Science Night: 10/5

Nature: Dogs That Changed The World – Part 1
From the tiniest Chihuahua to the largest St. Bernard, all dogs claim the wolf as their ancestor.  Using DNA analysis and other research, scientists have now pieced together the puzzle of canine evolution, creating a fascinating picture of some of the essential dogs vital to the canine population. Part one chronicles the evolution of dogs and how they infiltrated human society.

NOVA: Building The Great Cathedrals

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.

NOVA: Quest For Solomon’s Mines

Inspired by the Bible’s account of the splendor of his temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper, countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon’s mines. They have trekked through burning deserts and scaled the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant. Yet to date, the evidence that’s been claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kingdoms in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, there is so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. During the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two groundbreaking expeditions to expose new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan: the ancient remnants of a mass industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message from the past with the words “slave,” “king” and “judge.” These cutting-edge investigations illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty Biblical kingdoms.

Science Night 9/28

Wednesday Science Night presents

Nature: Hummingbirds: Magic In The Air 7 pm
Hummingbirds represent one of nature’s most interesting paradoxes — they are the tiniest of birds, yet they qualify as some of the toughest and most energetic creatures on the planet. New knowledge gained from scientists currently making great breakthroughs in hummingbird biology makes this a perfect time to focus on these shimmering, flashing jewels of the natural world. Stunningly beautiful high-definition, high speed footage of hummingbirds in the wild combined with high-tech presentations of their remarkable abilities help us to understand the world of hummingbirds as we never have before.

NOVA: Japan’s Killer Quake 8 pm
In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a rising death toll in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear reactor meltdowns. The facts and figures are astonishing. The March 11th earthquake was the world’s fourth largest earthquake since record keeping began in 1900 and the worst ever to shake Japan. The seismic shock wave released over 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth’s axis by 6 inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The tsunami slammed Japan’s coast with 30 feet-high waves that traveled 6 miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes. JAPAN’S KILLER QUAKE combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe.

Surviving The Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation 9 pm
The earthquake that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was recorded at magnitude 9.0 the worst ever to strike Japan. It generated an unprecedented tsunami, obliterating coastal villages and towns in a matter of minutes. Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured it all on video, including remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined. As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after-the-fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons in survival and how we should all act in the face of life threatening disasters.

Science Night: Clever Monkeys 9/14

Wednesday Science Night presents

Nature: Clever Monkeys 7 pm on September 14th
Love, language, guilt, envy, generosity, secrets, lies and sophisticated society are not unique to humans. We share those complex traits with our relatives — the monkeys. Following along as the babies of two different species are reared, viewers learn how and what monkeys teach their young. Monkeys around the world rely on that knowledge to adapt to the remarkable variety of environments they now call home. Who are the cleverest monkeys? And how much of human experience do they really share?

Science Night: Aftermath of September 11 9/7

Wednesday Science Night on September 7th spotlights the aftermath of September 11th from a scientific stance by examining the restoration of a destroyed wildlife habitat in the Middle East and the construction of the new Freedom Tower and World Trade Center Memorial.

Nature: Braving Iraq 7 pm
In the early 1990s, Saddam Hussein destroyed the Mesopotamian Marshes when its inhabitants rebelled against him. Once the richest wildlife habitat in the Middle East, this beautiful “Garden of Eden” was reduced to mile after mile of scorched earth and was thought to have been destroyed forever. But one man is making an extraordinary effort to restore both animals and people to the scene of one of the greatest ecocides of the 20th century. Is it a dream too far? Can man and animal live again in what remains one of the most politically troubled and dangerous places on earth?

Nova: Engineering Ground Zero 8 pm
This program is an epic story of engineering, innovation and the perseverance of the human spirit. With extraordinary access granted by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, “Rebuilding Ground Zero” follows the five-year construction of the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center Memorial. NOVA captures the behind-the-scenes struggle of architects and engineers with the pressures of a tight schedule, the demands of practical office space and efficient, “green” architecture and the public’s expectations of a fitting site for national remembrance. In September 2011, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, this program will culminate with the topping off ceremony at the Freedom Tower and the opening of the memorial.

Science Night: Becoming Human 8/31

Wednesday Science Night presents a comprehensive three-part, NOVA special investigating explosive new discoveries that are transforming the picture of how we became human.

NOVA Becoming Human: The First Steps 7 pm
In part one, “First Steps,” examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of “Selam,” also known as “Lucy’s Child.” Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA’s cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers “inside the skull” to show how our ancestors’ brains had begun to change from those of the apes.

NOVA Becoming Human: Birth of Humanity 8 pm
The second segment, “Birth of Humanity,” the second program, tackles the mysteries of how our ancestors managed to survive in a savannah teeming with vicious predators, and when and why we first left our African cradle to colonize every corner of the earth. NOVA investigates the first skeleton that really looks like us–”Turkana Boy”–an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya. These early humans are thought to have developed key innovations that helped them thrive, including hunting large prey, the use of fire, and extensive social bonds.

NOVA Becoming Human: Last Human Standing 9 pm
In the final program, “Last Human Standing,” NOVA probes a wave of dramatic new evidence, based partly on cutting-edge DNA analysis, that reveals new insights into how we became today’s creative and “behaviorally modern” humans and what really happened to the enigmatic Neanderthals who faded into extinction. How did modern humans take over the world? New evidence suggests that they left Africa and colonized the rest of the globe far earlier, and for different reasons, than previously thought.

Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That "Cool Cat Week"

Cat in the Hat wearing a flower in "Flower Power."

The Fun-loving Cat and company travel and learn about cold places in four episodes of THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT airing Monday, July 25 through Thursday, July 28, with an encore presentation of “Flower Power” on Friday, July 29th on KLRU.

“Flower Power”/“Snowman’s Land” – Monday, July 25, 2011

“Flight of the Penguin”/“Let’s Go Fly a Kite” – Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“A Long Winter’s Nap”/“The Tree Doctor” – Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Reindeer Games”/“Along Came a Spider” – Thursday, July 28, 2011

* ENCORE PRESENTATION: “Flower Power”/“Snowman’s Land” – Friday, July 29, 2011

Science Night: Conquest 7/20

Wednesday Science Night investigates the early conquests into territories all over the world from the Amazon to Peru, and uncovers all new facts that could change the records of history. 

Secrets of the Dead Lost in the Amazon 7 pm
This program is a modern day quest to find the truth behind one of exploration’s greatest mysteries: what happened to famed adventurer Col. Percy Fawcett, who went looking for a city of gold — the Lost City of “Z” — in the Amazon in 1925 and disappeared in the jungles of Brazil forever. The program unravels the truth of what really happened to Fawcett and shares surprising finds that are causing experts to re-think the image of a pristine uninhabited Amazon rainforest. Trekking along the paths that Fawcett followed, the search for clues ends at a Xinguano-Kuikuro village in the heart of the Mato Grosso: where a new archaeological discovery may reveal the true location of the Lost City of Z.

NOVA The Great Inca Rebellion 8 pm
In an impoverished suburb of Lima, in an ancient cemetery crammed with more than 1,000 pre-Columbian mummies, Peruvian archaeologist Guillermo Cock makes a startling find. He discovers dozens of corpses that differ from all the rest: they were hastily buried and disfigured by appalling wounds and fractures inflicted by steel blades and crude bullets. The battle turns out to be a decisive turning point that helps explain a long-standing mystery about the Spanish conquest of Peru. With the help of this new evidence from the Lima cemetery, NOVA reveals the untold final chapter of the conquest: not the Spanish walkover familiar from popular accounts, but rather a protracted and complex war of astonishing brutality that almost led to the Spanish losing their precarious foothold in the Andes.

Secrets of the Dead Aztec Massacre at 9 pm
Throughout recent times, historians have believed that when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Aztec territory in the 15th century, they were welcomed as returning light-skinned gods by the Aztecs, who put up little resistance to their conquest. But now, a new find outside of Mexico City is turning history on its head. The discovery: more than 400 bodies, many of which show signs of having been mutilated and even eaten. More important, more than 40 of the bodies appear to be European, indicating that the Aztecs not only resisted the invaders, they sacrificed them to their gods, pulling their still-beating hearts from chests and stringing their heads (along with the heads of their horses) on wooden skull racks for public display. This program paints a new picture of the violent relations between the Aztecs and the Conquistadors and rewrites much of what we thought we knew about the Aztec civilization.

Engineer in the House!

Engineer in the House!
Sid the Science Kid celebrates National Engineers Week February 20-26 with a special rebroadcast of programs focusing on Simple Machines with highlighted website content, and a downloadable activity page.

Visit www.pbskids.org/sid for more information on how to facilitate Sid the Science Kid activities at your EWEEK celebrations!

The Sid the Science Kid parenting blog “Science Kids on the Loose: Observations from the Family Room” and the teacher blog “The Learning Lab: Explorations in Learning for the Curious Teacher” will both focus on engineering during the special week and The Jim Henson Company will also produce a special podcast panel discussion on encouraging girls in the field of engineering. You can access the blog and the podcast from the Sid Parents and Teachers site at pbs.org/parents/sid/blogs.