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.

Bombing Hitler's Supergun

NOVA Bombing Hitler’s Supergun airs on WSKG TV May 11, 2016 at 9pm. Spring 1943. World War II is slowly beginning to turn in favor of the Allied forces. But, growing desperate, Hitler hatches plans for a diabolical weapon: a bank of “superguns” housed in a massive underground complex in Nazi-occupied northern France. Together the guns would be able to pump 300 heavy high explosive shells into downtown London every hour—a target 100 miles away.

Lethal Seas

NOVA Lethal Seas airs on WSKG TV March 9, 2016 at 9pm. A deadly recipe is brewing that threatens the survival of countless creatures throughout Earth’s oceans. For years, we’ve known that the oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But with high carbon emissions worldwide, this silent killer is entering our seas at a staggering rate, raising the ocean’s acidity. It’s eating away at the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that are the foundation of the web of life.

Rise of the Robots

NOVA Rise of the Robots airs on WSKG TV February 24, 2016 at 9pm. Machines are everywhere. They run our factory assembly lines and make our coffee. But humanoid robots—machines with human-like capabilities—have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until now.

Memory Hackers

NOVA ‘Memory Hackers’ airs on WSKG TV on February 10, 2016 at 9:00pm. 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. But how does it work? For the first time, using cutting edge research, neuroscientists are exploring the precise molecular mechanisms of memory.

Creatures of Light

 (biofluorescent seahorse photo: David Gruber) 
NOVA’s Creatures of Light airs February 3, 2016 at 9pm on WSKG-TV. In the dark depths of the oceans, nearly 90% of all species shine from within. Whether it’s to scare off predators, fish for prey, or lure a mate, the language of light is everywhere in the ocean depths, and scientists are finally starting to decode it. NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to this hidden undersea world where most creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer, or simply glow. Join deep sea scientists who investigate these stunning displays and discover surprising ways to harness nature’s light—from tracking cancer cells to detecting pollution, lighting up cities, and even illuminating the inner workings of our brains.