Science Night 3/20

NatureThe Loneliest Animals” at 7 pm
The loneliest animals are the most endangered species on the planet. Collected and protected by dedicated scientists, these animals represent the end of the line for their species. In many cases, intensive captive breeding programs have been launched with the aim of sustaining these animals and the hope of returning them to the wild. Viewers will be taken into high-security, high-tech labs where scientists attempt to breed new generations and into the field to discover what forces have led to the demise of entire species. Featured animals include Yangtze turtles under 24-hour surveillance; a baby Sumatran rhino; a special collection of lemurs; the Spix’s macaw, a bird declared extinct in the wild in 2000; and “Lonesome George,” a giant tortoise from the Galapagos, who is the last of his kind.

NOVASmartest Machine On Earth at 8 pm
What’s so special about human intelligence and will scientists ever build a computer that rivals the flexibility and power of a human brain? In “Artificial Intelligence,” NOVA takes viewers inside an IBM lab where a crack team has been working for nearly three years to perfect a machine that can answer any question. The scientists hope their machine will be able to beat expert contestants in one of the USA’s most challenging TV quiz shows — Jeopardy, which has entertained viewers for over four decades. “Artificial Intelligence” presents the exclusive inside story of how the IBM team developed the world’s smartest computer from scratch. Now they’re racing to finish it for a special Jeopardy airdate in February 2011. They’ve built an exact replica of the studio at its research lab near New York and invited past champions to compete against the machine, a big black box code — named Watson after IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson. But will Watson be able to beat out its human competition?

Secrets of the DeadThe World’s Biggest Bomb at 9 pm
Beginning in the 1950s, American and Soviet scientists engaged in a dangerous race to see who could build and detonate the world’s largest bomb.