Tag Archives: NOVA

New PBS series, “NOVA: Wonders”, hits high notes

NOVA: Wonders is a fresh, lively series that makes complicated concepts accessible while taking a deep dive into the scientific process. Each episode poses a big scientific question and takes viewers along on a journey to explore how far we’ve come in our quest for answers, and how we’ve managed to get here. Among the intriguing topics pondered are the secret language of animals, what’s hidden in the human body, the artificial intelligence technologies that could rival and surpass the abilities of the human mind, the controversial power to engineer life in a lab, and the mysteries of the universe.

The program travels to some unexpected places to look for answers—including deep underwater, where humpback whales are essentially playing a game of “telephone” across the world, with pods teaching each other new songs; deep beneath our skin, where trillions of microbes are living in our bodies; deep below the earth, in mines where researchers are trying to detect elusive dark matter particles; deep into space, where astrophysicists are hunting for signs of extra-terrestrial life, and more.

Three young scientists serve as enthusiastic guides and science communicators. Talithia Williams is a mathematician and statistician who also applies data models to the human body and the environment. She is joined by co-hosts Rana el Kaliouby, a computer scientist developing emotion recognition technology used in artificial intelligence, and André Fenton, a neuroscientist studying the biology of memory. All three set-up the inquiry, demonstrate key aspects of the challenges facing scientists, and ask provocative questions about research carried out on the winding paths of uncertainty and the unknown.

“The Day The Dinosaurs Died” investigates the greatest vanishing act in the history of our planet

Reflecting NOVA’s unparalleled 44-year-old commitment to long-form science programming, this installment examines the latest evidence surrounding one of the greatest mysteries in Earth’s history–the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs.  Through interviews, footage of scientists working at sites around the world and stunning digital recreations of events from 66 million years ago,  NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died vividly brings to life the compelling scientific inquiry around this epic catastrophe.

PBS Distribution releases the program on DVD March 20.  It is also available for digital download.

At the end of the Cretaceous Era, after 170 million years of dominance, more than 700 species of dinosaurs disappeared from the fossil record virtually overnight.  In the 1980s, the hypothesis emerged that an asteroid impact was the catalyst.  But the supporting evidence, including the exact nature of the global chain reaction an asteroid impact may have initiated, has been slowly emerging over decades.  The Day the Dinosaurs Died details the efforts of scientists to flesh out what happened in the days and weeks after the asteroid impact.  Will they find the smoking gun that provides definitive proof?

The program visits an unprecedented, multidisciplinary scientific expedition to drill into the Chicxulub Crater site off the coast of Mexico, the leading suspect for the impact site.   It also travels to South Dakota, Argentina and other sites where paleontologists hunt fossils.  Finally, the program visually reconstructs the hell on earth–tidal waves, dust clouds, sudden mountain formation– that wreaked global havoc and doomed the dinosaurs.