Documentary

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1. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Beyond the Elements: Indestructible (2021)

TV-G | Documentary

The potential environmental impact of virtually indestructible versions of glass, rubber and plastic.

Star: Craig Sechler

Votes: 30

2. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Beyond the Elements: Reactions (2021)

TV-G | Documentary

The chemical reactions that transform the world, from explosions to photosynthesis; lock-and-key molecules that put the heat in peppers and make venoms useful to medicine.

Star: Craig Sechler

Votes: 34

3. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Beyond the Elements: Life (2021)

TV-G | Documentary

The molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin and thrive; how scientists use evolution in chemistry.

Star: Craig Sechler

Votes: 18

4. Nova (1974– )
Episode: The Planets: Inner Worlds (2019)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

The rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars all have similar origins, but only one supports life. Was it always this way?

Directors: Stephen Cooter, Martin Johnson | Stars: Zachary Quinto, Anjali Tripathi, David Grinspoon, Suzanne Smrekar

Votes: 68

5. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Black Hole Apocalypse (2018)

TV-G | 111 min | Documentary

Astrophysicist Janna Levin explores black hole science.

Director: Rushmore DeNooyer | Stars: Janna Levin, Rainer Weiss, Eilat Glikman, Peter Galison

Votes: 945

6. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Building Chernobyl's Megatomb (2017)

TV-PG | 52 min | Documentary

An international team of engineers races to construct a gargantuan dome to contain the lingering radioactive materials and crumbling remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, decades after ... See full summary »

Director: Gwyn Williams | Stars: Eric Meyers, Nicolas Caille, Rob Owen, Ian Carling

Votes: 63

7. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Day the Dinosaurs Died (2017)

TV-PG | 53 min | Documentary

Investigate how an asteroid vanquished the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Join scientists as they drill into the impact crater and, for the first time, reconstruct the hell on earth that ... See full summary »

Directors: Sarah Holt, Ben Lawrie, Ross Young | Stars: Craig Sechler, Mark Norell, Stephen Brusatte, Thomas Williamson

Votes: 101

8. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Eclipse Over America (2017)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years. As in all total solar eclipses, the moon blocked the ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Gorst | Stars: Craig Sechler, Jay Pasachoff, Steven Tomczyk, Amir Caspi

Votes: 59

9. Nova (1974– )
Episode: The Origami Revolution (2017)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

The centuries old Japanese art form has gone high tech. Building with examples in biology and applying sophisticated mathematics, computer software and good old fashion imagination it looks... See full summary »

Directors: Sarah Holt, François-Xavier Vives | Stars: Daniel Aukes, David Baker, Aaron Chevalier, Erik D. Demaine

Votes: 43

10. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Great Human Odyssey (2016)

TV-PG | 113 min | Documentary

Scientists are using archaeological and cultural findings to map humans' exodus from Africa and identify the adaptive skills required for the journey.

Director: Niobe Thompson | Stars: Sarah Anzick, Berhane Asfaw, Kalepa Baybayan, Yonas Beyene

Votes: 77

11. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Treasures of the Earth: Gems (2016)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

This program explains the formation, chemistry, variations and allure of the most notable gemstones; diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, jade and opals.

Directors: Kate Dart, Doug Hamilton | Stars: Debbie Berebichez, Lung S. Chan, Lisa Dong, Robert Hazen

Votes: 75

12. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Treasures of the Earth: Metals (2016)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

History's most important metals and how they advanced civilization.

Director: Terri Randall | Stars: Aomawa Baker, Edo Berger, Jeanette Caines, Helen M. Chan

Votes: 62

13. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Treasures of the Earth: Power (2016)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

Drill down to discover the treasures beneath our feet that power our world. Fossil fuels-coal, oil, and natural gas-powered the industrial revolution and allowed us to build a way of life ... See full summary »

Directors: Kate Dart, Doug Hamilton | Stars: Paul Ekins, Zhiqiang Feng, Janice Gillespie, Liz Hajek

Votes: 52

14. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Invisible Universe Revealed (2015)

TV-G | 54 min | Documentary

Twenty-five years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble's landmark anniversary, NOVA tells the... See full summary »

Director: Peter Yost | Stars: James Crocker, Drake Deming, Sandra Faber, John M. Grunsfeld

Votes: 74

15. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Alien Planets Revealed (2014)

TV-G | 54 min | Documentary

From PBS - It's a golden age for planet hunters: recently, they've discovered more than 750 planets orbiting stars beyond our sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b, might even ... See full summary »

Directors: Nathan Williams, Ben Bowie | Stars: Natalie Batalha, David Charbonneau, Lewis Dartnell, Kevin Heng

Votes: 68

16. Nova (1974– )
Episode: First Man on the Moon (2014)

TV-G | 54 min | Documentary

A look inside the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.

Directors: Duncan Copp, Christopher Riley | Stars: Corey Johnson, Buzz Aldrin, Carol Armstrong, Dean Armstrong

Votes: 117

17. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Earth from Space (2013)

TV-G | 113 min | Documentary

EARTH FROM SPACE is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet.

Stars: Waleed Abdalati, David Adamec, Charlie Bristow, Carl Feldman

Votes: 81

18. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Ancient Computer (2013)

TV-G | 53 min | Documentary

The arms and faces of ancient statuary litter the seabed at the site of a shipwreck off the coast of Greece. But that's not the most interesting find. Encrusted with over 2,000 years of ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Beckham | Stars: Mike Edmunds, Tony Freeth, Panagiotis Tselekas, Dimitris Kourkoumelis

Votes: 55

19. Nova (1974– )
Episode: At the Edge of Space (2013)

TV-PG | 53 min | Documentary

Between the blue sky above and the infinite blackness beyond lies a frontier that scientists have only just begun to investigate. In "At the Edge of Space," NOVA takes viewers on a ... See full summary »

Directors: Keisuke Hatate, Tomohiro Inoue, Taro Ishii, Atsuki Yamazaki | Stars: Craig Sechler, Ronald Williams, Earle Williams, Kerri Cahoy

Votes: 65

20. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Hunting the Elements (2012)

TV-G | 114 min | Documentary

Where do nature's building blocks, called the elements, come from? They're the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. Watch as David Pogue unlocks their secrets.

Director: Chris Schmidt | Stars: David Pogue, Mike Lassiter, Lawrence L. Jones, Lindsay Baker

Votes: 98

21. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Smartest Machine on Earth (2011)

TV-G | Documentary

Watson, an IBM computer with a brain the size of 2,400 home computers and a database of 10 million documents, competes on the game show Jeopardy! (1984) against champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Will Watson win?

Director: Michael Bicks | Stars: Rodney Brooks, Eric Brown, Todd Crain, David Ferrucci

Votes: 38

22. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Finding Life Beyond Earth: Are We Alone? (2011)

TV-G | 106 min | Documentary

Scientists are on the verge of answering one of the greatest questions in history: Are we alone? Finding Life Beyond Earth immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while... See full summary »

Director: Oliver Twinch | Stars: Ashley Davies, Jennifer Eigenbrode, Josh Eisner, Danny Glavin

Votes: 79

23. Nova (1974– )
Episode: The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap (2011)

TV-PG | 45 min | Documentary

This program explains some of the weirdest aspects of quantum mechanics: uncertainty and entanglement. Despite the absurdity of these behaviors they have been confirmed time and again and ... See full summary »

Directors: Julia Cort, Josh Rosen | Stars: Allan Adams, Christopher Mark Chan, Palaiseau John Clauser, Frank Cuervo

Votes: 203

24. Nova (1974– )
Episode: The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse? (2011)

TV-PG | 45 min | Documentary

Hard as it is to swallow, cutting-edge theories are suggesting that our universe may not be the only universe. Instead, it may be just one of an infinite number of worlds that make up the ... See full summary »

Director: Rushmore DeNooyer | Stars: Andy Albrecht, Raphael Bousso, Brian Greene, David Gross

Votes: 158

25. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Hunting the Edge of Space: The Mystery of the Milky Way (2010)

TV-G | 52 min | Documentary

Nova examines the physics of telescope design. Following the development of the telescope over several centuries the program explains the challenges that the major design innovations solved... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Jones, Oliver Twinch | Stars: Louise Alexander, Jim Bennett, Ronald H. Bissinger, Duncan Bonner

Votes: 57

26. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Hunting the Edge of Space: The Ever-Expanding Universe (2010)

TV-G | 52 min | Documentary

This program describes the most remarkable, perspective changing discoveries in the field of cosmology in the last 100 years. Each discovery was made by scientists working with a radically new telescope.

Directors: Peter Jones, Oliver Twinch | Stars: Charles Bennett, Jim Bennett, Steven Deproost, Alex Filippenko

Votes: 46

27. Nova (1974– )
Episode: What Darwin Never Knew (2009)

TV-PG | 113 min | Documentary

A look at Charles Darwin, his book On The Origin of Species, and how his theory of evolution is explained. It includes Darwin's observations through work on the Human Genome Project.

Directors: Serena Davies, Rushmore DeNooyer, Sarah Holt, John Rubin | Stars: Ellen Becker-Gray, Jerry Chu, Kandace C. Cummings, Olivia Judson

Votes: 123

28. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Becoming Human: Last Human Standing (2009)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

Nova examines the early ancestors of mankind and examines why Homo sapiens won out over Neanderthals in the evolutionary race.

Director: Graham Townsley | Stars: Juan Luis Arsuaga, Dominique Bonjean, Stu Chase, Viktor Deak

Votes: 111

29. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Becoming Human: Birth of Humanity (2009)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

Nova examines the ancestors of man by attempting to to reconstruct what they look like, what tools they used, and how they lived. Special focus is given to Homo erectus.

Director: Graham Townsley | Stars: Jordi Agusti, Susan Antón, Viktor Deak, Christopher Dean

Votes: 119

30. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Becoming Human: First Steps (2009)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

Nova examines the early ancestors of mankind and considers weather climate change was the driving force behind our early evolution.

Director: Graham Townsley | Stars: Zeresenay Alemseged, Michel Brunet, Peter de Menocal, Yannick Garcin

Votes: 141

31. Nova (1974– )
Episode: The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies (2009)

TV-G | 55 min | Documentary

NOVA flies along with the monarch butterflies, visiting the spectacular locations they call home and meeting the dangers they encounter along the way.

Director: Nicholas de Pencier | Stars: Homero Aridjis, Lincoln Brower, Bill Calvert, Stockard Channing

Votes: 71

33. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Hunting the Hidden Dimension (2008)

TV-G | 60 min | Documentary

A look at fractal geometry, and how it is found just about everywhere in everything, and how the mathematics of fractals can be used to model and measure such things as mountains, ... See full summary »

Directors: Bill Jersey, Michael Schwarz | Stars: Ralph Abraham, Loren Carpenter, Dana Cartwright, Hayden Christensen

Votes: 147

34. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Astrospies (2008)

TV-G | 55 min | Documentary

This documentary investigates the background of a secret 1960s USAF space project named MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) and its Russian counterpart ALMAZ.

Directors: Andreas Dirr, Scott Willis | Star: Jay O. Sanders

Votes: 33

35. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Absolute Zero: The Race for Absolute Zero (2008)

TV-PG | 55 min | Documentary

Nova examines scientific efforts to produce colder and colder temperatures.

Director: David Dugan | Stars: Iain Agnew, Eric Cornell, Kostas Gavroglu, Alan Griffin

Votes: 67

36. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold (2008)

TV-PG | 55 min | Documentary

Our mastery of cold is something we take for granted, whether it s air conditioning and frozen food or the liquefied gases and superconductivity at the heart of cutting-edge technology. But... See full summary »

Director: David Dugan | Stars: Marsha Ackerman, Raymond Arsenault, Hasok Chang, Robert Fox

Votes: 55

37. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Saved by the Sun (2007)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

As the Earth heats up at a dangerous rate and fossil fuels become scarcer, ordinary citizens and businesses are bypassing the federal government to lead the way in exploring a clean, renewable source of power: the sun.

Director: Steven Latham | Star: Lance Lewman

Votes: 20

38. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Secrets of the Samurai Sword (2007)

TV-PG | 43 min | Documentary

Nova follows the creation of a katana from raw iron ore to finished masterpiece, through the hands of fifteen master artisans as scientists explain the chemistry and physics at each step that makes it a superb piece of engineering.

Director: John Wate | Stars: Takako Hayashi, Rob Tinworth

Votes: 60

39. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Sputnik Declassified (2007)

TV-PG | Documentary

Nova examines the goals of the highly secretive American space program prior to Sputnik. The Eisenhower Administration's covert objectives in space gave the impression that the Soviets had a commanding lead in space technology.

Director: Rushmore DeNooyer | Star: Neil Ross

Votes: 22

40. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (2007)

TV-PG | Documentary

The account of the legal battle in Dover, Pennsylvania over the required teaching of the religious-based "intelligence design" as supposedly a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution in the local public school.

Directors: Gary Johnstone, Joseph McMaster | Stars: Jay Benedict, Matthew Chapman, Anthony Edridge, Michael Fitzpatrick

Votes: 187

42. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Dimming the Sun (2006)

TV-PG | Documentary

The scientific community took some time to accept the evidence that the level of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface had declined in recent decades because, from a narrow minded ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Chinn, Duncan Copp, Caroline Penry-Davey | Star: Kathryn Walker

Votes: 20

43. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Newton's Dark Secrets (2005)

TV-G | Documentary

The auction of some of Newton's papers early in the 20th century uncovers the fact that he had a side other than the genius mathematician and visionary the world knew him as.

Director: Chris Oxley | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Roger Braban, Jed Buchwald, Gale Christianson

Votes: 55

44. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Origins: Where Are the Aliens? (2004)

TV-PG | Documentary

This program reviews the Drake equation to provide an updated estimate of the likelihood that there is another civilization close enough to Earth for us to talk with. And it ponders the ... See full summary »

Directors: Julia Cort, Mark Everest, Alice Harper, Larry Klein, Thomas Levenson | Stars: Frank Drake, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Votes: 55

45. Nova (1974– )
Episode: Origins: Back to the Beginning (2004)

TV-PG | Documentary

8.1