NOVA: Season 4 (1977)


Season 4

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Air date: Jan 5, 1977

During World War II, America had the bomb, but Germany had the V-2 rocket. Nova goes behind enemy lines to trace the construction of Hitler's secret weapon. Using real footage, including some test-shot film, this PBS program traces the years between 1933 and 1945, during which time Hitler developed the advanced rocket and used it in assaults on London and Antwerp. Nova also investigates whether the weapon could have altered the course of history. Nova: Hitler's Secret Weapon features interviews with rocket pioneers Werner Von Braun and General Walter Dornberger.

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Air date: Jan 12, 1977

"The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs" examines new theories about the prehistoric creatures, including one that suggests they were more mammal-like than reptilian. Also studied is the claim that certain species evolved into birds.

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Air date: Jan 19, 1977

"What Price Coal?" an examination of mine safety, claims that light penalties and a shortage of inspectors make it difficult to enforce many regulations of the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Also noted: the link between black-lung disease and coal dust; the industry's use of safety measures such as adequate mine lighting.

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Air date: Feb 2, 1977

"The Sunspot Mystery" examines the way storms on the sun may affect the earth's weather. Noting that sunspots seem to follow 11-year cycles, the report traces scientists' efforts to link these to droughts in the Midwest. One theory examined states that a lack of sunspot activity from 1645 to 1715 caused the earth to cool considerably.

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Air date: Feb 9, 1977

A 1977 report on a 5-year-old boy who has been afflicted since birth with a lack of resistance to disease and must live inside a protective plastic chamber. Included is a look at how bone marrow, which produces the immunity factors bodies need, can be transplanted.

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Air date: Feb 23, 1977

Examining the safety of nuclear reactors by focusing on a 1975 fire at Alabama's Brown's Ferry atomic power plant that caused extensive damage. The report explains what started the blaze and why it took more than seven hours to put it out. Richard Kiley is the narrator.

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Air date: Mar 2, 1977

"Bye Bye Blackbird" focuses on the mass roosting of blackbirds throughout the South every winter. The program examines why the birds gather by the millions in states like Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky; their threat to crops; how bird droppings harbor diseases such as histoplasmosis; and ways used to control the creatures.

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Air date: Mar 9, 1977

The history of the birth-control pill. Included: how research isolated the hormones estrogen and progesterone as keys to developing the pill; the role of birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger and heiress Katherine McCormick; and the effects of the pill on world population.

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Air date: Mar 16, 1977

Recombinant DNA research is the subject of "The Gene Engineers." The process by which genes are transferred from one unrelated organism to another has sparked controversy among scientists and the public over the safety of the research. The report also looks at a Cambridge (Mass.) review board that studied local experimentation.

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Air date: Mar 23, 1977

"The Human Animal" examines a theory that human behavior patterns are influenced by genes. Sociobiologists have based this theory on observations of animals and insects. An example depicted is an ant colony, whose members are said to be genetically "programmed."

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