Monday, September 20, 2010
Nova's New Season
Looks at Cathedrals, Stonehenge, King Solomon's Mines, A Doomed Airliner, Elevator Fear and Dogs
NOVA airs Tuesday nights at 8PM ET/PT on PBS www.pbs.org/nova
PBS's Nova's fall line-up features expeditions and investigations that reveal new research and findings in an array of fields, including engineering, forensics, aviation, archeology, climatology, genetics, and more. This season, NOVA examines elevator safety and reveals intriguing insights into people's overwhelming fears of becoming trapped. The series also soars to new heights to unlock the mysteries of the magnificent Gothic cathedrals and to investigate the 2009 mid-ocean disappearance of a commercial airliner. NOVA then digs down to unravel new clues to Stonehenge, descends into what might be the fabled mines of King Solomon to hunt for hidden biblical treasures, and plunges viewers beneath the surface of Antarctica's ice to reveal the secrets frozen in time there. In a thoroughly engaging new documentary, NOVA also decodes "man's best friend" and offers surprising new science on the remarkable bond between humans and dogs.
Building the Great Cathedrals - Tuesday, October 19
How did medieval builders reach such spectacular heights using only hand tools to cre¬ate the great cathedrals? The filmmakers behind NOVA's award-winning documentary Secrets of the Parthenon take viewers on a dazzling new architectural journey, inside those majestic marvels and jewels of Gothic architecture. Carved from a 100 million pounds of stone and sometimes more than 100 years in the making, some now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, an international team of engineers, architects, art historians, and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell-towers for clues to how the dream of these temples of human achievement and artistry became a reality. NOVA teams perform hands-on experiments to learn the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their towering, glass-filled walls and reveal the hidden formulas, drawn from the Bible that drove medieval builders ever upward.
Crash of Flight 447 - Tuesday, October 26
On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it all 228 lives on board. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply drop out of the sky? NOVA assembles a team of sea¬soned pilots, engineers and safety experts to examine the evidence that emerged in the weeks following the tragedy. What led Flight 447's crew to fly straight into a raging thun¬derstorm? NOVA uses expert testimony, messages transmitted by the doomed plane's computer system, multi-layered CGI weather reconstructions, and an Airbus simulator with a veteran pilot at the controls to piece together the crucial events and reconstruct the final moments in the cockpit as the crisis over¬whelmed Flight 447's crew. The result is a forensic view presented from all angles to help us understand the crash.
Trapped in an Elevator - Tuesday, November 2
How do elevators work? Are they safe? Why are so many people afraid of them? Across North America, elevators move 325 million passengers every day, and most of the time, people don't give them a second thought. In Trapped in an Elevator, NOVA reveals the secret life of these ubiquitous machines and inves¬tigates personal stories of those who have been caught inside when they do fail. NOVA cameras ride the world's fastest elevator to the top of the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building, and test whether the Burj's elevator system is ready for the task of moving people to unprecedented heights. On the other side of the world, NOVA follows one of the thousands of elevator maintenance crews in Manhattan that keep New Yorkers moving up and down every day. Then, at the Otis Test Tower--a 28-story high-rise that's the most over-elevatored building in the world--viewers experience a few heart-pumping moments as a test elevator is sent into free fall. Once brawny but simple machines, elevators are getting a brainy make¬over. Computer controls, like those in the elevators at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square, are getting passengers to their destinations faster and more safely than ever before. But will the elevator-wary be comfortable handing over the reins to computers?
Dogs Decoded - Tuesday, November 9
Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet, and humans have devel¬oped a unique relationship with these furry friends. We treat our pets like a part of the family, and we feel that they can understand us in a way other animals cannot. Now, new research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emo¬tions. What is surprising, however, is new research showing that humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently? It's all in the genes. Dogs Decoded investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs--with revealing implications for the evolution of human culture as well. NOVA also travels to Siberia, where the mystery of dogs' domestication is being repeated--in foxes. A 50-year-old breeding program is creating an entirely new kind of creature, a tame fox with some surprising similarities to man's best friend. Dogs Decoded reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and spurs new questions about what this could mean for our rela¬tionships with other animal species.
Secrets of Stonehenge - Tuesday, November 16
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued to elude us. Now investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt, and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Bluestonehenge, a prehistoric stone circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.
Quest for Solomon's Mines - Tuesday, November 23
Countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon's mines, trekking through burning deserts and scaling the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant, inspired by the Bible's account of splendid temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper. Yet to date, the evidence that has claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kings in the Bible has been highly contro¬versial. In fact, so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom has been found that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. In the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two cutting-edge field investigations that illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty biblical kingdoms. These ground¬breaking expeditions expose important new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan, includ¬ing ancient remnants of an industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message with the words "slave," "king," and "judge."
Secrets Beneath the Ice - Tuesday, December 28
Almost three miles of ice buries most of Antarctica, cloaking a continent one-and-a-half times the size of the United States. If all that ice melted, seas around the world would rise high enough to flood 12-story skyscrapers in places like New York City. Even a ten percent loss of Antarctica's ice would cause cata-strophic flooding of coastal cities unlike any seen before in human history.
"Secrets Beneath the Ice" explores whether Antarctica's climate past can offer clues to what may happen to our warming planet. Around 14 million years ago Antarctica was mostly ice-free. So when a massive ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapsed in less than one month in 2002, it shocked scientists and raised the alarming possibility that we may be heading toward an Antarctic meltdown.
To gather crucial evidence, NOVA follows an ambitious Antarctic investigation-a state-of-the-art drill-ing probe known as ANDRILL. Drilling deep beneath the Antarctic ice, down through the sea, and three fourths of a mile into the sea floor, ANDRILL recovers rock cores that reveal intimate details of climate and fauna from a time in the distant past when the Earth was just a few degrees warmer than it is today. As researchers grapple with the harshest conditions on the planet, they discover astonishing new clues-not only about Antarctica's past, but also Earth's future. These breakthrough discoveries carry ominous implications for coastal cities around the globe.
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Now in its 37th season, NOVA is the most-watched primetime science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET/PT on WGBH Boston and most PBS stations. The Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.
Funding for NOVA is provided by ExxonMobil, Pacific Life, David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers.
NOVA is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and described for people who are blind or visually impaired by the Media Access Group at WGBH. The descriptive narration is available on the SAP channel or stereo TV and VCRs. To order NOVA direct from WGBH Boston Video, visit shop.wgbh.org or call 800.949.8670.
Posted by News 24/5 at 10:36 AM