The Origami Revolution

NOVA The Origami Revolution airs on WSKG TV February 15, 2017 at 9pm

 

The tradition of folding two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional shapes is now at the heart of a scientific revolution. Engineers are discovering how, by adopting the principles of origami, they are able to reshape the world around us… and even within us. The rules of folding are at the heart of many natural phenomena, from how leaves blossom to how beetles fly. But now, origami is being adopted in designing new drugs, micro-robots, even future space missions! With this burgeoning field of origami-inspired design, the question is: can the mathematics of origami be boiled down to one elegant algorithm – a fail-proof guidebook to make any object out of a flat surface, just by folding?

Ultimate Cruise Ship

NOVA Ultimate Cruise Ship airs on WSKG-TV February 8, 2017 at 9pm

Weighing 54,000 gross tons and stretching over two football fields, the Seven Seas Explorer is no ordinary boat. Join pioneering shipbuilders as they endeavor to build the ultimate commercial cruise ship. Decorated with the finest gold, marble, and crystal, it is designed to offer guests the roomiest accommodations of any cruise ship. But building such opulence is no easy feat; NOVA follows a pioneering team of ship builders as they embark on what is advertised to be a milestone in engineering.

Search for the Super Battery

Search for the Super Battery airs on WSKG-TV on February 1, 2017 at 9pm

We live in an age when technological innovation is soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets improve, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries remain finicky, bulky, expensive, toxic and maddeningly short-lived. But the quest is on for a “super battery,” and the stakes in this hunt are much higher than the phone in your pocket. With climate change looming, electric cars and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power could hold keys to a greener future if we can engineer the perfect battery. David Pogue explores the hidden world of energy storage, from the power (and danger) of the lithium-ion batteries we use today, to the bold innovations that could one day charge our world. What does the future of batteries mean for our gadgets, our lives and our planet? Might the lowly battery be the breakthrough technology that changes everything?

The Nuclear Option

NOVA The Nuclear Option airs on WSKG TV January 11, 2017 at 9pm

Five years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the unprecedented trio of meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, scientists and engineers are struggling to control an ongoing crisis. What’s next for Fukushima? What’s next for Japan? And what’s next for a world that seems determined to jettison one of our most important carbon-free sources of energy? Despite the catastrophe—and the ongoing risks associated with nuclear—a new generation of nuclear power seems poised to emerge the ashes of Fukushima.

Secrets of the Sky Tombs

NOVA Secrets of the Sky Tombs airs on WSKG-TV January 4, 2017 at 9pm. A team of scientists and explorers probe high altitude caves in the Tibetan Himalayas looking for clues to how humans found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted their bodies to survive.  Along the way they discover evidence of ritual burials, thousands of years old: skeletons, mummies, and evidence of practices designed to ward off ancient vampires and even zombies. The towering Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that humanity settled. Scaling sheer cliff sides, a team of daring scientists hunts for clues to how ancient people found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted to survive the high altitude.

Explore the World of Chemistry with NOVA: Hunting the Elements

Looking for resources for your class?  Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? Elements are the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphone. To unlock their secrets, NOVA’s Hunting the Elements spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, and the universe’s most abundant- and rarest- elements. This collection will allow you and your students to explore this fascinating chemical landscape and take a tour across the periodic table.

Great Human Odyssey

Great Human Odyssey airs on WSKG TV October 5, 2016 at 9 p.m.

Our ancient human ancestors once lived only in Africa, then spread rapidly to every corner of the planet. How did we acquire the skills, technology and talent to thrive in every environment on earth? How did our prehistoric forebears cross the Sahara on foot, survive frigid ice ages, and sail to remote Pacific islands? “Great Human Odyssey” is a spectacular global journey following their footsteps out of Africa along a trail of fresh scientific clues. With unique glimpses of today’s Kalahari hunters, Siberian reindeer herders, and Polynesian navigators, we discover amazing skills that hint at how our ancestors survived and prospered long ago.

School of the Future

NOVA School of the Future airs on WSKG TV September 14, 2016 at 9pm. In a new age of information, rapid innovation, and globalization, how can we prepare our children to compete? Once the envy of the world, American schools are now in trouble. How can the latest research help us fix education in America? Can the science of learning—including new insights from neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators—reveal how kids’ brains work and tell us which techniques are most likely to engage and inspire growing minds?

Anatomy of Fireworks

Fireworks have changed a great deal in the 1,000 years since they were first developed in China. The primary chemical component in nearly all fireworks is “black powder.” The recipe for black powder, a mixture of 75 percent saltpeter (potassium nitrate), 15 percent charcoal, and 10 percent sulfur, originated in China about 1,000 years ago with a slightly different proportion of ingredients. Black powder has been used in loud and fiery displays ever since–first to ward off evil spirits, and later to entertain and celebrate. Today’s fireworks rely on black powder for two critical functions. Gas released when the powder combusts first propels the firework skyward and later blasts its contents outward into the elaborate patterns that spectators come to see.