NOVA: Season 28 (2001)

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Season 28
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 24, 2000

Nova journeys back to a decisive moment in the War Between the States -- a four-hour, point-blank battle between two warships, the Union's USS Monitor and the Confederates' CSS Virginia. That 1862 battle, fought off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, ended in a draw, but the Monitor's innovative new design -- a revolving gun turret, submerged hull, and ironclad armor -- helped change the course of history and of naval technology. Less than a year after its debut, the Monitor sank in the waters off Cape Hatteras, into what has been dubbed "the graveyard of the Atlantic." Nova's cameras follow a group of Navy divers down to the wreckage to recover valuable relics from the past, and the program discusses the notorious architect who designed the Monitor and then built it in just three months. In a rare dramatic turn, the film also stages a reenactment of the infamous Civil War battle.

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Air date: Oct 31, 2000

American Deborah Lipstadt brought a lawsuit against British historian David Irving in 1999. Though the case was based on libel grounds, it became a challenge to Irving's claims that the Holocaust never really occurred, and that Adolf Hitler never ordered the mass slaughter of millions of Jews and others deemed societal outcasts. A reenactment of court testimony brings this unusual trial to life. Viewers should be aware that the film contains graphic footage of offensive Nazi behavior. This program is a part of the Nova series that's regularly aired by PBS.

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Air date: Nov 14, 2000

In this two-hour special, Nova follows a team of divers down to the ocean floor for a six-year investigation that eventually determined the identity of a sunken World War II submarine -- and rewrote history in the process. The German U-Boat, first discovered in 1991 just 60 miles off the New Jersey coast, posed a significant challenge to would-be explorers; the program explains the kinds of dangers that even highly trained professional divers face under 230 feet of water, and it showcases the cutting-edge technology that allowed them to investigate the wreck of U-869. Finally, Hitler's Lost Sub discusses the history of the Nazi submarine fleet and the role that these ships played during the war. After an early version of the film aired in Germany, a 78-year-old survivor of the U-869 disaster came forward; his incredible story is included in the final film.

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Air date: Nov 21, 2000

This Nova program grapples with the truly big questions of science -- what is the universe's structure, what lies beyond the limits of our "sight," and how can we predict the ultimate fate of the universe? The film uses as its main focal point a recent discovery that space is not only expanding but actually accelerating outward. Two competing teams of scientists discuss the meaning of this phenomenon, as well as the methodology that they use to make such discoveries -- tasks like measuring the brightness and the "redshift" of supernovae, as well as irregularities in the microwave background radiation. The program uses high-definition 3-D simulations to demonstrate leading theories (such as the theories of inflation and of "dark energy") about the behavior and fate of matter in the universe.

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Air date: Nov 28, 2000

Two hundred million years ago, as the supercontinent of Pangea broke up, a tiny archipelago was isolated by the drift of India, Madagascar, and Australia. Eventually, these islands would be known as the Seychelles and would acquire a reputation as one of the most exotic environments on Earth. In this episode of the PBS show Nova, viewers are taken on an in-depth exploration of this unique territory. Jacques Cousteau called the outermost islands of this chain "one of the last sanctuaries on the planet that man has not yet defiled." Along with the attention paid to the unique flora and fauna of the islands, this tape investigates the history of man's intrusion into this forgotten world. The exploration of the islands in 1881 by famed British explorer Charles "Chinese" Gordon is covered, as well as the contemporary issues that face the future of this tiny chain. Viewers with an interest in natural history or contemporary environmental issues will find these videos of value. This tape is certainly up to the standards of other Nova programs, featuring an astonishing assortment of photography as well as cogent and probing narration.

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Air date: Dec 12, 2000

Nova explores the serious consequences of eating disorders in Nova: Dying to Be Thin. Anorexia and bulimia have become mainstream maladies, with open discussion of the millions of cases throughout the U.S. Anorexia alone accounts for the highest death rate of any psychological illness. If patients survive, the effects of self-imposed starvation can be extreme, from bone loss to heart damage. Nova goes behind closed doors to explore experimental treatments for these eating disorders.

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Air date: Dec 19, 2000

Nova reveals one of Japan's most precious resources in this video trip to Lake Biwa. Sustaining a 2000-year-old way of life, this fresh water lake may hold the key to scientific mysteries. As it stands, it supports a valued and ancient farming tradition while witnessing the creation of a new type of rice paddy. The terraced fields that surround Lake Biwa have become an example of advanced engineering. While the humans create superior farming techniques, the animals that live in and around Lake Biwa also undergo changes. Nova also goes microscopic to expose the transformation of insect species. On a larger scale, black bears provide a surprising insight into organ preservation and hibernation. The video concludes with an examination of the gardens surrounding Lake Biwa.

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Air date: Jan 16, 2001

Originally an episode of the PBS television series Nova, this video features a French-led team of researchers as they dive to the depths of the South China Seas to explore a 14th century shipwreck in order to discern its origin and intended destination. In the process, the archaeologists discover a delicate cargo: 12,000 intact pieces of Chinese porcelain from China's "golden age" of ceramic artistry. These priceless blue and white dishes are decorated with mysterious painted symbols. In unraveling the various riddles, the research crew realizes the sunken vessel was traveling a route on one of the world's first international trading networks.

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Air date: Jan 30, 2001

Tracing the tragic flight of the British airliner Stardust, which disappeared en route from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile, on Aug. 2, 1947. No wreckage was found until 1998, when climbers in the Andes happened upon one of its engines on a glacier some 50 miles from Santiago. The Stardust's disappearance was "one of aviation's most enduring mysteries," says narrator David Ogden Stiers.

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Air date: Feb 6, 2001

When some of the greatest military minds of World War II were imprisoned in a German camp, escape was inevitable. Colditz Castle was the staging arena for the most daring attempts at freedom. This video documents the often outrageous and always courageous flights in Nova: Nazi Prison Escape. Using handmade tools, uniforms, and even an airplane, prisoners from all over the world put their military know-how to the test. One tried to impersonate a German guard and was caught, while another climbed over broken glass to breach the outer walls and escaped. Overall, 300 men took flight during the prison's five-year existence. The video shows how Colditz was perhaps the finest example of cooperation among men in the midst of a world crisis.

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