New in 2012

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Jan. 19, 2011 Can We Make It to Mars?

Space Dangers (13:19)

Can we protect Mars-bound astronauts from deadly meteoroids and the ill effects of radiation and zero gravity?


Next-Generation Space Suits (10:45)

Today's suits are notoriously bulky. MIT's Dava Newman is out to change that with a radical, and sleek, new design.


Space Food (6:51)

How do you keep food fresh on a three-year round-trip to Mars? NASA scientist-chefs are cooking up some ideas


Plasma Rockets (6:31)

With a "small sun" for an engine, a new rocket might be able to zip us to Mars and back in under three months.


Cosmic Ray Danger (3:45)

Berries and other foods containing antioxidants may alleviate cellular damage caused by cosmic radiation.

Jan. 26, 2011 Can We Live Forever?
6   Replacing Body Parts (13:35)

Custom-made hearts, lungs, kidneys, and other organs could revolutionize organ transplantation.


Matt Halfhill
April, 2011

Can We Slow Aging? (11:30)

A gene called FOXO may be a real elixir of longevity. Can all of us harness its power?


Human Hibernation (8:35)

Across the country, ER doctors are intentionally chilling their patients into hypothermia; meanwhile, scientists are hoping that a cocktail of drugs inspired by hibernating animals could one day perform the same "miracles" on demand.


Aging (12:36)

Will research into "longevity genes" help us live longer and healthier lives?


Aiding Aging Muscles (3:34)

See how "exercise in a pill" could one day help the elderly and the bedridden.

Feb. 2, 2011 How Does the Brain Work?

Ian Harrington
April, 2012

Magic and the Brain (12:07)

Neuroscientists explore why humans are so easily fooled by magic tricks.


Magnetic Mind Control  (10:50)

Using magnetic wands, researchers can control the brain functions of human subjects and treat depression.


Profile: David Eagleman (11:39)

A neuroscientist finds inventive ways to study the brain-like sending test subjects into free-fall.


Can Machines Think Like Us? (13:11)

A computer named Watson is the latest contestant in machine versus human battles of the "mind."


Magic and Autism (1:49)

A magician's sleight of hand may not fool people with autism, who may benefit from learning social cues found in magic.

Feb. 9, 2011 How Smart Are Animals?

How Smart Are Dogs? (14:52)

Meet an extraordinary Border collie and other dogs that are changing our view of canine intelligence.


How Smart Are Dolphins? (10:51)

These brainy marine mammals can "read," plan ahead, and communicate in astounding ways.


Dolphin Reading Test (2:37)

Watch as a dolphin's reading ability is put to the test.


Smart Marine Mammals (10:35)

Marine mammals are wowing researchers with more than just circus tricks.


How Smart Is An Octopus? (9:58)

Hold your fork - octopuses and other mollusks are more intelligent than you may think.


Profile: Irene Pepperberg (11:55)

One woman's 30-year relationship with an African gray parrot transformed our understanding of bird intelligence.

Feb. 16, 2011 Where Did We Come From?

Lee Carkner
April, 2011

Origins of the Solar System (13:02))

The shock wave from a supernova may have triggered the formation of our sun and planets five billion years ago.


Patrick Crawford
April, 2012

Revealing the Origins of Life (10:50)

How did molecules first make the leap from non-living to living? An English chemist may have solved part of the mystery


Allison Beck
April, 2011

Lice and Human Evolution (10:52)

Icky and itchy, yes, but lice hold important clues to our evolution in their DNA


Profile: Andre Fenton (14:18)

Can we erase bad memories with a shot? This neurobiologist has glimpsed the possibility.

Feb. 23, 2011 What's the Next Big Thing?

Social Robots (11:37)

Would you want a robotic friend who could chitchat, do chores, even take care of you? Such bots may be here soon.


Detecting Earthquakes (10:39)

Can we predict earthquakes? NOVA scienceNOW visits Haiti and California in search of answers


Robotic Cars (6:37)

Tiny, battery-powered cars called EN-Vs, now in R&D, can talk to each other, come when called, even drive themselves.


James van Howe
April, 2012

Smart Grid (8:53)

Our electric grid is a marvel of 20th-century engineering, but it's showing signs of strain. Can a "smart grid" help?


Profile: Jay Keasling (11:45)

A synthetic biologist's Nebraska farm roots are serving him well in his search for new, clean-burning biofuels.

Oct. 31, 2012

Can I Eat That?
What are the secrets behind your favorite foods? Why are some treats, like chocolate-chip cookies, delectable, while others, like cookies made with mealworms, disgusting? You might think you understand what makes something sweet, salty, or bitter, but David Pogue gets a taste of a much more complicated truth, as he ventures into labs and kitchens where everything from apple pie to Thanksgiving turkey to juicy grasshoppers is diced, sliced, dissected, and put under the microscope. If scientists can uncover exactly what's behind the mouth-watering flavors and textures we take for granted every day, could they help us enjoy our food more - without packing on the pounds?

0:00 - 15:00
Cooking turkey, making stuffing, cutting onions, the role of water, cassava root - tapioca Food Chemistry (15:00)
15:00 - 28:45
Digestion of a python - rat, steak - x-rays, measuring calories - rat, cupcake.  Why do we cook food?
Mother's milk
Digestion and the Role of Cooking (13:45)
28:45 - 41:10
Eating crickets, flavor via your nose, vision (orange colored apple juice), and sound (hot and cold water).  Taste buds, our brain, intestines detect flavor Flavor of Food (12:25)
41:10 - 51:30
Nathan studied economics, math, physics, and then food science.  Shows his extensive lab for the scientific study of cooking and food. Cooking Science (10:20)
Nathan Myhrvold, author of
"Modernist Cuisine" (set of five books)
"Modernist Cuisine at Home"
Oct. 24, 2012

How Smart Can We Get?
How do you get a genius brain? Is it all in your genes? Or is it hard work? Is it possible that everyone's brain has untapped genius - just waiting for the right circumstances so it can be unleashed? From a man who can immediately name the day of the week of any date in history to a "memory athlete" who can remember strings of hundreds of random numbers, David Pogue meets people stretching the boundaries of what the human mind can do. Then, Pogue puts himself to the test: after high-resolution scanning, he finds out how the anatomy of his brain measures up against the greatest mind of the century: Albert Einstein.

Pathologist Thomas Harvey dissected and photographed it shortly after he died in 1955.  Parietal lobe is 15% larger than average.  This lobe is used for spatial imaging. Einstein's Brain (18:00)
Visual metaphors, M.E.G. scanner detects magnetic fields that are produced by electrical signals when the brain is hard at work. Grow your brain by learning something new. Importance of Memory (12:00)
fMRI (functional) detects increased blood flow. Savant Syndromes (11:30)
Features cognitive scientist Sian Beilock. Emotional centers interfere with the prefrontal cortex. Choking Under Pressure (10:00)
Nov. 7, 2012

What Are Animals Thinking?
We humans have long wondered how animals see the world - and us. Does your dog really feel shame when it gives you that famous "guilty look?" What is behind the "swarm intelligence" of slime mold or a honeybee hive? How can pigeons possibly find their way home across hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain? David Pogue meets - and competes - with a menagerie of smart critters that challenge preconceived notions about what makes "us" different from "them," expanding our understanding of how animals really think.

Nov. 14, 2012

What Will the Future Be Like?
The technologies that will transform our lives decades from now are already taking shape in laboratories around the world. David Pogue imagines what the Tech page of The New York Times might look like 10, 20, or 30 years from today, as he meets the innovative engineers and computer scientists working to create thought-controlled video games, robotic exoskeletons, and virtual reality that seamlessly integrates with the real world.