NOVA: Season 15 (1988)


Season 15

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Air date: Oct 6, 1987

Why do stars explode and how is the energy generated? What is the effect of all those little "aftermath" particles floating through space? Nova: Death of a Star is a 60-minute science documentary that explores rare astronomical events in all their dimensions. The film features the 1987 explosion of a supernova -- first observed by a Canadian astronomer in Chile -- and discusses its impact on the universe. Witness the celestial phenomena that baffles the scientific community as you travel from South America to Japan to Cleveland. A discussion of supernova neutrinos is a special highlight of the tape.

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Air date: Oct 13, 1987

A history of U.S. surveillance techniques from the Civil War to today. Included: the use of hot-air balloons in the 1800s; Francis Gary Powers' U-2 mission in 1960; the use of surveillance during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Air date: Oct 20, 1987

How plants are used to produce disease-fighting drugs focuses on efforts to analyze samples from an Amazon rain forest before more species are eradicated by lumber and land-development projects.

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Air date: Oct 27, 1987

Profiled: Stanford Ovshinsky, who's promoting the use of solar power harnessed by panels he created. Included: scenes of the inventor talking to Japanese businessmen and oil-dependent Hawaii residents.

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Air date: Nov 3, 1987

David McCullough narrates Nova's look at the construction of the Panama Canal. The program contains rare historic film footage and archival photographs of the construction process. Learn more about the people behind the amazing Canal's deadly 30-year-construction and take a moment to marvel at its present-day operation.

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Air date: Nov 10, 1987

While volcanoes provide a breathtaking view, they are potentially deadly hazards. Millions of people are in danger due to their proximity to nature's fiery fountains. Nova accompanies two volcanologists as they research new techniques for predicting eruptions. Professor Geoff Brown and Dr. Hazel Rymer are at the pinnacle of their field, measuring and responding to volcanic activity. By studying past explosions, they are able to gain a modicum of information. Most of what the scientists learn comes from active geothermal locations such as those in Central and South America. Rymer uses new data to develop mathematical models that might help forewarn citizens. Nova is once again on the cutting edge of technology when it explores the unstable world of volcanoes.

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Air date: Nov 17, 1987

To assess Soviet science, MIT professor Loren Graham tours research facilities and interviews scientists. What he finds is a lack of equipment and access to information, and an emphasis on theoretical science.

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Air date: Dec 1, 1987

A merchant ship weighed down with a rich cargo departed some 33 centuries ago, its possible destination, an Eastern port. At some point, disaster struck, and the ship sank. The wreckage was discovered in the waters off southern Turkey. Nova and a team of underwater archaeologists brave the unique stresses of underwater excavation, and comb through the shipwreck in Ancient Treasures From the Deep, finding artifacts dating from the time of King Tut that shed light on developments in the Bronze Age. In addition, the ship yields up evidence of the importance of trade between ancient countries.

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Air date: Dec 8, 1987

Studies on rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially crippling disease believed to be caused by a virus or bacterium.

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Air date: Dec 15, 1987

Follow a team of archaeologists as they hunt for clues along the North Atlantic.

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