NOVA

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50 videos in this collection

Doomsday Volcanoes
In April, 2010 the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano turned much of Europe into an ash-strewn no-fly zone, stranding millions of travelers. But was Eyjafjallajokull just the start? Now, an…
Decoding Neanderthals
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans--people physically identical to us today--left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the…
Rise of the Drones
Drones. These unmanned flying robots-some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds-do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic…
Building Pharaoh's Chariot
3,600-year-old reliefs in Egyptian tombs and temples depict pharaohs and warriors proudly riding into battle on horse-drawn chariots. Some historians claim that the chariot launched a technological and strategic revolution,…
Earth From Space
Earth From Space is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing…
Mind of a Rampage Killer
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit…
Meteor Strike
A blinding flash of light streaked across the Russian sky, followed by a shuddering blast strong enough to damage buildings and send more than 1,000 people to the hospital. On…
Ancient Computer
In 1900, a storm blew a boatload of sponge divers off course and forced them to take shelter by the tiny Mediterranean island of Antikythera. Diving the next day, they…
Ground Zero Supertower
NOVA returns to Ground Zero to witness the final chapter in an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit. Ground Zero Supertower examines the new…
Alien Planets Revealed
It's a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b,…
Killer Typhoon
It was the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, whipping the low-lying and densely-populated islands with 200 mph…
Ghosts of Murdered Kings
In the rolling hills of Ireland's County Tipperary, a laborer harvesting peat from a dried-up bog spots the remnants of a corpse and stops his machine just in time, revealing…
Roman Catacomb Mystery
Beneath the streets of Rome lies a city of the dead known as the Catacombs--a labyrinth of tunnels, hundreds of miles long, lined with the neatly laid out tombs of…
Great Cathedral Mystery
The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore--the Duomo--is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome…
Megastorm Aftermath
In October 2012, Megastorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the East Coast, killing hundreds and doing tens of billions of dollars in damage. To many,…
Ben Franklin's Balloons
The first stage in the adventure of human flight began with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th-century Paris, where a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers developed all the essential…
Rise of the Hackers
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious --…
Vaccines: Calling the Shots
Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago-including whooping cough, measles, mumps-are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. Vaccines - Calling…
Fire Wars
Horrific images of wildfires sweeping California in 2010 made headlines around the world, but such scenes are an annual event, and armies of firefighters remain on hand to save threatened…
Japan’s Killer Quake
In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a death toll likely in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses,…
Mystery of the Megaflood
One of the Earth's strangest geological riddles is the evidence for a huge catastrophe that struck eastern Washington State thousands of years ago. It took scientists decades to figure out…
ScienceNow - How Smart are Animals?
Would you care to match wits with a dog, an octopus, a dolphin, or a parrot? You may think twice after watching the segments in this NOVA scienceNOW episode. While…
First Air War
When World War I began in 1914, the air forces of the opposing nations consisted of handfuls of rickety biplanes from which pilots occasionally took pot shots at one another…
Bigger Than T.rex
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to roam the Earth: spectacular fossil bones…
Killer Landslides
Just before 11 a.m. on March 22, 2014, an ominous rumble startled the residents of the community of Oso, Washington, about an hour's drive from Seattle. It was the terrifying…
Emperor's Ghost Army
In central China, a vast underground mausoleum conceals a life-size terracotta army of cavalry, infantry, horses, chariots, weapons, administrators, acrobats, and musicians, all built to serve China's first emperor, Qin…
Chasing Pluto
On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, one of the most advanced ever built, is scheduled to fly by Pluto to take the very first detailed images of the…
Nuclear Meltdown Disaster - Inside the Fukushima Crisis
Four years after one of history's worst nuclear accidents, NOVA reveals the minute-by-minute story of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and its ongoing aftermath, told by the brave workers who stayed…
World in the Balance "China Revs Up"
NOVA takes the pulse of China's hyperactive economy, the fastest-growing in the history of the world. During the last two decades, China clamped down on its population growth through its…
World in the Balance "The People Paradox"
Fast forward to the year 2050.... Will it be a world of sharp, unpredictable climate swings, devastating mass extinctions of plants and animals, chronic shortages of water, and unparalleled human…
Cracking Your Genetic Code
What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA--all three billion chemical letters of it--read, stored, and available for analysis? Cracking Your…
DNA: Secret of Photo 51
On April 25, 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick published their groundbreaking discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. But their crucial breakthrough depended on the pioneering work of…
Judgement Day - Intelligent Design on Trial
In a tiny town of Dover in eastern Pennsylvania, in 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read to their high school biology students a statement that suggested…
Last Extinction - Megabeasts' Sudden Death
What killed the mammoths? Near the end of the last ice age 13,000 years ago, these mighty beasts disappeared from North America together with some 35 other groups of mammals.…
scienceNOW What Makes Us Human?
Scientists have struggled for centuries to pinpoint the qualities that distinguish humans from the millions of other animal species with which we share the vast majority of our DNA. Now,…
scienceNOW Where Did We Come From?
In this episode of NOVA scienceNOW, journey back in time to the birth of our solar system to examine whether the key to our planet's existence might have been the…
Secrets of the Parthenon
For 25 centuries the Parthenon has been shot at, set on fire, rocked by earthquakes, looted for its sculptures, almost destroyed by explosion, and disfigured by well-meaning renovations. It has…
Inside Einstein's Mind
On November 25th, 1915, Einstein published his greatest work: general relativity. The theory transformed our understanding of nature's laws and the entire history of the cosmos, reaching back to the…
Arctic Ghost Ship
NOVA presents an exclusive breakthrough in the greatest unsolved mystery in Arctic exploration. In 1845, British explorer Sir John Franklin set off to chart the elusive Northwest Passage, commanding 128…
Dawn of Humanity
NOVA and National Geographic present exclusive access to a unique discovery of ancient remains. Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting…
Cyberwar Threat
The global cyberwar is heating up and the stakes are no longer limited to the virtual world of computers. Now, thanks in part to secret documents released by Edward Snowden,…
Secrets of Stonehenge
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…
Secrets of Noah's Ark
In 1948, a British pilot serving in Iraq acquired a clay tablet with an intriguing, 3,700 year-old inscription. The ancient writing tells the story of how the god Enki warns…
Colosseum - Roman Death Trap
The Colosseum is a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Its graceful lines and harmonious proportions concealed a highly efficient design and advanced construction methods that made hundreds of…
Hagia Sophia - Istanbul's Mystery
Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its soaring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building…
Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?
The asteroid that exploded over Siberia--injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities--was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the…
Apollo 13 - To the Edge and Back
They were 200,000 miles from Earth when an explosion crippled their spacecraft, stranding them, perhaps forever. Relive the thrilling true story of the catastrophic flight of Apollo 13 and the…
Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped?
Alzheimer's disease strikes at the core of what makes us human: our capacity to think, to love, and to remember. The disease ravages the minds of over 40 million victims…
Secrets of the Viking Sword
Only a select few Vikings carried the ultimate weapon of their era: the feared Ulfberht sword. Fashioned using a process that would remain unknown to the Vikings' rivals for centuries,…
Memory Hackers - The Science Behind Memories
Memory is the glue that binds our mental lives. Without it, we'd be prisoners of the present, unable to use the lessons of the past to change our future. From…

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NOVA - Making North America
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Mighty, elemental forces molded North America. Fiery eruptions, titanic floods, the grinding of great ice sheets, and massive impacts from space all shaped our land. Now, for the first time, NOVA presents a bold and sweeping biography of our continent and how it came to be. This epic story unfolds…
Apollo 13 - To the Edge and Back
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They were 200,000 miles from Earth when an explosion crippled their spacecraft, stranding them, perhaps forever. Relive the thrilling true story of the catastrophic flight of Apollo 13 and the crew's heroic battle against the odds in this NOVA documentary, through first-hand accounts from the pilots, their families, and Mission…
Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?
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The asteroid that exploded over Siberia--injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities--was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, these space rocks have the potential to be…
The Secrets of Saint John Paul 
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BBC broadcaster Edward Stourton was ushered into a room in one of Europe's most celebrated libraries, and shown a pile of papers so sensitive that only a handful knew they existed. They were the intimate letters of a saint-Pope John Paul II-to a Polish-American woman. This documentary reveals these letters…
Jesus' Many Faces
HOUR ONE examines how Judaism and the Roman empire shaped Jesus' life. Jesus was an ordinary Jewish resident of his time, but new archaeological findings show that Jesus was probably not the humble class. Nazareth, where he grew up, was about four miles from the cosmopolitan urban center of Sepphoris,…
A Portrait of Jesus' World
HOUR TWO explores the period after the crucifixion of Jesus and traces the beginnings of the Jesus Movement, in those early years before it was called Christianity: The Jesus Movement began as a sect within Judaism. Along the way, the early Christians branched out and spread their message to non-Jews…
The Story of the Storytellers
HOUR THREE follows the story of the first attempts to write the life of Jesus--the Gospels: The Gospels were products of social and religious reconstruction in the period after the war, ranging from roughly 70 to after 100 C.E. The program looks at how these stories were passed down before…
The First Christians
HOUR FOUR chronicles how the Christian movement - as it became separate from Judaism-would face new challenges--both internal and external. In the period between 100 and 300 C.E., the Christian movement grew throughout the Roman empire. At times there were heated debates about beliefs, worship, and even about Jesus himself.…
FRONTLINE: From Jesus to Christ - The First Christians
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"From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" tells the epic story of the rise of Christianity. The four hours explore the life and death of Jesus, and the men and women whose belief, conviction, and martyrdom created the religion we now know as Christianity. Drawing upon historical evidence, the series…
First Peoples - An Exploration of Human Evolution
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How did the mixing of prehistoric human genes lead the way for survival of our human species? Archaeology, genetics and anthropology cast new light to 200,000 years of human history detailing how early humans thrived from all around the globe.
Americas
Episode 1 of First Peoples
As early humans spread out across the world, their toughest challenge was colonizing the Americas -- because a huge ice sheet blocked the route. It has long been thought that the pioneers, known as Clovis people, arrived about 13,000 years ago, but an underwater discovery in Mexico suggests people arrived…
Africa
Episode 2 of First Peoples
Around 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. DNA from a 19th-century African-American slave is forcing…