NOVA: Season 11 (1984 - 1985)


Season 11

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Air date: Oct 11, 1983

Are humans the only mammals that communicate with language? Nova attempts to answer that question with Nova: Signs of the Apes, Songs of the Whale. Researchers target apes in their bid for a common ground. Washoe and Koko are two examples of gorillas learning rudimentary skills. Chimpanzees and orangutans are also presented as having an ability to use sign language. In a separate habitat, dolphins and sea lions provide convincing proof that undersea animals can be taught to communicate. Nova concludes the program with a sampling of animal calls in the wild.

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Air date: Oct 18, 1983

Advances in "The Artificial Heart" are chronicled from Dr. Denton Cooley's 1969 heart transplant to the mechanical device that kept Barney Clark alive for 112 days. Also: temporary vs. permanent units.

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Air date: Oct 25, 1983

A look at the applications of Logo, a computer language that helps children understand mathematical concepts. Other applications include helping individuals with little motor control, and commanding a small robot.

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Air date: Nov 1, 1983

Criticism of traditional anthropological field-work techniques voiced by ethnographers and people that anthropologists study. Interviewed: villagers on Manus Island, where Margaret Mead conducted studies; a student from New Guinea who is studying American culture in California.

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Air date: Nov 8, 1983

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is seen helping terminally ill patients and their relatives cope with their feelings of anger and helplessness.

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Air date: Nov 15, 1983

"A Magic Way of Going" looks at the use of genealogical data in the breeding of thoroughbred horses. Also: why the species may have reached a "genetic plateau."

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Air date: Nov 22, 1983

Plastic surgery is not just for Hollywood starlets and aging matrons. Since its invention, it has been used to repair the damage done by man and nature. Nova documents the wonders of modern medicine in Nova: The Wonders of Plastic Surgery. Disfigurement is not a surprise in war, but doctors refuse to accept the ruined visage of a soldier. Across the world, a child is offered a new life with reconstructive surgery. The plan in both cases is to produce a "normal face." The PBS program provides a short history of the techniques and the doctors who use them everyday. For many, plastic surgery brings relief and acceptance. In their eyes, these surgeons are miracle workers.

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Air date: Nov 29, 1983

A 1981 Australian docudrama about a group of disabled people (playing themselves) who, in 1973, organized to protest conditions in their institution. Adapted from a book by John Roarty, a resident there.

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Air date: Oct 2, 1984

Four scientists use a satellite hookup in Boston to discuss research with their Soviet counterparts. Among the topics considered: nuclear fusion, astrophysics, biophysics and seismology. Participants include Philip Morrison and Alexander Rich of MIT, Harold Furth of Princeton and Lynn Sykes of Columbia.

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Air date: Oct 16, 1984

A science quiz that tests the acumen of actress Jane Alexander, ABC science editor Jules Bergman, educator Marva Collins and Edwin Newman. The multiple-choice questions are based on clips from past shows.

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