NOVA: Season 29 (2002)

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Season 29
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 2, 2001

The decades-long scientific quest to develop a less hazardous cigarette is examined in this program from the PBS series, NOVA. Directed by Carl Charlson, NOVA: Search for a Safe Cigarette features discussions with scientists as well as tobacco researchers and manufacturers to trace the history of these efforts and make predictions for what the future holds. Several "alternative cigarettes" that have been developed over the years are looked at.

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Air date: Oct 9, 2001

How can one baby have five parents? This NOVA series explains that and much more about the rapidly expanding science of assisted reproduction. In just 23 short years since the first in vitro fertilization (IVF), or "test tube" baby was born, the science of IVF has led to the birth of babies to women over 60 and to male couples through surrogates. NOVA discusses what is on the horizon as well -- cloning and genetic engineering -- and offers a layperson's understanding of some of the latest techniques, which have names such as Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis.

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Air date: Oct 23, 2001

This program is part of a series from the popular PBS science show NOVA. This episode looks at brain function and the mind. Scientists discuss the findings of their latest research on the mysterious connection between the brain and the mind. They cover controversial subjects, such as racial and gender differences of the mind, and the part played by collective memory. Films and photographs illustrate this look at the secrets of the mind.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2001

Exploring the nature vs. nurture controversy through the case of Canadian David Reimer, who was severely injured during circumcision as an infant in 1965 and was raised as Brenda following surgery 22 months later. This course of treatment was becoming standard in cases of newborns with "ambiguous" genitalia. But Brenda wasn't growing up happily. "The child was not developing as presented," says "nurture" theory foe Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii. Brenda's schoolmates put it differently, as her mother sorrowfully recalls. They called her "caveman."

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Air date: Nov 6, 2001

This program is part of a series from the popular PBS science show NOVA. This episode takes a close-up look at who is minding the store of Russian nuclear weaponry. Are the people on the other side similar to their American counterparts in training and philosophy? Some of the answers are surprising. Interviews with Russian scientists and workers are presented, along with archival films and photographs.

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Air date: Nov 13, 2001

This program is part of a series from the popular PBS science show NOVA. This episode explores a topic of major import in today's world: bioterror. The specter of airborne and waterborne disease purposefully unleashed as a political weapon is very real. The program's scientists offer their opinions and insights on the problem, and possible ways to protect civilization from the scourge of bioterrorism.

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Air date: Nov 20, 2001

Lennart Nilsson is an experimental photographer from Sweden who became well-known for his remarkable endoscopic photographs of human embryos growing in their mothers' wombs. Nilsson's remarkable photos and the techniques that made them possible became the subject of an episode of the PBS science series Nova in 1983, Nova: The Miracle of Life. Nova: Life's Greatest Miracle catches up with Nilsson almost two decades later, as we see the latest innovations in fetal photography, as well as learning about the most recent advances in embryonic and fetal research and fertilization techniques. Nova: Life's Greatest Miracle aired on November 20, 2001.

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Air date: Dec 11, 2001

There is a tree in California whose venerable age has earned it the name of the Methusela Tree. Just like the Biblical Methusela, this bristlecone pine has lived long enough to see a lot of changes in the world. This special from the NOVA program chronicles some of the major historical events that have occurred during the tree's 4,644 years of existence. NOVA waxes poetic in a rare instance of anthropomorphism, and examines and evaluates these events, as if the tree itself were speaking. Archival film, photography, reenactments, and artwork, are used to tell of the times that the Methusela Tree has seen.

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Air date: Sep 3, 2002

Killer Disease on Campus is a documentary about the deadly illness known as meningitis. Most commonly suffered by children under the age of five and young adults, meningitis is one of the deadliest diseases. This film explains how a bacteria called meningococcus causes the disease, and details how doctors have fought to learn more about this illness in order to prevent it from taking additional lives. This is a fine film for those with an interest in the topic.

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Air date: Oct 1, 2002

An episode of the science series Nova, Mysterious Life of Caves takes the viewer into caves from around the world. Some of the locations captured in this documentary are inaccessible to anyone other than scientists because of their dangerous structure and the chemicals they possess. This is an informative, entertaining video for anyone with an interest in the subject matter. Teachers may find this film useful in the classroom setting.

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