PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology, and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits.
Wednesday, January 2 at 9:00 p.m. Doomsday Volcanoes
The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 turned much of the northern hemisphere into an ash-strewn no-fly zone. But Eyjafjallajökull was just the start. Katla, an Icelandic volcano 10 times bigger, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences will be global. Meet scientists trying to understand those consequences — for air travel and for the global food supply and Earth’s climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the coming disaster?
Wednesday, January 9 at 9:00 p.m. Decoding Neanderthals
What happened when the first modern humans encountered Neanderthals 60,000 years ago? In 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced that they had reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome and the analysis showed that modern humans and Neanderthals had interbred, leaving a small signature of Neanderthal genes in everyone outside Africa today. NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. Were Neanderthals really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA examines a range of new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, suggesting that we may have underestimated our long-vanished cousins.
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Wednesday, January 16 at 9:00 p.m. Ice Age Death Trap
Racing against developers in the Rockies, archaeologists uncover a unique site packed with astonishingly preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons and other giant extinct beasts, opening a window on the vanished world of the Ice Age.
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Wednesday, January 23 at 9:00 p.m. Rise of the Drones
Drones. These unmanned flying robots — some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds — do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense and kill has remained secret. But now, with unprecedented access to drone engineers (including a rare interview with the “Father of the Predator,” Abe Karem) and those who operate drones for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make them so powerful. Discover the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history.