NOVA: Season 24 (1997)

SEASON:

Season 24
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 1, 1996

This two-hour documentary on the life of Albert Einstein details his scientific discoveries as well as his personal life. Much of the information comes from letters that he wrote and received throughout his life. Many scenes are portrayed by actors to give a feel for what it might have been like to walk in his shoes. The program begins with his childhood in Germany and follows his experiences as a high school dropout, his avoidance of being drafted by the German army, his job as a patent clerk, his lifelong obsession with electromagnetism and light, and the various relationships he had with women and friends. A very detailed documentary, it is narrated by F. Murray Abraham.

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Air date: Oct 8, 1996

Scientists scour the desert in search of Ubar, "The Lost City of Arabia," which vanished into the sands circa A.D. 300. The Koran describes it as a trade center that was cursed by its peoples' wickedness. Included: how technology aided the search; T.H. Lawrence's interest in the city.

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Air date: Oct 15, 1996

To be the first -- that has always been a challenge to the adventurer, and in Three Men and a Balloon, Nova follows three such risk-takers as they try to circle the globe as no one has done before. The risks are indeed great, as the travelers are forced to fly at higher altitudes than most planes, enduring the frigid temperatures of the upper regions. All their gear (including food, fuel, and equipment) must fit in the cramped 9 x 13 capsule. Navigation requires tremendous skill and atmospheric knowledge since they are dependent on winds for an optimal course.

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Air date: Oct 22, 1996

Why were the U.S. paper currency bills redesigned? Nova explains in Nova: Secrets of Making Money that the project was undertaken primarily for security reasons. The original bills were too easy to counterfeit and procedures for doing so are demonstrated. New features to thwart would-be counterfeiters in the 100 dollar bill include a watermark, a bigger portrait, microprinting, and color-shifting ink. Also shown is the torture tests bills must go through to pass muster. The Treasury Department subjects them to washing, exposure to sun, gasoline, drying, and crumpling.

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Air date: Nov 12, 1996

Russia's top fighter pilots demonstrate their skills. Included: the differences between U.S. and Soviet plane design; a history of Soviet air power; how foreigners can buy rides aboard Russian jet fighters.

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Air date: Nov 19, 1996

How do humans perceive and interact with sharks? How do these vicious killers of the sea live and prey? This television documentary takes viewers underwater in California, Hawaii, and Australia to learn about sharks -- particularly the Great White and Tiger Sharks. Also covered are theories as to why sharks attack humans and why sharks are more likely to attack surfers.

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Air date: Nov 24, 1996

From the creators of Miracle of Life comes another fascinating and beautifully-photographed journey into the womb to catch a glimpse at the mysteries of fetal development. This Nova video presents more stunning microphotography by Lennart Nilsson to show how the developing embryo reveals links to other species, dating back to the beginning of life.

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Air date: Nov 25, 1996

Photographer Lennart Nilsson has built a career out of taking pictures of things most folks never see; using special microscopic lens technology, Nilsson is able to magnify the smallest creatures until they take on the appearance of mammoth monsters, and this documentary gives him a chance to bring his photographs to life. NOVA: The Unknown World is centered around film footage shot by Nilsson of insects, allowing viewers to see the bugs in a whole new perspective as ladybugs chase aphids, larvae take on a piece of clothing, and silverfish make their way through a home.

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Air date: Nov 26, 1996

Lennart Nilsson, the famed photographer who brought us the spectacular insight into the mysteries of life before birth in Nova's Miracle of Life and Ultimate Journey shares some of his secret state-of-the-art microphotography techniques.

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Air date: Dec 31, 1996

Following scientists' efforts to determine what caused the dramatic shift in the planet's climate 40 million years ago. Included: how the creation of the Himalayas may have played a part in reducing the planet-warming greenhouse effect.

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