Next Episode of NOVA is
Season 48 / Episode 7 and airs on 22 April 2021 01:00
NOVA brings you stories from the frontlines of science and engineering, answering the big questions of today and tomorrow, from how our ancestors lived, to whether parallel universes exist, to how technology will transform our lives.
Glass so strong you can jump on it, a rubber-like coating tough enough to absorb a bomb blast and protect a clay pot dropped from 50 feet, endless varieties of plastic. Scientists and engineers have created virtually indestructible versions of common materials by manipulating the chains of interlocking atoms that give them strength—but have they made them too tough? Host David Pogue explores the fantastic chemistry behind the everyday materials we depend on and how the quest for durability can be balanced with products' environmental impact.
Without the chemistry of photosynthesis, ozone, and a molecule called Rubisco, none of us would be here. So how did we get so lucky? To find out, host David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we're all made of—literally.
Follow along as NASA launches the Mars 2020 Mission, perhaps the most ambitious hunt yet for signs of ancient life on Mars. In February 2021, the spacecraft will blaze into the Martian atmosphere at some 12,000 miles per hour and attempt to lower the Perseverance Rover into the rocky Jezero Crater, home to a dried-up river delta scientists think could have harbored life. Perseverance will comb the area for signs of life and collect samples for a possible return to Earth. Traveling onboard is a four-pound helicopter that will conduct a series of test flights—the first on another planet. During its journey, Perseverance will also test technology designed to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere in hopes that the gas could be used for fuel—or for humans to breathe—on future missions.
Picture a Scientist: Women make up less than a quarter of STEM professionals in the United States, and numbers are even lower for women of color. But there is a growing group of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists, exposing longstanding discrimination, and leading the way in making science more inclusive. A biologist, a chemist, and a geologist lead viewers on a journey through their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from outright harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, scientific visionaries, including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists, provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.
Search Engine Breakdown: Why does a widely used internet search engine deliver results that can be blatantly racist and sexist? Two leading information researchers, Safiya Noble, PH.D. and Latanya Sweeney, PH.D., investigate their discoveries of hidden biases in the search technology we rely on every day, involving pornographic images and ads implying criminal behavior triggered by simple search queries. Both researchers share common concerns about how everyday online searches can reinforce damaging stereotypes and explore how technology can be made more equitable.
Coral reefs are not just beautiful; they are also home to over a quarter of all marine life and are crucial to human societies around the globe. But as the climate changes and oceanic heatwaves become commonplace, corals are bleaching, and reefs are dying off. Now, marine biologists worldwide are teaming up to counteract this catastrophe with a technique called assisted evolution. Follow scientists as they attempt to crossbreed heat-resistant corals and even transplant corals' algae in a race to save the coral reefs from extinction.
In the United States, some 10% of people who wish to have children struggle with infertility. It's prevalent in the African American community, and fertility preservation can also be difficult for transgender individuals. But why is this? And what can be done about it? NOVA explores barriers to fertility, from the social to the biological, and the state of assisted reproductive technologies. Follow the journeys of people navigating challenges from structural inequalities and racism to falling sperm counts, egg freezing, and IVF.
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