304
"Jewel of the Earth"February 14, 2006 (2006-02-14)3305
Re-edited from the BBC Natural World program, "The Amber Time Machine".[31]
"The Ghost Particle"February 21, 2006 (2006-02-21)3306
Original BBC Horizon episode, "Project Poltergeist".[32]
"Arctic Passage"February 28, 2006 (2006-02-28)3307
Re-narrated Channel 4 (UK) documentary, The Search for the Northwest Passage[33][34]
"The Great Robot Race"March 28, 2006 (2006-03-28)3308
"Voyage to the Mystery Moon"April 4, 2006 (2006-04-04)3309
Edited from the BBC Horizon episodes, "Saturn: Lord of the Rings" and "Titan: A Place Like Home".[35]
"Dimming the Sun"April 18, 2006 (2006-04-18)3310
Re-edited Horizon episode, "Global Dimming".[36][37]

Season 34: 2006–2007

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Building on Ground Zero"September 5, 2006 (2006-09-05)3311
BBC / WGBH co-production.
"Mystery of the Megavolcano"September 26, 2006 (2006-09-26)3312
"The Deadliest Plane Crash"October 17, 2006 (2006-10-17)3314
An investigation into the Tenerife airport disaster.
"Monster of the Milky Way"October 31, 2006 (2006-10-31)3315
"Wings of Madness"November 7, 2006 (2006-11-07)3316
"The Family That Walks On All Fours"November 14, 2006 (2006-11-14)3317
"Underwater Dream Machine"December 26, 2006 (2006-12-26)3319
"Forgotten Genius"February 6, 2007 (2007-02-06)3402
"The Last Great Ape"February 13, 2007 (2007-02-13)3403
Re-edited from the BBC Natural World program "Bonobo: Missing in Action".[38]
"Kings of Camouflage"April 3, 2007 (2007-04-03)3404
"First Flower"April 17, 2007 (2007-04-17)3405
"Saved by the Sun"April 24, 2007 (2007-04-24)3406
"Pocahontas Revealed"May 8, 2007 (2007-05-08)3407
"Bone Diggers"June 19, 2007 (2007-06-19)3408
"The Great Inca Rebellion"June 26, 2007 (2007-06-26)3409

Season 35: 2007–2008

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Secrets of the Samurai Sword"October 9, 2007 (2007-10-09)3412
"Ghost in Your Genes"October 16, 2007 (2007-10-16)3413
Original BBC Horizon episode broadcast in 2005.[39]
"Marathon Challenge"October 30, 2007 (2007-10-30)3414
"Sputnik Declassified"November 6, 2007 (2007-11-06)3415
"Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial"November 13, 2007 (2007-11-13)3416
"Master of the Killer Ants"November 20, 2007 (2007-11-20)3417
This re-narrated version of the French documentary Jaglavak, Prince of Insects looks at the relationship the Mofu people of northern Cameroon have with insects, such as using red driver ants to combat termites.[40]
"Missing in MiG Alley"December 18, 2007 (2007-12-18)3418
"Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold" (1 of 2)January 8, 2008 (2008-01-08)3504
A Windfall Films production for BBC Four broadcast in December 2007.[41][42]
"Absolute Zero: The Race for Absolute Zero" (2 of 2)January 15, 2008 (2008-01-15)3505
A Windfall Films production for BBC Four broadcast in December 2007.[41][42]
"Secrets of the Parthenon"January 29, 2008 (2008-01-29)3503
"Astrospies"February 12, 2008 (2008-02-12)3501
"Ape Genius"February 19, 2008 (2008-02-19)3507
"The Four-Winged Dinosaur"February 26, 2008 (2008-02-26)3502
"Cracking the Maya Code"April 8, 2008 (2008-04-08)3508
"Car of the Future"April 22, 2008 (2008-04-22)3509
"A Walk to Beautiful"May 13, 2008 (2008-05-13)3506
"Lord of the Ants"May 20, 2008 (2008-05-20)3510

Season 36: 2008–2009

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Arctic Dinosaurs"October 7, 2008 (2008-10-07)3511
Trek through Alaska to explore how dinosaurs once thrived in polar regions.
"Space Shuttle Disaster"October 14, 2008 (2008-10-14)3512
"Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives"October 21, 2008 (2008-10-21)3513
"Hunting the Hidden Dimension"October 28, 2008 (2008-10-28)3514
You may not know it, but fractals, like the air you breathe, are all around you. Their irregular, repeating shapes are found in cloud formations and tree limbs, in stalks of broccoli and craggy mountain ranges, even in the rhythm of the human heart. In this film, NOVA takes viewers on a fascinating quest with a group of maverick mathematicians determined to decipher the rules that govern fractal geometry. For centuries, fractal-like irregular shapes were considered beyond the boundaries of mathematical understanding. Now, mathematicians have finally begun mapping this uncharted territory. Their remarkable findings are deepening our understanding of nature and stimulating a new wave of scientific, medical, and artistic innovation stretching from the ecology of the rainforest to fashion design. The documentary highlights a host of filmmakers, fashion designers, physicians, and researchers who are using fractal geometry to innovate and inspire.
"Alien from Earth"November 11, 2008 (2008-11-11)3515
"The Bible's Buried Secrets"November 18, 2008 (2008-11-18)3516
"Ocean Animal Emergency"November 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)3517
"Is There Life on Mars?"December 30, 2008 (2008-12-30)3518
"The Big Energy Gamble"January 20, 2009 (2009-01-20)3519
"The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies"January 27, 2009 (2009-01-27)3601
"The Spy Factory"February 3, 2009 (2009-02-03)3602
"Rat Attack"February 24, 2009 (2009-02-24)3603
"Extreme Ice"March 24, 2009 (2009-03-24)3604
"Last Extinction"March 31, 2009 (2009-03-31)3607
Also titled in re-broadcasts as "Megabeasts' Sudden Death".
"Doctors' Diaries, Part One"April 7, 2009 (2009-04-07)3608
"Doctors' Diaries, Part Two"April 14, 2009 (2009-04-14)3609
"Musical Minds"June 30, 2009 (2009-06-30)3610

Season 37: 2009–2010

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Darwin's Darkest Hour"October 6, 2009 (2009-10-06)3605–3606
"Hubble's Amazing Rescue"October 13, 2009 (2009-10-13)3611
"Lizard Kings"October 20, 2009 (2009-10-20)3616
"Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors: First Steps" (1 of 3)November 3, 2009 (2009-11-03)3613
"Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors: Birth of Humanity" (2 of 3)November 10, 2009 (2009-11-10)3614
"Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors: Last Human Standing" (3 of 3)November 17, 2009 (2009-11-17)3615
"What Are Dreams?"November 24, 2009 (2009-11-24)3612
(Co-produced by the BBC)
"What Darwin Never Knew"December 29, 2009 (2009-12-29)3617
"Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor"January 5, 2010 (2010-01-05)3701
"Building Pharaoh's Ship"January 12, 2010 (2010-01-12)3702
"Riddles of the Sphinx"January 19, 2010 (2010-01-19)3703
"Ghosts of Machu Picchu"February 2, 2010 (2010-02-02)3704
"Extreme Cave Diving"February 9, 2010 (2010-02-09)3705
"The Pluto Files"March 2, 2010 (2010-03-02)3706
"Hunting the Edge of Space: The Mystery of the Milky Way" (1 of 2)April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06)3708
"Hunting the Edge of Space: The Ever Expanding Universe" (2 of 2)April 13, 2010 (2010-04-13)3709
"Mind Over Money: How Human Psychology and Finance Interact"April 27, 2010 (2010-04-27)3707
"Mt. St. Helens: Back From The Dead"May 4, 2010 (2010-05-04)3710

Season 38: 2010–2011

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Building the Great Cathedrals"October 19, 2010 (2010-10-19)3711
"Emergency Mine Rescue"October 26, 2010 (2010-10-26)3712
This one-hour film chronicles the fate of the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed Chilean gold and copper mine in August 2010 and investigates the many challenges faced by both the miners and those working around the clock to bring them safely to the surface. NOVA was on-site at the San José mine in Chile by early September. Conferred special access, NOVA's film crew interviewed engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel, and key figures from the companies that provided drills and crucial rescue equipment to give a more detailed scientific account of the unfolding events. The resulting film, using footage from the scene as well as advanced animation, showcases the extraordinary feats of engineering as well as the biological and geological factors inherent in the rescue. "Emergency Mine Rescue" also examines the psychological and physiological impact of this kind of prolonged ordeal on the miners and those involved in the rescue efforts. Co-produced with Channel Four UK.
"Trapped in an Elevator"November 2, 2010 (2010-11-02)3713
"Dogs Decoded"November 9, 2010 (2010-11-09)3714
"Secrets of Stonehenge"November 16, 2010 (2010-11-16)3715
Stonehenge
"Quest for Solomon's Mines"November 23, 2010 (2010-11-23)3716
"Secrets Beneath the Ice"December 28, 2010 (2010-12-28)3717
"Deadliest Earthquakes"January 11, 2011 (2011-01-11)3801
The 2010 Haiti earthquake and 2010 Chile earthquake.
"Making Stuff: Stronger"[43] (1 of 4)January 19, 2011 (2011-01-19)3802
(Hosted by David Pogue)
"Making Stuff: Smaller" (2 of 4)January 26, 2011 (2011-01-26)3803
"Making Stuff: Cleaner" (3 of 4)February 2, 2011 (2011-02-02)3804
"Making Stuff: Smarter" (4 of 4)February 9, 2011 (2011-02-09)3805
"Smartest Machine on Earth"February 9, 2011 (2011-02-09)3806

Can IBM's Watson computer win on Jeopardy!?

"Crash of Flight 447"February 16, 2011 (2011-02-16)3807
"Venom: Nature's Killer"February 23, 2011 (2011-02-23)3808
"Japan's Killer Quake"March 30, 2011 (2011-03-30)[44]3810
"Power Surge"April 20, 2011 (2011-04-20)[45]3809

Season 39: 2011–2012

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Engineering Ground Zero"September 7, 2011 (2011-09-07)3811
"Surviving The Tsunami"September 28, 2011 (2011-09-28)3812
(Produced by NHK)
"Finding Life Beyond Earth"October 19, 2011 (2011-10-19)3813/3814
"Iceman Murder Mystery"October 26, 2011 (2011-10-26)3815
Ötzi the Iceman
"The Fabric of the Cosmos: What is Space?" (1 of 4)November 2, 2011 (2011-11-02)3816
"The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time" (2 of 4)November 9, 2011 (2011-11-09)3817
"The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap" (3 of 4)November 16, 2011 (2011-11-16)3818
"The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse?" (4 of 4)November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23)3819
"Deadliest Volcanoes"January 4, 2012 (2012-01-04)3901
"Bombing Hitler's Dams"January 11, 2012 (2012-01-11)3902
A recreation of Operation Chastise and the bouncing bomb, using a Buffalo Airways DC-4 airplane (C-FIQM). Counterpart to the UK documentary Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb, Canadian documentary Dambusters Fly Again, and Ice Pilots NWT season 3 episode 2 of the "Dambusters" show.[46][47][48][49][50][51]
"3D Spies of WWII"January 18, 2012 (2012-01-18)3903
Discusses the Allied aerial reconnaissance program, and how the usage of 3D imagery revealed much more information than ordinary photographs would have, mostly in relation to the V-weapons.
"Mystery of a Masterpiece"January 25, 2012 (2012-01-25)3904
"Ice Age Death Trap"February 1, 2012 (2012-02-01)3905
"Separating Twins"February 8, 2012 (2012-02-08)3908
This is the incredible story of Trishna and Krishna, twin girls born joined at the head. Abandoned shortly after birth at an orphanage in Bangladesh, they had little chance of survival, until they were saved and taken to Melbourne, Australia by an aid worker. After two years battling for life, the twins are ready for a series of delicate operations that will prepare them for the ultimate challenge: a marathon separation surgery that will allow them to live truly separate lives. Since the beginning, surgeons knew there was no guarantee of survival for either of the girls—but without surgery there was no hope at all. With exclusive access to this extraordinary human and medical drama, our cameras have been with Trishna and Krishna and their caregivers at each moment of their journey.
"Cracking Your Genetic Code"March 28, 2012 (2012-03-28)3909
"Hunting the Elements"April 4, 2012 (2012-04-04)3906
"Deadliest Tornadoes"April 11, 2012 (2012-04-11)3910
"Why Ships Sink"April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18)3911
Twenty million passengers embark on cruises each year, vacationing in deluxe "floating cities" that offer everything from swimming pools to shopping malls to ice rinks. And the ships just keep getting bigger: The average cruise ship has doubled in size in just the last ten years. Some engineers fear that these towering behemoths are dangerously unstable, and the recent tragedy of the Costa Concordia has raised new questions about their safety. Now, NOVA brings together marine engineering and safety experts to reconstruct the events that led up to infamous cruise disasters, including the ill-fated Concordia, the Sea Diamond, and the Oceanos.
"Secrets of the Sun"April 25, 2012 (2012-04-25)3907

Season 40: 2012–2013

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Secrets of the Viking Sword"October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10)3913
An ancient Viking sword contains metallurgy unrivaled for its time. This episode looks at its unique properties and possible origins.
"Forensics on Trial"October 17, 2012 (2012-10-17)3912
"Mystery of Easter Island"November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)3914
Easter Island
"Ultimate Mars Challenge"November 14, 2012 (2012-11-14)3915
"Inside the Megastorm"November 18, 2012 (2012-11-18)3916
A look at Hurricane Sandy and ways to prepare for future hurricane disasters
"Doomsday Volcanoes"January 2, 2013 (2013-01-02)4001
"Decoding Neanderthals"January 9, 2013 (2013-01-09)4002
Neanderthals
"Rise of the Drones"January 23, 2013 (2013-01-23)4003
Drones
"Who Killed Lindbergh's Baby"January 30, 2013 (2013-01-30)4004
Lindbergh kidnapping
"Building Pharaoh's Chariot"February 6, 2013 (2013-02-06)4005
"Earth from Space"February 13, 2013 (2013-02-13)4006
"Mind of a Rampage Killer"February 20, 2013 (2013-02-20)4008
"Meteor Strike"March 27, 2013 (2013-03-27)4013
"Ancient Computer"April 3, 2013 (2013-04-03)4007
"Australia's First 4 Billion Years" (1 of 4)April 10, 2013 (2013-04-10)4009
(Co-Produced with the Australian Broadcasting Corp)
"Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Life Explodes" (2 of 4)April 17, 2013 (2013-04-17)4010
"Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Monsters" (3 of 4)April 24, 2013 (2013-04-24)4011
"Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Strange Creatures" (4 of 4)May 1, 2013 (2013-05-01)4012
"Manhunt – Boston Bombers"May 29, 2013 (2013-05-29)4014
"Oklahoma's Deadliest Tornadoes"May 29, 2013 (2013-05-29)4015

Season 41: 2013–2014

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Ground Zero Supertower"September 11, 2013 (2013-09-11)4016
"Megastorm Aftermath"October 9, 2013 (2013-10-09)4017
"Making Stuff Faster"October 16, 2013 (2013-10-16)4018
"Making Stuff Wilder"October 23, 2013 (2013-10-23)4019
"Making Stuff Colder"October 30, 2013 (2013-10-30)4020
"Making Stuff Safer"November 6, 2013 (2013-11-06)4021
"Cold Case JFK"November 13, 2013 (2013-11-13)4022
"At the Edge of Space"November 20, 2013 (2013-11-20)4023
"Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?"November 20, 2013 (2013-11-20)4024
"Alien Planets Revealed"January 8, 2014 (2014-01-08)4101
"Zeppelin Terror Attack"January 15, 2014 (2014-01-15)4102
"Killer Typhoon"January 22, 2014 (2014-01-22)4106
"Ghosts Of Murdered Kings"January 29, 2014 (2014-01-29)4103
"Roman Catacomb Mystery"February 5, 2014 (2014-02-05)4104
"Great Cathedral Mystery"February 12, 2014 (2014-02-12)4105
"Wild Predator Invasion"April 2, 2014 (2014-04-02)4107
"Inside Animal Minds: Bird Genius"April 9, 2014 (2014-04-09)4108
"Inside Animal Minds: Dogs & Super Senses"April 16, 2014 (2014-04-16)4109
"Inside Animal Minds: Who's the Smartest?"April 23, 2014 (2014-04-23)4110
"Why Sharks Attack"May 7, 2014 (2014-05-07)4111
"Escape From Nazi Alcatraz"May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14)4112
"D-Day's Sunken Secrets"May 28, 2014 (2014-05-28)4113

Season 42: 2014–2015

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Vaccines—Calling The Shots"September 10, 2014 (2014-09-10)4114
Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. This episode travels the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.
"Rise of the Hackers"September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24)4115
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank, and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious—and cybercriminals want it. Now, NOVA goes behind-the-scenes of the fast-paced world of cryptography to meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe. They are experts in extreme physics, math, and a new field called "ultra-paranoid computing", all working to forge unbreakable codes and build ultra-fast computers. From the sleuths who decoded the world's most advanced cyber weapon to scientists who believe they can store a password in your unconscious brain, NOVA investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science, all to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
"Why Planes Vanish"October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08)4116

Renarrated version of the BBC Horizon episode, "Where's The Flight MH370?" Narrated by the PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien.

This NOVA programme traces the timeline of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a commercial flight which disappeared on 8 March 2014 without any tangible evidence left behind. The episode explores the technologies behind the tracking of aircraft, possible causes for Flight 370's disappearance, and technologies that would prevent another aircraft from disappearing.[52][53]
"Surviving Ebola"October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08)4123
Explores the spread of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa which began in December 2013; the discovery and pathology of the Ebola virus; and the development and use of ZMapp, an experimental drug for the Ebola virus which was first administered to humans infected during the outbreak. A man infected with the virus and whose story featured during the last few minutes of the program died on the day it first aired.[54]
"Ben Franklin's Balloons"October 22, 2014 (2014-10-22)4117
The first stage in human flight didn't begin with the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, but with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th century Paris. In a period of just 19 months, humanity not only left the ground for the first time—a moment as significant as the Apollo moon landing—but thanks to a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers, developed all the essential features of today's hot air and gas balloons. Their exploits fascinated Benjamin Franklin, who was serving in Paris as the American ambassador. He reported that these early flights brought tens of thousands of citizens into the streets to watch the spectacle. To explore this burst of innovation, NOVA recreates key flights, including the world's first manned voyage that took place on 21 November 1783. Joining the team will be a descendant of the Montgolfier brothers, inventors of the hot-air balloon, who will build an accurate replica of the fragile paper and canvas craft using 18th century tools and materials. NOVA reveals the secrets of how the Montgolfiers invented flight and relives the experiences of the balloon pioneers who left Earth for the first time.[55]
"First Air War"October 29, 2014 (2014-10-29)4118
When World War I began in 1914, the air forces of the opposing nations consisted of handfuls of rickety biplanes from which pilots occasionally took potshots at one another with rifles. By the war's end, the essential blueprint of the modern fighter had emerged: it was now an efficient killing machine that limited the average life expectancy of a frontline pilot to just a few weeks. To trace the story of this astonishingly rapid technological revolution, NOVA takes viewers inside The Vintage Aviator, a New Zealand-based outfit of aviation buffs dedicated to bringing back classic World War I fighters such as the SE5A and Albatros D.V. NOVA joins the team as they discover the secrets of some of aviation's most colorful and deadly early flying machines and explores how their impact played a key role in the nightmarish slaughter on the Western Front.[56]
"Bigger Than T. rex"November 5, 2014 (2014-11-05)4119
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to roam the Earth: spectacular fossil bones from a dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus. But the fossils were completely destroyed during a World War II Allied bombing raid, leaving only drawings, questions, and a mystery: What was Spinosaurus? Now, the discovery of new bones in a Moroccan cliff face is reopening the investigation into this epic beast. What did it feed on and how? Why did it grow so big? We follow the paleontologists who are reconstructing this terrifying carnivore, revealing a 53-foot-long behemoth with a huge dorsal sail, enormous, scimitar-like claws, and massive jaws tapered toward the front like a crocodile. Bringing together experts in paleontology, geology, climatology and paleobotany, this NOVA/National Geographic special brings to life the lost world over which Spinosaurus reigned more than 65 million years ago.
"Emperor's Ghost Army"November 12, 2014 (2014-11-12)4120
In central China, a vast underground mausoleum conceals a life-size terracotta army of cavalry, infantry, horses, chariots, weapons, administrators, acrobats, and musicians, all built to serve China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, in the afterlife. Lost and forgotten for over 2,200 years, this clay army, 8,000 strong, stands poised to help the First Emperor rule again beyond the grave. Now, a new archaeological campaign is probing the thousands of figures entombed in the mausoleum. With exclusive access to pioneering research, this program reveals how the Emperor directed the manufacture of the tens of thousands of bronze weapons carried by the clay soldiers, as well as lethal crossbows engineered with astonishing precision. NOVA tests the power of these weapons with high-action experiments and reports on revolutionary 3D computer modeling techniques that are revealing new insights into how the clay figures were made. The program reveals the secrets of one of archaeology's greatest discoveries and brings to life the startlingly sophisticated world of Qin's legendary empire.[57]
"Killer Landslides"November 19, 2014 (2014-11-19)4121
Just before 11 a.m. on 22 March 2014, an ominous rumble startled the residents of the community of Oso, Washington, about an hour's drive from Seattle. It was the terrifying sound of what would become the United States' deadliest landslide in decades. The equivalent of one million dump truck loads of earth came plummeting down the valley. In a little over two minutes, a pile of debris up to 75 feet deep slammed into the neighborhood of close to 50 homes. While a massive search and rescue effort continues at the site, geologists are tracing the geological history of Oso to explain why the site was so unstable. But all around the world, scientists have reason to fear that the worst is yet to come. Globally, landslides and other ground failures take a tremendous human and economic toll, and with climate change bringing a sharp rise in intense precipitation events in many countries, the threat of bigger, more frequent landslides, like one that buried at least 350 people in Afghanistan this spring, is growing. In the Himalayas, the threat of devastating landslides is always lurking. As NOVA surveys landslide danger zones, discover how and why landslides happen, and how radar monitoring technologies could help predict landslides and issue life-saving warnings.[58]
"First Man on the Moon"December 3, 2014 (2014-12-03)4122
Everyone knows Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon. But this modest and unassuming man was determined to stay out of the spotlight. Now, for the first time, NOVA presents an intimate portrait of Armstrong through interviews with his family and friends, many of whom have never spoken publicly before. Discover and relive Armstrong's achievements before and after Apollo, from his time as a Navy combat veteran and later as a pioneer of high-speed flight to his leading role in the inquiry into the Challenger disaster and his efforts to encourage young people to take to the skies. Along the way, we learn how Armstrong's life became the inspiring story of heroic risk-taking and humble dedication that ultimately advanced humanity's adventure in space.[59]
"Big Bang Machine"January 14, 2015 (2015-01-14)4201
On 4 July 2012, scientists at the giant atom smashing facility at CERN announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that seems like a tantalizingly close match to the elusive Higgs Boson, thought to be responsible for giving all the stuff in the universe its mass. Since it was first proposed nearly fifty years ago, the Higgs has been the holy grail of particle physicists: in finding it they validate the "standard model" that underlies all of modern physics and open the door to new discoveries when CERN's giant collider switches on at higher power in 2015.[60]
"Sunken Ship Rescue"January 21, 2015 (2015-01-21)4202
Follow the epic operation to secure, raise, and salvage the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which ran aground and tragically capsized off the coast of Italy on 13 January 2012, killing 32 people. The massive wreck—with a 160-foot-long hole in its hull—stretches the length of three football fields, weighs 45,000 tons, and was half submerged on the site of a protected reef. Moving it from its precarious perch on the edge of an underwater cliff turned into a technical and logistical challenge of staggering proportions. Join NOVA as we follow a team of more than 500 divers and engineers working around the clock as they attempt the biggest ship recovery project in history.[61]
"Sinkholes: Buried Alive"January 28, 2015 (2015-01-28)4203
In a leafy suburb near Tampa, Florida, on 28 February 2013, a giant hole opened up under the bedroom floor of Jeffrey Bush, swallowing him as he slept. His body was never found. Bush was a victim of a sinkhole—a worldwide hazard that lurks wherever limestone and other water-soluble rocks underpin the soil. When carbon dioxide from the air dissolves in rainwater, it forms a weak acid that attacks soft rocks, riddling them with holes like Swiss cheese. Sinkholes can occur gradually when the surface subsides into bowl-shaped depressions or suddenly when the ground gives way. These geological hazards have swallowed highways, apartment buildings, horses, camels, even golfers, with monstrously large holes cracking the earth from Siberia to Louisiana. Filled with compelling eyewitness videos of dramatic collapses, and following scientists as they explore the underlying forces behind these natural disasters, NOVA travels the globe to investigate what it's like to have your world vanish beneath your feet.[62]
"Colosseum: Roman Death Trap"February 11, 2015 (2015-02-11)4206
One of the ancient world's most iconic buildings, the Colosseum is a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Its graceful lines and harmonious proportions concealed a highly efficient design and advanced construction methods that made hundreds of arches out of 100,000 tons of stone. In its elliptical arena, tens of thousands of gladiators, slaves, prisoners, and wild animals met their deaths. Ancient texts report lions and elephants emerging from beneath the floor, as if by magic, to ravage gladiators and people condemned to death. Then, just as quickly, the Colosseum could be flooded with so much water that ships could engage in sea battles to the delight of the crowd. Now, archaeologists and engineers are teaming up to recreate a 25-foot lifting machine and trapdoor system capable of releasing a wolf into the Colosseum's arena for the first time in 1,500 years. Do they have what it takes to replicate the innovation and ingenuity of the Romans?[63]
"Petra: Lost City of Stone"February 18, 2015 (2015-02-18)4205
More than 2,000 years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants whose camel caravans transported incense and spices from the Persian Gulf. They carved spectacular temple-tombs into its soaring cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple at its heart, and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains, and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra's unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly a thousand years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone. Meanwhile, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes uncover the vast city and its sophisticated water system. The race is on to discover how these nomads created this oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on Earth.[64]
"Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Mystery"February 25, 2015 (2015-02-25)4204
Whether serving as a Christian church, an Islamic mosque, or a secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its soaring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world—the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its dome with room to spare. How has it survived its location on one of the world's most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since it was built in 537? As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is urgently investigating Hagia Sophia's seismic secrets. Follow engineers as they build a massive 8-ton model of the building's core structure, place it on a motorized shake table, and hit it with a series of simulated quakes, pushing it to collapse—a fate that the team is determined to avoid with the real building.[65]
"The Great Math Mystery"April 15, 2015 (2015-04-15)4207
Join NOVA on a mathematical mystery tour—a provocative exploration of math's astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math's signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond. It all leads to the ultimate riddle: Is math a human invention or the discovery of the language of the universe?[66]
"Invisible Universe Revealed"April 22, 2015 (2015-04-22)4208
Twenty-five years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble's landmark anniversary, NOVA tells the remarkable story of the telescope that forever changed our understanding of the cosmos. But Hubble's early days nearly doomed it to failure: a one-millimeter engineering blunder had turned the billion-dollar telescope into an object of ridicule. It fell to five heroic astronauts in a daring mission to return Hubble to the cutting edge of science. This single telescope has helped astronomers pinpoint the age of the universe, revealed the birthplace of stars and planets, advanced our understanding of dark energy and cosmic expansion, and uncovered black holes lurking at the heart of galaxies. Join NOVA for the story of this magnificent machine and its astonishing discoveries.[67]
"Nazi Attack on America"May 6, 2015 (2015-05-06)4210
Long before 9/11, a far deadlier, little-known attack from the ocean depths struck our shores, lasting three-and-a-half years and claiming 5,000 lives. Now, famed undersea explorer Bob Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, investigates the wreck of one of the attack craft, a German submarine that lies at the bottom of the gulf just a few miles off New Orleans. U-166 was part of Operation Drumbeat, a highly successful U-boat operation that caught East Coast cities and shipping almost completely unprepared. With state-of-the-art survey gear Ballard probes the wreck and explores a dramatic mystery in the official story of the sub's sinking.[68]
"Lethal Seas"May 13, 2015 (2015-05-13)4211
A deadly recipe is brewing that threatens the survival of countless creatures throughout Earth's oceans. For years, we've known that the oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But with high carbon emissions worldwide, this silent killer is entering our seas at a staggering rate, raising the ocean's acidity. It's eating away at the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that are the foundation of the web of life. NOVA follows the scientists making breakthrough discoveries and seeking solutions. Visit a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that offers a glimpse of what the seas could be like a half-century from now. Can our experts crack the code of a rapidly changing ocean before it's too late?[69]
"Chasing Pluto"July 15, 2015 (2015-07-15)4213
On 14 July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, one of the most advanced ever built, is scheduled to fly by Pluto to take the very first detailed images of the dwarf planet. After nine years and 3 billion miles, we will finally get a close look at this strange, icy world, but only if the craft can survive the final, treacherous leg of its journey, which could take it through a dangerous field of debris. If it does, New Horizons is poised to make dramatic new discoveries, not just about Pluto, but about the vast realm of icy bodies lurking beyond Neptune, relics of the earliest days of the solar system's formation. Back on Earth, the planetary scientists who have spent decades working on this mission anxiously await a signal from their spacecraft. Our cameras will be there to witness the moment. If all goes well, we'll see Pluto's mysterious surface in unprecedented detail and learn new secrets about other alien worlds at the far limits of our solar system.[70]
"Nuclear Meltdown Disaster"July 29, 2015 (2015-07-29)4214
NOVA reveals the minute-by-minute story of the Fukushima nuclear crisis—the one you know about, and the one you likely don't: the perilously close call at the other Fukushima nuclear power plant a few miles away from the meltdowns. With unprecedented access inside both Fukushima nuclear power plants, NOVA speaks with workers who were there during the harrowing days—a crisis that began as a natural disaster but was made worse by human beings. But why did the worst happen at one plant while another that faced nearly identical challenges emerged unscathed? It may come down to the skill and knowledge of one man, who has worked there since they started construction. These are crucial questions as the company that runs both plants, TEPCO, tries to clean up an unprecedented radioactive mess and reintroduce nuclear power to Japan.[71]

Season 43: 2015–2016

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Dawn of Humanity"September 16, 2015 (2015-09-16)4209/4215
The astounding discovery of ancient fossils of human ancestors in a South African cave is highlighted.
"Arctic Ghost Ship"September 23, 2015 (2015-09-23)4216
The Franklin Expedition is explored 160 years after vanishing while charting the Northwest Passage.
"Secrets of Noah's Ark"[72]October 7, 2015 (2015-10-07)4212
A 3,700-year-old inscribed clay tablet reveals a surprising new version of the Biblical flood story.
"Cyberwar Threat"October 14, 2015 (2015-10-14)4217
Thanks in part to the documents released by Edward Snowden, the true scale of the National Security Agency's scope and power is coming to light. Besides spending billions to ingest and analyze the world's electronic communications, the NSA has set out to dominate a new battlefield – cyberspace. NOVA examines the science and technology behind cyber warfare and asks if we are already in the midst of a deadly new arms race.
"Animal Mummies"October 28, 2015 (2015-10-28)4219
Hi-tech images reveal the role of animal mummies in ancient Egyptian beliefs.
"Making North America: Origins" (1 of 3)November 4, 2015 (2015-11-04)4220
This unprecedented, 3-part miniseries presents a bold and sweeping biography of our homeland.
"Making North America: Life" (2 of 3)November 11, 2015 (2015-11-11)4221
This unprecedented, 3-part miniseries presents a bold and sweeping biography of our homeland.
"Making North America: Human" (3 of 3)November 18, 2015 (2015-11-18)4222
This unprecedented, 3-part miniseries presents a bold and sweeping biography of our homeland.
"Inside Einstein's Mind"November 25, 2015 (2015-11-25)4223
Einstein's simple but powerful ideas that reshaped our understanding of gravity are examined.
"Secret Tunnel Warfare"January 6, 2016 (2016-01-06)4301
During WWI, the Allies devised a devastating plan, planting 600 tons of explosives in secret tunnels driven under German trenches. Uncover traces of the operation and learn why it failed to break the lethal deadlock of trench warfare.
"Life's Rocky Start"January 13, 2016 (2016-01-13)4302
From the first sparks of life to the survival of the fittest, unearth the secret relationship between rocks and life. Investigate how minerals are vital to the origins and evolution of life.
"Mystery Beneath the Ice"January 20, 2016 (2016-01-20)4303
Dive under the ice to explore Antarctica's under-ice landscape with a team of scientists as they search for the mystery killer that's decimating the population of delicate shrimp-like creatures at the foundation of the Antarctic food chain.
"Himalayan Megaquake"January 27, 2016 (2016-01-27)4304
NOVA documents the 25 April 2015 7.8-magnitude earthquake that ripped through Nepal shaking Mount Everest and unwraps the science behind such deadly earthquakes.[73]
"Creatures of Light"February 3, 2016 (2016-02-03)4309
Take a dazzling dive with NOVA and National Geographic to explore how and why so many of the ocean's creatures light up-revealing a hidden undersea world where creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer or simply glow.
"Memory Hackers"February 10, 2016 (2016-02-10)4307
Explore the secrets of the mind to discover how memories can be implanted, changed and even erased.
"Iceman Reborn"February 17, 2016 (2016-02-17)4305
New revelations about the ancient ice mummy, Otzi, shed light on the dawn of civilization in Europe.
"Rise of the Robots"February 24, 2016 (2016-02-24)4306
Join the race to build the most advanced humanoid robots as they battle real-world challenges.
"Vikings Unearthed"April 6, 2016 (2016-04-06)4310
Search for the truth behind the legends of the Vikings and their epic journey to the Americas. Co-production with the BBC, first aired in the UK on 4 April 2016, as the title "Vikings Uncovered".[74]
"Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped?"[75]April 13, 2016 (2016-04-13)4308
Join investigators as they untangle the cause of Alzheimer's and race to develop a cure.
"Wild Ways"April 20, 2016 (2016-04-20)4311
Explore how newly-established wildlife corridors offer hope to our planet's endangered species.[76]
"Operation Lighthouse Rescue"May 4, 2016 (2016-05-04)4313
Join engineers as they race to rescue a historic Martha's Vineyard lighthouse from certain doom.
"Bombing Hitler's Supergun"May 11, 2016 (2016-05-11)4314
Join NOVA as engineers, archaeologists and WWII historians investigate this fearsome weapon. And discover the two audacious missions designed to destroy the seemingly impregnable supergun complex.[77]

Season 44: 2016–2017

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"15 Years of Terror"[78]September 7, 2016 (2016-09-07)4316
From 9/11 to today's crowd-sourced violence, trace how terrorists’ strategies have evolved.
"School of the Future"[79]September 14, 2016 (2016-09-14)4315
How can the science of learning help us rethink the future of education for all children?
"Great Human Odyssey"[81]October 5, 2016 (2016-10-05)4312
Scientists are using archaeological and cultural findings to map human exodus from Africa.[80]
"Super Tunnel"October 12, 2016 (2016-10-12)4317
Engineers and designers building Crossrail, a subterranean railway in London.[82]
"Treasures of the Earth: Gems"[83] (1 of 3)November 2, 2016 (2016-11-02)4318
Precious gems such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opal, and jade are the ultimate treasures of the earth.
"Treasures of the Earth: Metals"[84] (2 of 3)November 9, 2016 (2016-11-09)4319
Metals such as gold, copper, tin, and steel are treasures of the earth.
"Treasures of the Earth: Power" (3 of 3)November 16, 2016 (2016-11-16)4320
[85]
"Secrets of the Sky Tombs"January 4, 2017 (2017-01-04)4401
"The Nuclear Option"January 11, 2017 (2017-01-11)4402
"Search for the Super Battery"February 1, 2017 (2017-02-01)4403
"Ultimate Cruise Ship"February 8, 2017 (2017-02-08)4404
"The Origami Revolution"February 15, 2017 (2017-02-15)4405
"Why Trains Crash"February 22, 2017 (2017-02-22)4406
A look at several recent train crashes.[86]
"Holocaust Escape Tunnel"April 19, 2017 (2017-04-19)4407
Lithuanian city of Vilnius was one of the most important Jewish center in the world.[87]
"Building Chernobyl's MegaTomb"April 26, 2017 (2017-04-26)4408
Engineers race to construct a gargantuan dome to contain radioactive materials of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.[88]
"Chinese Chariot Revealed"May 17, 2017 (2017-05-17)4409
Experts reconstruct and test China's first chariot.[89]
"Poisoned Water"May 31, 2017 (2017-05-31)4410
Investigates the water disaster in Flint, Michigan.[90]

Season 45: 2017–2018

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Eclipse Over America"August 21, 2017 (2017-08-21)4411
Americans witness the solar eclipse on 21 August 2017.[91]
"Death Dive to Saturn"September 13, 2017 (2017-09-13)4412
The Cassini space probe attempts to dive between the innermost ring and top of Saturn's atmosphere.
"Secrets of the Shining Knight"October 4, 2017 (2017-10-04)4413
A look at how medieval armour would have been constructed, and how it affected the way knights fought. Based on a reconstruction of modern Greenwich armour.
"Ghosts of Stonehenge"October 11, 2017 (2017-10-11)4414
Archaeological digs reveal new clues as to who built Stonehenge and why.
"Secrets of the Forbidden City"October 18, 2017 (2017-10-18)4415
The architectural design of Beijing's ancient complex of palaces and temples enabled it to survive centuries of earthquake shocks.
"Killer Volcanoes"October 25, 2017 (2017-10-25)4416
The hunt for a volcanic mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze includes geologic evidence from Greenland to Antarctica.
"Killer Hurricanes"November 1, 2017 (2017-11-01)4417
Devastating hurricanes struck the U.S. mainland and Caribbean islands in 2017. But they weren't the first. The Great Hurricane of 1780 took nine days to blast its way across the Caribbean, killing at least 20,000—the highest known death toll of any single weather event in history. What made this superstorm so deadly?
"Killer Floods"November 8, 2017 (2017-11-08)4418
Efforts to uncover the geologic footprints of colossal megafloods in Iceland and on the seabed of the English Channel.
"Extreme Animal Weapons"November 22, 2017 (2017-11-22)4419
Why some animals have extreme armaments, including claws, horns, fangs and stings.
"Bird Brain"December 20, 2017 (2017-12-20)4420
Scientists test avian aptitude with brainteasers that reveal acute intelligence.
"Day The Dinosaurs Died"December 27, 2017 (2017-12-27)4421
Scientists discover new clues as to the catastrophe that ended the reign of the dinosaurs on Earth.
"Black Hole Apocalypse"[92][93]June 12, 2017 (2017-06-12) or January 10, 2018 (2018-01-10)4501
"Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the most powerful, with gravity so strong it can actually trap light. And they’re destructive. Anything that falls into them vanishes…gone forever. But now, astrophysicists are realizing that black holes may be essential to understanding how our universe unfolded—possibly leading to life on Earth and us." – Original airing was with "Black Hole Universe" as a 2-hour combined episode.
"Black Hole Universe"January 10, 2018 (2018-01-10)4502
Second hour of the combined "Black Hole Apocalypse".
"The Impossible Flight"[94][95]January 3, 2018 (2018-01-03) or January 31, 2018 (2018-01-31)4503
On 9 March 2015, Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi on one of the greatest aviation adventures of our time: the first solar-powered flight around the world. Together with a team of brilliant engineers, two visionary pilots—Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg—designed and built Solar Impulse from scratch, even though top airplane manufacturers told them it would be "impossible to control." To pull it off, they had to re-invent everything, from innovative solar cells and batteries to massive carbon-fiber wings. Despite all their efforts, the performance of the plane was balanced on a knife-edge, demanding near-perfect weather conditions and hour after hour of vigilant, skillful piloting. The longest nonstop leg, from Japan to Hawaii, lasted five days and set a new world solo flight record. NOVA captures an insider's view of the Solar Impulse pilots and ground team as they experience moments of hair-raising crisis, remarkable endurance, and ingenious problem-solving.
"First Face of America"February 7, 2018 (2018-02-07)4504
The remains of a 13,000-year-old skeleton of a prehistoric teenager are located in an underwater cave in Mexico.
"Great Escape at Dunkirk"February 14, 2018 (2018-02-14)4505
Archaeologists and divers recover remains of ships and planes that were lost in Dunkirk, France, during World War II.
"Prediction by the Numbers"February 28, 2018 (2018-02-28)4506
With the growth of digital technology and the internet, the science of forecasting is flourishing. From sports to the morning commute, predictions underlie nearly every aspect of daily life, but not all predictions come true.
"Decoding the Weather Machine"April 18, 2018 (2018-04-18)4507
Scientists around the world strive for a better understanding of the workings of the weather and climate machine known as Earth.
"NOVA Wonders: What Are Animals Saying?"April 25, 2018 (2018-04-25)NOWO 101
"NOVA Wonders: What's Living in You?"May 2, 2018 (2018-05-02)NOWO 102
"NOVA Wonders: Are We Alone?"May 9, 2018 (2018-05-09)NOWO 103
"NOVA Wonders: Can We Build a Brain?"May 16, 2018 (2018-05-16)NOWO 104
"NOVA Wonders: Can We Make Life?"May 23, 2018 (2018-05-23)NOWO 105
"NOVA Wonders: What's The Universe Made Of?"[96][97]May 30, 2018 (2018-05-30)45106 or NOWO 106
The universe is hiding something. In fact, it is hiding a lot. Everything we experience on Earth, the stars and galaxies we see in the cosmos—all the "normal" matter and energy that we understand—make up only 5% of the known universe. The other 95% is made up of two mysterious components: “dark matter” and “dark energy.” We can’t see them, but we know they’re there. And what’s more—these two shadowy ingredients are locked in an epic battle to control the very fate of the universe. Now, scientists are trying to shed light on the so-called “dark sector” as the latest generation of detectors rev up, and powerful telescopes peer deeper into space than ever before to observe how it behaves. Will the discoveries help reveal how galaxies formed? In the series finale, NOVA Wonders journeys to the stars and back to investigate what we know—and don’t know. Find out how scientists are discovering new secrets about the history of the universe, and why they’re predicting a shocking future.
"Rise of the Superstorms"June 27, 2018 (2018-06-27)4508
The 2017 hurricane season brings devastation to Houston and throughout the Caribbean.
"Apollo's Daring Mission"[98][99][100]December 26, 2018 (2018-12-26)4518
Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to (orbit) the moon. The U.S. space program suffered a bitter setback when Apollo 1 ended in a deadly fire during a pre-launch run-through. In disarray, and threatened by the prospect of a Soviet Union victory in the space race, NASA decided upon a radical and risky change of plan: turn Apollo 8 from an earth-orbit mission into a daring sprint to the moon while relying on untried new technologies. Fifty years after the historic mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers recount the feats of engineering that paved the way to the moon.

Season 46: 2018–2019

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Transplanting Hope"September 26, 2018 (2018-09-26)4509
NOVA takes you inside the operating room to witness organ transplant teams transferring organs from donors to recipients.
"Operation Bridge Rescue"October 3, 2018 (2018-10-03)4516
Follow the race to rebuild the Old Blenheim Bridge in New York State, an icon of 19th-century American engineering, destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
"Volatile Earth: Volcano on Fire" (1 of 2)October 10, 2018 (2018-10-10)4510
Climb up the cone of Nyiragongo, one of the world's least studied volcanoes, and join volcanologists as they descend into its crater, down towards its bubbling and seething lava lake, to discover when it will erupt next.
"Volatile Earth: Volcano on the Brink" (2 of 2)October 10, 2018 (2018-10-10)4511
Join a team of volcanologists as they explore Nyamuragira, one of the world's most active and mysterious volcanoes in central Africa. Learn what feeds its frequent eruptions and see the region's other hidden, life-threatening volcanic dangers.
"Addiction"October 17, 2018 (2018-10-17)4512
Discover how opioid addiction affects the brain and how evidence-based treatments are saving lives.
"Flying Supersonic"[101]October 24, 2018 (2018-10-24)4513
Discover the feats of engineering and design that made the Concorde the first supersonic airliner.
"Last B-24"[102]November 7, 2018 (2018-11-07)4515
Dive beneath the sea to the wreckage of a WWII bomber. Search for the remains of its fallen crew.
"Thai Cave Rescue"[103]November 14, 2018 (2018-11-14)4514
Follow the harrowing 2018 operation to rescue 12 boys stranded in the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand.
"World's Fastest Animal"[104]November 21, 2018 (2018-11-21)4517
See the world through the eyes of nature's fastest animal: the peregrine falcon.
"Pluto and Beyond"[106][107]January 2, 2019 (2019-01-02)4601
The New Horizons spacecraft attempts to fly by 486958 Arrokoth (2014 MU69), a mysterious object that NASA nicknamed Ultima Thule. NOVA is embedded with the spacecraft mission team, following the action in real-time as they uncover the secrets of what lies beyond Pluto. The episode ends after New Horizons successful flyby, ending with an image of Ultima Thule captured by the probe.[105] The 2015 NOVA episode "Chasing Pluto" was about this spacecraft and its Pluto approach.
"Einstein's Quantum Riddle"[108][109]January 9, 2019 (2019-01-09)4602
Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance," but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology from computers to cryptography. Physicists have gradually become convinced that the phenomenon—two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance—is real. But a few doubts remain. NOVA follows a ground-breaking experiment in the Canary Islands to use quasars at opposite ends of the universe to once and for all settle remaining questions.
"Kīlauea: Hawaiʻi on Fire"[110][111]January 23, 2019 (2019-01-23)4603
Scientists investigate Kilauea's spike in activity and May 2018 eruption.
"Decoding the Great Pyramid"[112][113]February 6, 2019 (2019-02-06)4604
The latest archeological research that has transformed our understanding about the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, including the logbook of a labor team that transported limestone blocks and a "lost city" that revealed intimate details of the lives of the laborers and officials.
"Rise of the Rockets"[114][115]February 13, 2019 (2019-02-13)4605
NOVA explores the latest rocket technologies of NASA and private companies and explores the growing role that private citizens may have in space.
"The Next Pompeii"[116][117]February 20, 2019 (2019-02-20)4606
Near Mount Vesuvius, the lesser-known Campi Flegrei volcano rumbles. The nearby city of Naples has millions of residents potentially at risk by an eruption. Can an innovative eruption warning system prevent Naples from becoming the next Pompeii?
"Saving the Dead Sea"[118][119]April 24, 2019 (2019-04-24)4607
Can the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance desalination pipeline revive the Dead Sea without altering its unique chemistry?
"Inside the Megafire"[120][121]May 8, 2019 (2019-05-08)4608
Scientists investigate what was behind the deadly megafires that swept through California in 2018.
"First Horse Warriors"[122][123]May 15, 2019 (2019-05-15)4609
The advent of horse riding changed the course of human history and the genetic makeup of humankind.
"Lost Viking Army"[124][125]May 22, 2019 (2019-05-22)4610
Bioarchaeologists investigate a ninth-century mass grave thought to hold a lost Viking army.
"Back to the Moon"[126][127]July 10, 2019 (2019-07-10)4611
Fifty years after humans first set foot on the Moon, new scientific discoveries are fueling excitement for a return to the lunar surface—this time, perhaps, to stay.
"The Planets: Inner Worlds"[128][129]July 24, 2019 (2019-07-24)4612
The rocky planets have similar origins, but only one supports life. Was it always this way?
"The Planets: Mars"[130][131]July 24, 2019 (2019-07-24)4613
Before it was a dry planet, Mars was a wet world that may have hosted life.
"The Planets: Jupiter"[132][133]July 31, 2019 (2019-07-31)4614
Jupiter's massive gravitational force has made it both a wrecking ball and a protector of Earth.
"The Planets: Saturn"[134][135]August 7, 2019 (2019-08-07)4615
NASA's Cassini reveals the mysteries of Saturn's rings—and new hope for life on one of its moons.
"The Planets: Ice Worlds"[136][137]August 14, 2019 (2019-08-14)4616
Beyond the bizarre, icy worlds of Uranus and Neptune, Pluto dazzles with its mysterious ocean.
"Rise of the Mammals"[138][139]October 30, 2019 (2019-10-30)4617
Amazing fossils reveal how mammals took over after the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid.
"Why Bridges Collapse"[140][141]October 16, 2019 (2019-10-16)4618
Investigate deadly bridge collapses and how new engineering techniques can make bridges safer.
"Look Who's Driving"[142][143]October 23, 2019 (2019-10-23)4619
Self-driving cars may one day be big business, but will they ever be safer than human drivers?
"Dead Sea Scroll Detectives"[144][145]November 6, 2019 (2019-11-06)4620
New technologies help unravel mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls—and uncover million-dollar fakes.
"Decoding da Vinci"[146][147]November 13, 2019 (2019-11-13)4621
Discover the science behind Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces—and Mona Lisa's legendary smile.
"The Violence Paradox"[148][149]November 20, 2019 (2019-11-20)4622
Can physical violence be prevented—or is it simply part of human nature? This episode goes on a journey through history and the human mind to explore what triggers violence and examines evidence-based approaches to making the world more peaceful.
"Animal Espionage"[150][151]November 27, 2019 (2019-11-27)4623
Camera technology is revolutionizing the study of animals in their natural conditions—without them even noticing.

Season 47: 2020

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Polar Extremes"[152][153][154]February 5, 2020 (2020-02-05)4701
In this two-hour special, renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson takes us on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet. Following a trail of strange fossils found in seemingly wrong places – beech trees in Antarctica, hippopotamic mammals in the Arctic — Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. What caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what can the past reveal about our planet's climate today—and in the future?
"Dog Tales"February 12, 2020 (2020-02-12)4702
A look at dog domestication, how scientists test wolf intelligence and decode canine DNA, and what science says about a dog's love for humans.
"Cat Tales"February 19, 2020 (2020-02-19)4703
The perplexing behaviours of cats have often raised the question of whether humans ever really domesticated felines.
"Mysteries of Sleep"February 26, 2020 (2020-02-26)4704
Scientists study why animals and humans need to sleep, what happens to the brain during sleep, and the role sleep plays in memory, trauma, and emotion regulation.
"Cuba's Cancer Hope"April 1, 2020 (2020-04-01)4705
Cuban scientists develop their own biotech industry, including lung cancer vaccines that may give new hope to patients around the world.
"The Truth about Fat"April 8, 2020 (2020-04-08)4706
Exploring the complex functions of fat and the role it plays in controlling hunger, hormones and reproduction.
"Decoding COVID-19"May 13, 2020 (2020-05-13)4710
Scientists race to understand and defeat SARS-CoV-2. The first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic are detailed.
"Eagle Power"May 20, 2020 (2020-05-20)4707
Up-close footage provides a look at the strength, eyesight and flying skills of an eagle, and reveals the danger and drama of chicks as they struggle to survive.
"Human Nature"September 9, 2020 (2020-09-09)4711
Scientists study the implications of CRISPR, how it may change the human race's relationship with nature and what it means for human evolution.
"The Secret Mind of Slime"September 16, 2020 (2020-09-16)4712
New research on extremely primitive life forms called slime moulds, which navigate through life without a brain, could reveal the fundamental rules underlying all decision making.
"A to Z: The First Alphabet"September 23, 2020 (2020-09-23)4713
Researchers uncover the evolution of writing and the story of the alphabet, dating back to millennia-old carvings in an Egyptian turquoise mine.
"A to Z: How Writing Changed the World"September 30, 2020 (2020-09-30)4714
How the development of writing played a vital role in shaping world history, from the invention of paper to the printed book.
"Nature's Fear Factor"October 14, 2020 (2020-10-14)4709
Scientists reintroduce wild dogs to Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park to see if it helps restore balance to the entire ecosystem.
"Touching the Asteroid"October 21, 2020 (2020-10-21)4715
Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx attempts to grab a piece of an asteroid to bring back to Earth so scientists can study it to learn about the planet's origins.
"Can We Cool the Planet?"October 28, 2020 (2020-10-28)4716
As global temperatures rise, scientists look to geoengineering solutions, from planting trees to sucking carbon out of the air, as a means to cool the planet.
"Saving Notre Dame"November 25, 2020 (2020-11-25)4708
Engineers race to rebuild the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral and secure the medieval structure within five years.

Season 48: 2021

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"Secrets in Our DNA"January 13, 2021 (2021-01-13)4801
The value of DNA testing and the risks of entrusting this private data to commercial enterprises and online databases.
"Beyond the Elements: Reactions"February 3, 2021 (2021-02-03)4802
The chemical reactions that transform the world, from explosions to photosynthesis; lock-and-key molecules that put the heat in peppers and make venoms useful to medicine.
"Beyond the Elements: Indestructible"February 11, 2021 (2021-02-11)4803
The potential environmental impact of virtually indestructible versions of glass, rubber and plastic.
"Beyond the Elements: Life"February 17, 2021 (2021-02-17)4804
The molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin and thrive; how scientists use evolution in chemistry.
"Looking for Life on Mars"February 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)4805
NASA launches the Mars 2020 Mission to search for signs of life on Mars; the mission marks the first time a rover will land in Jezero Crater, an ancient river delta known to be one of the most dangerous areas for a spacecraft to land.
"Picture a Scientist"April 14, 2021 (2021-04-14)4806
Women make up less than one-quarter of the amount of people employed in STEM, and the number is even smaller for women of colour.
"Reef Rescue"April 21, 2021 (2021-04-21)4807
Marine biologists from the Bahamas to Christmas Island to Australia fight against the clock to save the coral reefs from extinction.
"Fighting for Fertility"May 12, 2021 (2021-05-12)4808
Barriers to fertility, including social and biological, and the state of assisted reproductive technologies; couples navigating in vitro fertilization (IVF), mosaic embryos and other options for having a baby.
"Hindenburg: The New Evidence"May 19, 2021 (2021-05-19)4809
A new investigation into the 1937 Hindenburg disaster includes a novel set of experiments that tests scenarios that may have led to the Hindenburg's ignition.
"Great Electric Airplane Race"May 26, 2021 (2021-05-26)4810
A look at emission-free electric planes, including the Kitty Hawk Heaviside, a single-seat plane that takes off like a helicopter and the EHang, an autonomous drone, and "self-flying" air taxis.
"Ship That Changed the World"June 2, 2021 (2021-06-02)4811
The discovery of a European ship dating back to the 15th century, Gribshunden, may provide physical evidence of engineering breakthroughs that helped create the modern world.
"Bat Superpowers"September 15, 2021 (2021-09-15)4812
Understanding bats, their long life spans and why they are resistant to the very diseases they carry such as Ebola and MERS, as well as other diseases like cancer.
"The Cannabis Question"September 29, 2021 (2021-09-29)4813
As state-legalized cannabis spreads, NOVA explores its little-known risks and benefits.
"Particles Unknown"October 6, 2021 (2021-10-06)4814
Join the hunt for the universe’s most common—yet most elusive and baffling—particle.
"Arctic Drift"October 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)4815
Join scientists on a daring polar voyage to uncover the Arctic’s climate secrets.
"Edible Insects"October 20, 2021 (2021-10-20)4816
NOVA takes a tasty look at insect foods that could benefit our health and our warming planet.
"Universe Revealed: Age of Stars"October 27, 2021 (2021-10-27)4817
"Universe Revealed: Milky Way"November 3, 2021 (2021-11-03)4818
"Universe Revealed: Alien Worlds"November 10, 2021 (2021-11-10)4819
"Universe Revealed: Black Holes"November 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)4820
"Universe Revealed: Big Bang"November 24, 2021 (2021-11-24)4821

Season 49: 2022

Title Original air date Prod.
code[4]
"High-Risk High-Rise"January 5, 2022 (2022-01-05)TBA
"Butterfly Blueprints"January 12, 2022 (2022-01-12)TBA
"Alaskan Dinosaurs"January 19, 2022 (2022-01-19)TBA
"Ancient Maya Metropolis"January 26, 2022 (2022-01-26)TBA

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