Science Night 1/29

Nature The Funkiest Monkeys at 7 pm
Twenty-five years ago, filmmaker Colin Stafford-Johnson (recently the central character in NATURE’s Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey) travelled to Sulawesi in Indonesia and fell in love with crested black macaques. These feisty monkeys are beach bums with punk hairstyles, expressive faces, copper colored eyes and some very unusual habits, making them some of the most charismatic of all monkeys. They only exist on this one island. Learning that their numbers have dropped dramatically, he makes a return visit to find out why and to see if he can help. Teaming up with a local expert and making a film about them and their plight allows him to share their story with the local schools and communities in the hope that a new understanding of the wonderful creatures in their midst will make them want to help, as well.

NOVA Ghosts Of Murdered Kings at 8 pm
NOVA follows archaeologists and forensic experts in Ireland’s County Tipperary in their methodical hunt for clues to the identity and the circumstances of various violent deaths of bog body victims. A new theory emerges that they are those of ritually murdered kings, gruesomely slain to assure the fertility of land and people.

Hawking at 9 pm
This is the intimate and revealing story of Stephen Hawking’s life. Told for the first time in Hawking’s own words and with unique access to his home and public life, this is a personal journey through Hawking’s world. The audience joins him at home, under the care of his nursing team; in San Jose as he “wows” a packed theatre audience; in Silicon Valley as he meets a team of technicians who hope to speed up his communication system; and as he throws a party for family and friends. HAWKING also carefully tells Hawking’s life journey, from boyhood under-achiever to PhD genius, and from a healthy cox on the Oxford rowing team to diagnosis of motor neuron disease, given just two years to live yet surviving several close brushes with death. The film also highlights his greatest scientific discoveries and plots his rise to fame and superstardom.

 

Science Night 1/22

Nature Meet The Coywolf at 7 pm
The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a hauntingly beautiful carnivore found increasingly on the streets of North American cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. The story of how it came to be begins in Canada but by no means ends there. It is a tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. New York wildlife biologist Roland Kay is fascinated by this new hybrid, the product of a shifting gene pool that is now stabilizing. Kays tracks and photographs coywolves with remote motion sensor cameras, collects road kill and scat, and obtains tissue and bone samples from fur trappers, hunters, and others to unravel the mysteries that define this new species.

NOVA Killer Typhoon at 8 pm
It was the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan — what some are calling “the perfect storm” — slammed into the Philippines, whipping the low-lying and densely-populated islands with 200 mile-per-hour winds and sending a two-story-high storm surge flooding into homes, schools, and hospitals. It wiped villages off the map and devastated cities, including the hard-hit provincial capital Tacloban. Estimates count more than 5,000 dead and millions homeless. What made Haiyan so destructive? In-depth interviews with the meteorologists charged with tracking and forecasting Pacific storms take us inside the anatomy of the typhoon, tracking its progress from its start as a low-pressure area over Micronesia to its deadly landfall and revealing why the Pacific is such fertile ground for cyclones. But that’s just part of the story of why this storm was so deadly. With crews on the ground within days of the storm, NOVA reveals how conditions dramatically deteriorated in the storm’s aftermath, as impassable roads and shuttered gas stations paralyzed the critical relief effort, leaving lifesaving food, water, and medicine to pile up at the airport. Disaster preparedness experts and relief workers scramble to understand why the Philippines was so vulnerable when other countries, like India, have successfully slashed storm casualty counts in recent years. As climate change and sea level rise threaten millions of the world’s most impoverished people with stronger, and perhaps more frequent, storms, how can we prepare for the next monster typhoon?

Chasing Shackleton Episode #103 at 9 pm
Following the successful sea crossing from Elephant Island, Tim Jarvis must now traverse the mountains of South Georgia to complete his re-enactment of Shackleton’s ‘double’. But injury, illness and bad weather are against him — the carefully picked team of eight shrinks to just three, leaving Tim, Royal Marine Baz Gray and sailor Paul Larsen to finish the job. Racing through a narrow weather window, and without a proper support team, they battle high winds, bad visibility, deadly crevasse fields and impossible climbs – even reliving Shackleton’s famous glissade down the Tridents — to finally reach their goal Stromness, and walk in to a hero’s welcome.

Science Night 1/15

NOVA Zeppelin Terror Attack at 8 pm
NOVA reveals the untold story of the biggest flying machines ever made: Germany’s war zeppelins, which rained down death on British towns for two and a half terrifying years during World War I. In hands-on experiments, NOVA uncovers how the zeppelins were built and flown, and goes inside the desperate scramble to take down the zeppelins and make the streets of Britain safe again.

Nature The Private Life Of Deer at 9 pm
From our kitchen windows we spot them, nibbling away at our gardens and shrubs. They wander along our highways, reminders of the wilderness we have paved our way through. From coast to coast some 30 million white-tailed deer make their home in the United States. But once they retreat from our view, where do they go? What secrets do they carry back into the forest, away from our prying eyes? Deer are among the most highly-studied mammals in the world; but does any typical homeowner with deer in the yard know how long a deer can live? When they sleep? How many babies a doe can have each year? Working with scientists, special camera equipment, and deer experts and devotees of every kind, Nature reveals the hidden world of white-tailed deer in a whole new light.

Chasing Shackleton Episode #102 at 9 pm
Battered by storms and blinded by thick fog, world record speed sailor and renowned racing skipper Paul Larsen attempts to navigate the notorious Southern Ocean using only a sextant and compass. And extreme filmmaker Ed Wardle risks all to pick up where Shackleton’s cameraman left off and record for the first time, how Shackleton and his men managed to survive against all the odds.

 

Science Night 1/8

Nature Legendary White Stallions at 7 pm
This story of the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions focuses on the bond that develops between the horses and their caregivers, beginning at the moment of their birth and culminating in the perfect harmony between horse and rider demonstrated at the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. Their carefully choreographed movements were originally developed for the training of war horses; only the strongest and most athletic horses qualified. The Lipizzaner stallion is bred for its courage, strength and character, but the horse is also gentle, sensitive, and exceptionally responsive to praise.

NOVA Aliens Planets Revealed at 8 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.

Chasing Shackleton Episode 1 at 9 pm
Veteran polar explorer, Tim Jarvis, is on a mission to discover exactly what happened on the most famous survival story in expedition history – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 800 nautical mile boat journey across the Southern Ocean and deadly mountain crossing of South Georgia. He’s recruited five of the world’s toughest explorers to wear 1914 clothes, eat basic rations and sail in a perfect replica of the tiny wooden boat Shackleton travelled in. They launch from Elephant Island but are hit by a fierce storm. As the crew battle freezing temperatures, a leaking boat and sea-sickness they lose all contact with their tracking vessel and suddenly find themselves in their worst nightmare: lost at sea.

Science Night 12/25

Nature Christmas In Yellowstone at 7 pm
As snow falls and Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, a holiday season of a different sort settles in just beyond the town, in the great winter world of Yellowstone. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes of wolves and coyotes, elk and bison, bears and otters as they make their way through their most challenging season of the year. NATURE journeys in the footsteps of the men who first explored the park, and travels with their modern-day counterpart on his own journey of discovery. From the unique crystals of individual snowflakes to the grand sweep of Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other.

NOVA Building The Great Cathedrals at 8 pm
Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spiderweb of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. But how did medieval builders reach such spectacular heights? Consuming the labor of entire towns, sometimes taking 100 years to build, these architectural marvels were crafted from just hand tools and stone. Many now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, an international team of engineers, architects, art historians and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell towers for clues to how the dream of these heavenly temples on earth came true. NOVA’s teams perform hands-on experiments to investigate and reveal the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their soaring, glass-filled walls. This program reveals the hidden formulas, drawn from the pages of the Bible itself, that drove medieval builders ever upward.

Comet Encounter at 9 pm
Comets have fascinated, even terrified us for thousands of years. Traditionally seen as harbingers of doom, they can influence some people even to this day. For scientists though, comets are a great opportunity. This year a particularly massive chunk of ice and rock is hurtling our way, an object that will fascinate billions and should create the space show of the century. Right now Comet ISON, somewhere between one and 10 kilometers in diameter, is just beyond the orbit of Jupiter. As it races past us toward the sun it should develop a tail that will light up the skies brighter than a full moon. Then the comet will slingshot around the back of the sun and could emerge brighter than ever, treating the entire northern hemisphere to an unforgettable sight. It could even be visible in daylight. Simultaneously astronomers will be able to glean vital clues on the origins of our solar system. In this program, scientists all over the world follow a once-in-a-lifetime event and shoot breath-taking images of the sun-grazer comet, spewing its essence into the void. But there is jeopardy too; the comet could evaporate completely or the sun’s massive gravity could tear it apart. If the latter happens it will produce a so-called “string of pearls,” several much smaller comets arching right across the night sky.

 

Science Night 12/18

Nature Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo at 7 pm
Wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner captures how wolves and buffalo live together in what seems like a forgotten corner of the world.

NOVA Extreme Ice at 8 pm
NOVA follows the exploits of acclaimed photojournalist James Balog and a scientific team as they deploy time-lapse cameras in risky, remote locations in the Arctic, Alaska, and the Alps.The goal of Balog’s team’s perilous expedition: to create a unique photo archive of melting glaciers that could provide a key to understanding their runaway behavior and their potential to drive rising sea levels. In this high-action scientific adventure, NOVA investigates the mystery of the mighty ice sheets that will affect the fate of coastlines around the world.

Life on Fire Icelandic Volcanoes at 9 pm
The 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano provoked economic chaos, paralyzing air traffic for days. This eruption, however, was mild. Much more powerful volcanoes in Iceland are ready to wake up. Through spectacular aerial footage of this country, which is an accumulation of lava and ash, a maze of craters and faults, the episode tries to discern which volcano will awaken next.

 

Science Night 12/4

Nature Animal Odd Couples at 7 pm
Love apparently knows no boundaries in the animal kingdom. Despite the odds, there are countless stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable. Instincts gone awry? NATURE investigates why animals form these special bonds and what these relationships suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

NOVA Making Stuff Safer at 8 pm
Host David Pogue examines groundbreaking research that aims to keep us out of harm’s way.

Science Night 11/27

Nature My Life as a Turkey at 7 pm
After a local farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch, his life was forever changed. Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother.


Nature An Original DUCKumentary at 8 pm
Masters of the water and air, they have conquered the globe. From deft dabblers to great divers, these are one of the Animal Kingdom’s ultimate athletes. Take a fascinating look at one of our most familiar birds.


Nature The Private Life Of Deer at 9 pm
From our kitchen windows we spot them, nibbling away at our gardens and shrubs. They wander along our highways, reminders of the wilderness we have paved our way through. From coast to coast some 30 million white-tailed deer make their home in the United States. But once they retreat from our view, where do they go? What secrets do they carry back into the forest, away from our prying eyes? Deer are among the most highly-studied mammals in the world; but does any typical homeowner with deer in the yard know how long a deer can live? When they sleep? How many babies a doe can have each year? Working with scientists, special camera equipment, and deer experts and devotees of every kind, NATURE reveals the hidden world of white-tailed deer in a whole new light.

Science Night 11/20

NOVA At The Edge Of Space at 7 pm
Between the blue sky above us and the infinite blackness of space lies a frontier that scientists have only just begun to investigate. In “At the Edge of Space,” NOVA takes viewers on aN exploration of the earth-space boundary zone that’s home to some of nature’s most puzzling and alluring phenomena: the shimmering aurora, streaking meteors, and fleeting flashes that shoot upwards from thunderclouds, known as sprites. Only discovered in 1989, sprites have eluded capture because they flicker into existence for a mere split-second — 40 times faster than an eye blink. In a high-flying weather observation plane, we ride with scientists as they hunt for sprites and finally succeed in snaring them in 3D video, gaining vital clues to unraveling their mystery. Combining advanced video technology with sequences shot from the International Space Station, this film probes the enigmas of the boundary zone and brings viewers an intriguing new viewpoint on their planet.

NOVA Asteroid: Doomsday Or Payday? at 8 pm
The asteroid that exploded in the skies over Siberia injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, the space rocks called asteroids have the potential to be killers: in a collision with Earth, they could set off deadly blast waves, raging fires and colossal tidal waves. But some audacious entrepreneurs look up at asteroids and see payday, not doomsday. That’s because some asteroids are loaded with billions of dollars-worth of elements like iron, nickel and even platinum. While NASA plans an ambitious mission to return samples from a potentially hazardous asteroid, would-be asteroid miners are dreaming up their own program to scout for potentially profitable asteroids. Will asteroids turn out to be our economic salvation — or instruments of extinction?

Comet Encounter at 9 pm
Comets have fascinated, even terrified us for thousands of years. Traditionally seen as harbingers of doom, they can influence some people even to this day. For scientists though, comets are a great opportunity. This year a particularly massive chunk of ice and rock is hurtling our way, an object that will fascinate billions and should create the space show of the century. Right now Comet ISON, somewhere between one and 10 kilometers in diameter, is just beyond the orbit of Jupiter. As it races past us toward the sun it should develop a tail that will light up the skies brighter than a full moon. Then the comet will slingshot around the back of the sun and could emerge brighter than ever, treating the entire northern hemisphere to an unforgettable sight. It could even be visible in daylight. Simultaneously astronomers will be able to glean vital clues on the origins of our solar system. In this program, scientists all over the world follow a once-in-a-lifetime event and shoot breath-taking images of the sun-grazer comet, spewing its essence into the void. But there is jeopardy too; the comet could evaporate completely or the sun’s massive gravity could tear it apart. If the latter happens it will produce a so-called “string of pearls,” several much smaller comets arching right across the night sky.

Science Night 11/13

Nature Parrot Confidential at 7 pm
Meet Lou. Abandoned in a foreclosed home, Lou is one of thousands of parrots in need of rescue. From the wilds of Costa Rica to suburban America, a loveable, quirky cast of parrots reveal their unforgettable tales and the bittersweet world they share with humans. Their outrageous intelligence and uncanny ability to communicate in any language has made parrots one of the world’s most popular pets. But unlike dogs and cats, parrots have not been domesticated. Hard wired for the wild, their ear-shattering squawks and unpredictable behavior are designed for the rain forest, not the suburbs. Add a lifespan of 50 plus years to their intense need to bond and a life in captivity often ends in disaster. With shelters and sanctuaries bursting at the seams, too many birds like Lou have no place to go.

NOVA Cold Case JFK at 8 pm
For decades, the assassination of John F. Kennedy has fueled dark rumors of conspiracies and mishandled evidence. Now, 50 years later, NOVA asks: Could modern investigators do better? We’ll see how state-of-the art forensic tools would be applied to the investigation were it to happen today. At the same time, NOVA takes a critical look at contemporary cases, like the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, to reveal how charges of evidence mishandling and human error can mar even scientifically sophisticated detective work. Will forensics ever be truly foolproof, or does modern technology just give a scientific sheen to a practice that will always be more art than science?

Secrets of the Dead JFK: One PM Central Standard Time at 9 pm
Fifty years after the tragic shooting of President John F. Kennedy, this episode chronicles minute-by-minute the assassination as it was revealed in the CBS newsroom from the moment the President was shot until Walter Cronkite’s emotional pronouncement of his death, one hour and eight minutes later. The drama of “One P.M. Central Standard Time” — the episode title is taken from the time President Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital — is played out amidst the chaos in Dallas, in the hospital, and in the CBS newsroom in New York. Included in the program will be moving memories from men and women who were there on the day — in Dallas and New York.