In October 2009, a striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress made world news headlines. Originally sold two years before for around $20,000, the portrait is now thought to be an undiscovered Leonardo da Vinci masterwork worth more than $100 million. How did cutting-edge imaging analysis help tie the portrait to Leonardo? NOVA meets a new breed of experts who are approaching “cold case” art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover “who committed the art,” and follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multi-billion dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.
Hidden in the red hills of Australia are clues to the mysteries of Earth’s birth, how life arose and how it transformed the planet into the world we now live in. Experts unveil the earliest forms of life: an odd assortment of bacterial slime. Life like this would flood the atmosphere with oxygen and spark the biological revolution that conquered the planet. Travel with NOVA and host Dr. Richard Smith to meet the cast in the first scenes of the great drama of life on earth.