NOVA: Season 33 (2006)

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Season 33
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 20, 2005

Not so far back, an iconoclastic geologist began theorizing - in the face of hundreds of skeptics - that two million years ago, a titanic flood carved out the majority of present day Montana, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. His contemporaries turned their noses up and scoffed - until evidence surfaced to corroborate the scientist's theory: traces of an ancient ice dam alongside a Montana valley, which held in millions of gallons of water, until the dam itself melted - sending untold torrents across the Pacific Northwest and decimating everything in its path. In NOVA: Mystery of The Megaflood, the acclaimed and multi-award winning WGBH series NOVA uses computer generated graphics to carry viewers into this ancient realm and study the enigmatic natural catastrophe that defined and sculpted broad vistas of our country.

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Air date: Oct 4, 2005

It was a little-known episode of WWII that has nonetheless gained notoriety among survivors of the period and historians. Crafted by the Japanese in vitriolic response to Pearl Harbor, the Yamato remains the largest battleship in modern history, twice the size of the average American gunship with the most massive warheads ever mounted on a seagoing vessel. However, she sank on the day of her launch, in an explosion that sent the majority of her crew -- 3,000 Japanese soldiers -- to the bottom of the ocean. In NOVA: Sinking the Supership, the acclaimed WGBH-produced documentary program breaks new ground by interviewing two survivors and -- incredibly -- teaming up with a group of undersea explorers, to journey to the depths of the East China Sea and unlock the mysteries of this now-mythical battleship -- the secrets behind its operation and the details of its final, ill-fated mission.

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Air date: Oct 11, 2005

With dramatic historical reenactments featuring Aidan McArdle (Footprints in the Snow) in the central role as Albert Einstein and Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as his wife, Mileva Maric, NOVA: Einstein's Big Idea climbs inside the most earth-shattering discovery of the 20th Century's most brilliant scientific innovator: that of the connection between matter and energy, encapsulated in his 1905 E=mc2 formula, an equation that ultimately yielded the atom bomb. The program also explores how Einstein's professional discovery rested on the foundational research of three of his contemporaries, all tragic figures - Lise Meitner, Antoine Lavoisier, and Michael Faraday - and how each individual's work, in turn, embodied one further step toward nuclear power.

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Air date: Oct 18, 2005

An update on a January 2005 report on hurricanes that assesses damage caused by Hurricane Katrina highlights this edition of "scienceNow." Also: attempts to create artificial life in laboratories by mimicking the origins of life 3.5 billion years ago and by "designing" genes; scientists in Florida searching for the cause of lightning; a North Carolina veterinarian who performs cancer surgery on goldfish; and a profile of neuroscientist Erich Jarvis, an expert on birds' brains.

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Air date: Nov 1, 2005

In Volcano Under the City, NOVA researchers take a sojourn to Mt. Nyiragongo, Congo, in West Africa, a volcanic crater that suddenly exploded in January 2002. Lava engulfed much of the neighboring village of Goma, some 100 miles distant, killing 100 people and destroying the homes of 120,000. In the years since, research scientists (and villagers) have become terrified that volcanic activity of greater severity will transpire beneath the city, bringing the entire community to a tragic and gruesome end. To grasp the nature of the volcanic activity -- and how it might ultimately be prevented -- NOVA thus sends a group of scientists, including French volcano expert Jacques Durieux and Italian geologists Orlando Vaselli and Dario Tedesco, to camp out on one of the inner rims of the volcano, where they begin to conduct research experiments that will lead to a greater understanding of seismic catastrophe and may help prevent related environmental tragedies such as the associated discharge of lethal carbon monoxide gases throughout the surrounding atmosphere.

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Air date: Nov 8, 2005

In the decades since it first arrived on television, PBS's hugely popular NOVA series has built much of its reputation on uniting the efforts of camera crews, archaeologists, scientists, and researchers to not simply disclose pre-known scientific facts, but to break new ground and debunk decades-old, scientific and historical fog-shrouded enigmas. NOVA: Hitler's Sunken Secret upholds this tradition. The episode journeys back to war-torn Europe circa 1944 and investigates a covert Allied operation little known among history buffs. After receiving numerous indications that the Norwegian ferry Hydro was toting several railroad flatcars full of "heavy water" to the Nazis -- a substance that Hitler's regime could use to build an atomic bomb that would render invincible the entire Axis -- the Allies sent a member of the Norwegian resistance to plant bombs in the prow of the Hydro , thus sinking the ship and its cargo. The mission was a triumph and may have been responsible for permanently altering the course of world history. But historians have never been able to determine with any certainty if the substance actually made it on board prior to the capsizing of the vessel. In this special, NOVA's explorers dive some 1,300 feet to the bottom of Lake Tinn in Norway, where they find the Hydro , astonishingly intact after many decades, and bring to the surface one of the barrels that supposedly contained the heavy water, exposing its contents to a battery of scientific tests that will solve the mystery definitively.

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Air date: Nov 15, 2005

In addition to the reputation afforded him in the centuries following his death as a world-shaking scientific provocateur, Isaac Newton was also extraordinarily devout, and something of a mystic. As one who did his life's work during an unusual period when both modern science and theology were on the upswing, he simultaneously invented calculus, laid the foundation of alchemy, attempted to predict the date of Christ's return based on Biblical clues, and disclosed grave heresies buried deeply in Catholicism and Anglicanism -- to name only a few among hundreds of gifts that Newton brought to the world. He also established himself as one of the most profound mathematicians in world history, attaining the wickedly difficult Lucasian mathematics post at Cambridge and acquiring a professorial reputation that terrified prospective students by virtue of Newton's genius and esotericism. And the great irony is that a number of Newton's key discoveries have never been publicized, thanks to his unwillingness to make known many of his thoughts and conclusions. An episode of the critically and popularly acclaimed long-running PBS series that has instilled an adoration of science in hundreds of thousands of viewers during its 32-year run, NOVA: Newton's Dark Secrets plunges into the bizarre and brilliant corners of Newton's scientific genius, offering a fascinating, unflinching look at the many facets of this deep and complicated man.

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Air date: Nov 22, 2005

NOVA: Hurricane Katrina - The Storm That Drowned a City analyzes how Hurricane Katrina became a storm powerful enough to destroy the great city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The program employs scientists, weather experts, victims, and archival footage to show how the tropical storm built into a category five hurricane, and how the city was unprepared for such a powerful onslaught.

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Air date: Jan 3, 2006

Find out just how a neglected mummy that was once declared a fraud was eventually discovered to be the remains of the long-lost pharaoh who founded Egypt's most prominent dynasty in a time-traveling documentary that travels from ancient Egypt to late-20th Century Niagara Falls to solve a haunting, 3,000 year-old mystery. Long neglected on the decaying shelves of a Niagara Falls museum, the mysterious, shriveled mummy had been bought, sold, and stolen so many times by the time it was "discovered" in the 1960s, its origins were nearly impossible to determine. Thanks to an international investigation involving a dedicated team of scientists, archeologists, and a lone orthodontist mixing the most advanced genetic imaging and testing techniques with the tried and true methods of archeological analysis, however, the long-thought-lost body of Ramses I was soon transported to a Cairo museum to find ultimate repose among the most notable names in Egyptian royalty.

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Air date: Jan 10, 2006

The top stories of 2005 highlight this edition of "scienceNOW." Included: a possible 10th planet; advances in stem-cell research; the threat of a flu pandemic. Also: a look at the ivory-billed woodpecker; updates on the relationship between hurricanes and global warming; a profile of cancer researcher Tyler Curiel.

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