Nova - Season 21 Episodes

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Episode 1

The NOVA Quiz

NOVA fans from around the country match wits in a fast-paced contest of general science knowledge celebrating NOVA's 20th anniversary. Famous guests pose questions for the viewers at home. Marc Summers hosts.

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Episode 2

Wanted: Butch and Sundance

Forensic sleuth Clyde Snow and a posse of experts travel to Bolivia in search of the remains of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They find Hollywood and legend got a few things wrong.

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Episode 3

Secrets of the Psychics

Secrets of the Psychics was a PBS NOVA episode following James Randi's work. Also appearing in stock footage are Peter Popoff, Uri Geller, and many others.

In the program, "Randi argues that successful psychics depend on the willingness of their audiences to believe that what they see is the result of psychic powers."

This program is not to be confused with a later UK documentary Secrets of the Psychics, which was transmitted under this title as well as Secrets of the Super Psychics.

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Episode 4

Dying to Breathe

NOVA covers the tense vigil of three people with terminal lung disease as they await the most complex of all organ transplants—a new lung. Months of waiting end in a few frenzied hours of intricate surgery.

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Episode 5

Shadow of the Condor

NOVA soars with the condor, an extraordinary bird that lives a tenuous existence in the California mountains and the Andes of South America. Footage includes never-before-photographed nesting sites in the cliffs of Patagonia.

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Episode 6

The Real Jurassic Park

With help from director Steven Spielberg, author Michael Crichton and a host of scientific experts , NOVA investigates what it would take to recreate the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park. It won't be as easy as it was for Hollywood.

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Episode 7

Roller Coaster!

NOVA takes viewers on the ride of their lives as it explores the science of roller coasters, where physics and psychology meet. New rides of the future may take place entirely in the mind—with virtual reality.

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Episode 8

Mysterious Crash of Flight 201

US federal investigators are called in to determine the cause of a mysterious jetliner crash in Panama. Nothing about the accident makes sense, until a key clue emerges.

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Episode 9

Great Moments from NOVA

Bill Cosby guides viewers through the most exciting footage from two decades of NOVA in a 20th anniversary salute. Real-life action, adventure, mystery, drama and non-stop discovery fill this 90-minute special.

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Episode 10

The Best Mind Since Einstein

A profile of the late Richard Feynman—atomic bomb pioneer, Nobel prize-winning physicist, acclaimed teacher and all-around eccentric, who helped solve the mystery of the space shuttle Challenger explosion.

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Episode 11

Stranger in the Mirror

NOVA explores the nature of human perception through the puzzling condition called visual agnosia, the inability to recognize faces and familiar objects, made famous in Oliver Sacks' book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

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Episode 12


NOVA delves into the history of secret communications and the people who wrack their brains to decipher them. The program probes the most celebrated of all cryptographic coups: the breaking of the World War II codes used by Japan and Germany and how codebreaking helped shorten the war.

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Episode 13

Dinosaurs of the Gobi

Velociraptors and primitive birds are among the fabulous fossil finds as NOVA accompanies an American Museum of Natural History expedition to the Gobi Desert. The trip relives the exploits of the Museum's dashing explorer of the 1920s, Roy Chapman Andrews -said to be the real-life model for Indiana Jones.

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Episode 14

Daredevils of the Sky

NOVA follows members of the US Aerobatic Team as they prepare for and compete in the 1992 World Aerobatic Championship. The sport, as precisely choreographed as gymnastics-except that it takes place in airplanes at 200 miles per hour-has always been on the leading edge of developments in aviation.

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Episode 15

Journey to Kilimanjaro

NOVA explores ice-capped mountains-on the equator. These African giants are magical islands of life towering above the scorched plains. Giant forest hogs, bearded vultures, the elusive bongo and other exotic creatures live in this harsh and isolated high country.

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Episode 16

Can Chimps Talk?

NOVA covers exciting and controversial research with chimpanzees who have been trained to express themselves with human symbols. Are they speaking their minds? Or are they just aping their trainers?

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Episode 17

In Search of Human Origins, Part One

In the first of a three-part series, noted anthropologist Donald Johanson probes the earliest ancestors of the human species - reaching back more than three million years to a strange ape who walked upright. Johanson takes viewers to the site in Ethiopia where he discovered the fossil remains of this missing link nicknamed "Lucy."

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Episode 18

In Search of Human Origins, Part Two

Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at how our human ancestors of two million years ago made their living. Contrary to popular myth, scavenging was a more lucrative living than hunting-and may have contributed to the development of human intelligence.

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Episode 19

In Search of Human Origins, Part Three

At what point did our distant ancestors become anatomically like us? And, more importantly, when did they begin to act like us? Anthropologist Donald Johanson looks at what it is that makes us human.

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Episode 20

Can China Kick the Habit?

NOVA visits the most cigarette-addicted nation in the world-China. Western advertising and trading practices have exacerbated the fatal romance with smoking in the world's most populous country, where lung cancer cases are beginning to strain the nation's health care system.

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Episode 21

Aircraft Carrier!

NOVA experiences the relentless, round-the-clock life aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier, Independence-where every day is a constant drill of launching and landing aircraft atop a floating city of 5,000 people. The action includes Top Gun mock combat exercises and live-ammunition patrols over Iraq.