Science Night April 15

This week on Science Night: Not a “math person”? This week’s episode of NOVA might change that. The Great Math Mystery at 8 pm reveals how prevalent math is in our existence. Plus, Nature continues its look at animal homes, and Kamikaze investigates Japan’s WWII suicide bombers and their weapons.

Nature Animal Homes: Location, Location, Location at 7 pm
Finding a good base of operations is key to successfully raising a family. One must find the right stream or tree, the right building materials, neighbors and sometimes tenants. In the wild, every home is a unique DIY project, every head of household a designer and engineer. Cameras chart the building plans and progress of beavers, tortoises, hummingbirds and woodrats, examining layouts and cross sections, evaluating the technical specs of their structures, documenting their problem-solving skills. Animal architecture provides insights into animal consciousness, creativity and innovation.

NOVA The Great Math Mystery at 8 pm
We discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson, and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where does math get its power? Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the ultimate riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery? Humankind’s clever trick, or the language of the universe? The Great Math Mystery is a show for everyone: whether we think we’re good with numbers or not, we all use math in our daily lives. The Great Math Mystery sheds fascinating light on how math works in our brains and ponders the ultimate mystery of why it works so well when decoding the universe.

Kamikaze at 9 pm
As America threatened to invade Japan in 1944, the Japanese turned to desperate tactics: kamikaze suicide bombers. Now, experts are uncovering the clues to the terrifying weapons Japan sent into war: killer planes, rocket bombs and super torpedoes, all guided by human pilots. Exploring Japan’s coast, the experts uncover caves, overgrown bunkers and top-secret bases that hide the secrets to how kamikaze weapons were built and launched.