Science Night April 22

Science Night this week celebrates the 25th anniversary of one of NASA’s most beloved projects – the Hubble Space Telescope – on NOVA. Plus: the final installment of Nature’s Animal Homes, and the story of Hitler’s Seigfried Line.

Nature Animal Homes: Animal Cities at 7 pm
For some animals, living in the midst of huge colonies of their own kind is the most secure and rewarding housing arrangement. Icelandic puffins form nesting colonies of more than a million, providing shared information about food sources and reducing the odds of attacks on individual birds. But colonies are useful for predators, too. Social spiders in Ecuador work together to capture prey 20 times the size an individual might subdue on its own.

NOVA Invisible Universe Revealed at 8 pm
Twenty-five years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble’s landmark anniversary, NOVA tells the remarkable story of the telescope that forever changed our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. From its inception through its early days, when a one-millimeter engineering blunder turned the telescope into an object of ridicule, to the five heroic astronaut missions that returned Hubble to the cutting edge of science, NOVA hears from the scientists and engineers on the front line who tell the amazing Hubble story as never before.

Nazi Mega Weapons: The Siegfried Line at 9 pm
Five times the length of Hadrian’s Wall, Hitler’s Siegfried Line was one of the greatest fortifications in the history of warfare. The campaign to breach it took six months and cost the American forces close to 140,000 casualties. This is the story of the men who built it and those who gave their lives fighting to defend it and destroy it.

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.

Science Night April 8

This week on Science Night: Nature takes a closer look at birds’ nests, NOVA investigates a massive terracotta army buried with China’s first emperor to serve him in the afterlife, and Nazi Mega Weapons tells the story of Hitler’s massive battleships.

Nature Animal Homes: The Nest at 7 pm
The first of a three-part series exploring the places animals live, Animal Homes: The Nest takes a look at the vast array of bird nests found in nature and how they’re built. Quite a few contain man-made materials – twine, bits of wire, even plastic bags. Each is a work of art, built with just a beak! All over the world, birds in the wild arrive at diverse nesting grounds to collect, compete for, reject, steal and begin to build with carefully selected materials, crafting homes for the task of protecting their eggs and raising their young.

NOVA Emperor’s Ghost Army at 8 pm
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 Shi Huang Di, in the afterlife. Lost and forgotten for over 2,200 years, this clay army, 8,000-strong, stands poised to help the First Emperor rule again beyond the grave. Now, a new archaeological campaign is probing the thousands of figures entombed in the mausoleum.

Nazi Mega Weapons Hitler’s Megaships at 9 pm
In the quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. With brilliant, dark minds and a legion of captive labor at their disposal, the Nazis believed the path to ultimate victory was to out-build and out-engineer their enemies. This series uncovers the engineering secrets of three iconic mega structures, tells the stories of the evil geniuses that designed them and reveals how these structures sparked a technological revolution that changed warfare forever.

On Hitler’s Megaships: Hitler sees the battleship as the ultimate status symbol for his new Third Reich – and orders the construction of two vessels that are bigger, more powerful and more heavily armored than anything else at sea … but the British will stop at nothing until Hitler’s new mega weapons are at the bottom of the sea.

Science Night 4/1

science-night

Science Night for April 1st features NASA’s Kepler mission and the conclusion of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.

Nova Alien Planets Revealed at 7 pm 
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, might even be able to harbor life. How did we come upon this distant planet? Combining animation with input from expert astrophysicists and astrobiologists, “Alien Planets Revealed” takes viewers on a journey along with the Kepler telescope. How does the telescope look for planets? How many of these planets are like our Earth? Will any of these planets be suitable for life as we know it? Bringing the creative power of veteran animators together with the latest discoveries in planet-hunting, this film shows the successes of the Kepler mission, taking us to planets beyond our solar system and providing a glimpse of creatures we might one day encounter.

 

Cancer: The Emperor Of All Maladies at 8 pm Episode 3 of 3: Finding The Achilles Heel
This episode starts at a moment of optimism: Scientists believe they have cracked the mystery of the malignant cell, and the first targeted therapies have been developed. But very quickly cancer reveals new layers of complexity and a formidable array of defenses. Many call for a new focus on prevention and early detection as the most promising fronts in the war on cancer. By the second decade of the 2000s, the bewildering complexity of the cancer cell yields to a more ordered picture, revealing new vulnerabilities and avenues of attack. Perhaps most exciting is the prospect of harnessing the human immune system to defeat cancer. A 60-year-old NASCAR mechanic with melanoma and a six-year-old with leukemia are pioneers in new immunotherapy treatments, which the documentary follows as their stories unfold.

Science Night 3/25

The week of March 25, KLRU presents the wildlife of Ireland and the secrets of the bible!

Nature Ireland’s Wild River at 7 pm
The Shannon is Ireland’s greatest geographical landmark and the longest river. It passes through a huge palette of rural landscapes, where on little-known backwaters, Ireland’s wild animals and plants still thrive as almost nowhere else.

NOVA The Bible’s Buried Secrets at 8 pm
For the first time, more than a century of literary detective work and decades of archeological excavation in the Holy Land will challenge viewers with provocative new insights, including that most Israelites worshiped pagan gods and many believed that God had a wife, who was venerated as an idol. A story of science, history and faith.

 

Science Night 3/18

Nature Attenborough’s Life Stories: Our Fragile Planet at 7 pm
On “Our Fragile Planet,” Sir David Attenborough reflects on the dramatic impact that human beings have had on the natural world during his lifetime. He tells surprising, entertaining and deeply personal stories of the changes he has seen, the pioneering conservationists in whose footsteps he has followed, and the revolution in attitudes towards nature that has taken place around the globe.

To Catch A Comet at 8 pm
Last November, the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander made history by landing on a comet after 10 years of traveling through space. Learn about this groundbreaking mission on To Catch A Comet at 8 pm.

Rise of the Black Pharaohs at 9 pm.
Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high. Now, in the heart of Sudan, archeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually-driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians’.

Science Night 3/4

Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation “Flying High” at 7pm
A behind-the-scenes look at how Earthflight was made, including the extraordinary relationships between people and birds. Microlights, paragliders, drones, and camera-carrying birds and much more helped along the way.

Nova The Incredible Journey Of The Butterflies at 8:30 pm
Every year, 100 million monarch butterflies set off on an incredible journey across North America. These beautiful creatures fly 2,000 miles to reach their remote destination: a tiny area high in the mountains of Mexico. Yet scientists are still puzzling over how the butterflies achieve this tremendous feat of endurance – and how, year after year, the monarchs navigate with such hair’s-breadth precision. NOVA flies along with the monarchs, visiting the spectacular locations they call home and meeting the dangers they encounter along the way. As this program reveals, the monarch is a scientific marvel locked in an inspiring struggle for survival.

 

Science Night Feb. 25

The Feb. 25 Science Night features wild orangutans, the iconic Hagia Sophia, and Earth’s most important resource — water.

Nature The Last Orangutan Eden at 7 p.m.

Ecologist Chris Morgan (Bears of the Last Frontier) travels to the jungles of Northern Sumatra to document the work being done to save its population of wild orangutans, which is quickly dwindling due to deforestation. Morgan spends time with orphaned orangs at rehabilitation centers observing the process of teaching them the survival skills they’ll need to be released back into the wild. But to truly understand the complexity of a wild orangutan society and the skills the orangs would have learned from their mothers in the wild, Morgan travels to a remote patch of forest also in Northern Sumatra, a peat swamp forest known as Suaq Balimbing. Suaq is in a protected area and part of a World Heritage Site. Working with a team of experienced researchers, he becomes completely immersed in this unique social band of wild orangs who use tools, share food, forage together, and create their own distinct culture. For the first time, advanced cameras are used to follow the orangs throughout the canopy to provide an intimate, clear picture of how these arboreal apes spend their days and nights and interact with one another.

NOVA Hagia Sophia – Istanbul’s Ancient Mystery at 8 p.m.

The soaring dome of Hagia Sophia dominates Istanbul’s skyline. Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, this magnificent building has inspired reverence and awe. For eight hundred years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world; the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its dome with room to spare. How has it survived its location on one of the world’s most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since it was built in 537 AD? As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is urgently investigating Hagia Sophia’s seismic secrets. NOVA follows the team’s discoveries as they examine the building’s unique structure and other ingenious design strategies that have insured the dome’s survival. At the climax to the show, the engineers build a massive 8-ton model of the building’s core structure, place it on a motorized shake table and hit it with a series of simulated quakes, pushing it collapse -a fate that the team is determined to avoid in the real world. The Unshakeable Hagia Sophia is a detective story that reveals how this architectural wonder has proven so resilient for so long, and how it came to serve as a proud expression for the great civilizations that adopted it as a symbol.

Earth A New Wild Water at 9 p.m.

Sanjayan explores humankind’s relationship with the Earth’s most important resource: water. Unraveling dramatic connections between fresh water and the health of the planet, he uncovers spectacular wildlife stories that center on managing the natural pulse of the planet’s water. The episode includes a kayak journey that follows the Colorado River to the sea; the elephants and people at the singing wells of Kenya; the surprising connection between AIDS and a small fish in Lake Malawi; and a look at how hunters in America saved one of the greatest gatherings of birds on the continent.

Science Night Feb. 18

Sculptors and archaeologists team up in an attempt to solve the mysteries of the lost city of Petra. Plus, a look at how owls’ keen senses work and an investigation of Earth’s oceans and the threats they face on the Feb. 18 Science Night.

Nature Owl Power at 7 p.m.

For centuries, owls have been fascinating hallmarks of children’s stories and folk tales the world over. What actually makes owls so special? Using the camera technology, computer graphics, x-rays and ultra-microscopes available in the modern world, take a new look at owls in more detail than ever before. The real stories behind how they hunt, how their vision and hearing work, and how they fly so silently are influencing 21st-century technology and design, from high-tech aircraft and submarines to innovative hearing aids.

NOVA Petra — Lost City Of Stone at 8 p.m.

More than two thousand years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants whose camel caravans transported incense and spices across hundreds of miles from the Arabian Gulf. They carved spectacular temple-tombs into its soaring cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple at its heart, and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains, and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra’s unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly a thousand years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone. And beyond Petra’s city of the dead, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes discover a city of the living-complete with a water system that not only supplied 30,000 people with enough to drink, but also filled bathhouses, fountains, and pools with such abundance that some scholars believe this desert metropolis may have been the Las Vegas of the ancient world. The race is on to discover how these nomads created this oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on earth, and ultimately, why Petra disappeared.

Earth A New Wild Oceans at 9 p.m.

Starting on the most pristine reef on Earth, home to more predators than prey, Sanjayan draws on his own ocean experiences to reveal a vibrant community of scientists, engineers and fishermen who are providing solutions that can help restore the oceans in astonishing ways. He is aware of the vast scale of the threat to our oceans, but standing in the water playing midwife to a large lemon shark is just one of the moments that give him hope that we can turn around our influence on the most important habitat on Earth.

Science Night Feb. 11

Nature takes a look at some of the animal kingdom’s most unlikely friendships, NOVA recreates the ancient techniques of the Roman Colosseum and Earth A New Wild ventures deep into the world’s forests for the Feb. 11 Science Night.

Nature Odd Animal Couples at 7 p.m.

A tiger cub with no mother in sight. A baby hippo. An abandoned meerkat pup. Without nurturing, these infants face certain death. Enter stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable: a chimp bottle-feeding a tiger cub; a giant tortoise snuggling a baby hippo; a black crow parenting a meerkat. Aberrations of nature? Instincts gone awry? Does this kind of bonding form only when animals are removed from their natural environments? Or are they evidence of a broad array of emotions among animals? This film will look at these remarkable relationships firsthand, and through caregivers, biologists and animal behaviorists, explore what they suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

NOVA Colosseum — Roman Death Trap at 8 p.m.

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 arches out of 100,000 tons of stone. In its elliptical arena, tens of thousands of gladiators, slaves, prisoners and wild animals met their deaths. Ancient texts report lions and elephants emerging from beneath the floor, as if by magic, to ravage gladiators and people condemned to death. Then, just as quickly, the Colosseum could be flooded with so much water that ships could engage in sea battles. Could these legends be true? Now, with access to one of the world’s most protected world heritage sites, archaeologists and engineers team up to re-create ancient Roman techniques to build a 25-foot lifting machine and trap-door system capable of releasing a wolf into the Colosseum’s arena for the first time in 1,500 years.

Earth A New Wild Forests at 9 p.m.

Journey deep into the great forests of Earth for a new way of looking at these wild places and the animals that live there. Sanjayan travels into an uncharted area of the Amazon that scientists believe is the most bio-diverse place on Earth. From there he follows unique animal behavior in Alaska’s Great Bear Rainforest and then meets the farmers in Portugal’s cork forests. Frightening elephant battles are exploding on the edge of the forest in Sumatra; in the Amazon, ancient remains are helping change our perception of how to value the world’s great forests.