NOVA: Season 35 (2008)

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Season 35
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 9, 2007

NOVA: Secrets of the Samurai Sword documents the history of the Katana, the long curved sword that was the weapon of choice for Japanese soldiers for five hundred years. The program details their creation, as well as much of the lore that has built up around the weapon over the centuries.

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Air date: Oct 16, 2007

An examination of the gatekeeper role played by the epigenome, which can shape everything from whether people develop diseases to whether they are fat or slim by turning on and off specific genes. Also: how a person's habits---good and bad---may affect future generations.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2007

For millions of marathon runners worldwide, Patriots Day looms steadily and prominently on the horizon; such is the pivotal day when untold numbers journey to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in the legendary, 26.2 mile Boston Marathon. As produced by WGBH - Boston public television and directed by Daniel McCabe, the documentary NOVA: The Marathon Challenge cross-cuts between the lives of 13 Boston Marathon trainees as they psych themselves up for the "big run" during the 2007 event; the program undertakes an unusual approach, however, by specifically honing in on the underdogs - participants who are less than fit (and who lead sedentary lifestyles), but who nevertheless determine to whip their bodies into top shape for the said event despite the many obstacles and challenges that stand in their way.

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Air date: Nov 6, 2007

For many around the world, the October 1957 launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik represented a pivotal event that single-handedly gave rise to the global Cold War. In America, the satellite prompted government leaders to dramatically escalate spending on both space exploration and military. Additional research, however, suggests that Sputnik may not have been as much of a surprise as the media and press traditionally indicated. The documentary NOVA: Sputnik Declassified investigates the basis for these claims, including the accounts that Nazi employ-turned-NASA rocket scientist Wernher von Braun performed satellite launch experiments in the U.S. a year before Sputnik, President Dwight Eisenhower's desire to launch a satellite to spy on the Russians, and extended pre-Sputnik discussions about how the U.S. should kick-start the space race.

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Air date: Nov 13, 2007

At a time when Darwin's theory of evolution is continually being challenged by proponents to Intelligent Design, the award-winning filmmakers at Nova explores the concept of evolution and ask whether or not Intelligent Design is truly a valid scientific alternative by examining the public uproar that erupted when science teachers in Dover, Pennsylvania public schools were asked to read a letter stating that life was too complex to have evolved as Darwin hypothesized. When the teachers refused to read the letter and banned together with parents to file a federal lawsuit accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state, the resulting trial sent lawyers and expert witnesses scrambling. In this documentary, the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District is covered through reenactments based on actual court transcripts, as well as interviews conducted with key participants and actual scientists.

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Air date: Nov 20, 2007

As screened on PBS's science documentary series NOVA, Master of the Killer Ants hones in on an exotic and bizarre biological phenomenon. The program travels to the Mandaras Mountains of Northern Cameroon, inhabited by the Mofu tribe. For untold centuries, the members of this tribe have existed in natural balance with the surrounding entomological kingdom - until a tumultuous drought upends that balance and sends legions of termites into silos and huts, effectively threatening the safety and well-being of residents. The Mofus then respond in a most unexpected and ingenious way: the village Shaman sires the Jaglavak , one of the Earth's most deadly species of red army ant (with deadly pincers and impenetrable thoraxes and abdomens) to combat the termites in large waves. This program offers a detailed examination of the insects' behavior via microphotography, as it studies the broader social, spiritual and cultural customs of the Mofu tribe.

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Air date: Dec 18, 2007

Hop in the cockpit and strap yourself in for one of the wildest rides ever in this documentary that allows the viewer to experience exactly what it was like to do battle in some of the fiercest dogfights in the history of aviation. The year was 1950, and the Korean War was raging. High above the Korean-Chinese border, MiG-15 fighters and F-86 Sabres exchanged gunfire in a notorious strip of airspace known as MiG Alley. Now, for the first time ever, historians and thrill-seekers alike can discover the fear and adrenaline experienced by the fearless pilots on the planet. An additional exploration into the mysterious fate of over thirty U.S. and British pilots who went missing in MiG Alley follows investigators hired by the U.S. government, forensics experts, and families of the missing wartime aviators as they attempt uncover the ultimate fate of those who were never declared dead, but never returned home from combat.

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Air date: Jan 8, 2008

Part 1 of 2. The battle to control cold temperatures is documented. Included: a primitive air-conditioning system for Westminster Abbey in the 17th century; frozen food.

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Air date: Jan 15, 2008

Conclusion. The battle to control cold temperatures is documented. Included: a new form of matter near absolute zero.

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Air date: Jan 29, 2008

As originally screened on PBS's NOVA series, the documentary special Secrets of the Parthenon carries viewers on a detailed exploration of the titular landmark - one of Ancient Greece's most renowned architectural wonders. As the program points out, the Parthenon has fallen prey, over the centuries, to every type of conceivable destruction - from earthquakes to extensive vandalism to looting and arson. Yet it somehow survived intact through the early years of the 21st century. This documentary examines methods used by the Ancient Greeks to achieve such remarkable architectural precision, the techniques that enabled the Greeks to erect the structure so quickly, and the late 20th-early 21st century restorative efforts of the Acropolis Restoration Project. It also concludes with an incredible historical secret unveiled when a shaft of light discloses a hidden carving.

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