Series: Scientific American Frontiers
Globalization of trade and travel means increasing threats from alien species: plants, animals, insects and diseases that wreak havoc in defenseless regions.
Animals...how intelligent are they? In this episode you'll meet some scientists who've studied the communication thought processes and problem-solving skills of animals and have discovered that they're a lot smarter than we thought.
Is art a science? Is science an art? This episode of Frontiers looks at the ways these two fields overlap and influence each other, and how computers are challenging our conventional ideas about art, while changing the very nature of everyday experience.
New technologies and pioneering scientists have opened up the farthest reaches of the ocean in the last great age of human exploration on Earth.
This episode explores topics that go beyond the realm of science; in other words, topics that are hard to explore in a rigorous scientific way. The scientific method gives us a way to evaluate claims and approach them critically. The scientists in this episode talk about why the scientific method is...
Researchers are uniting biology and technology to give hope to the paralyzed, using the latest science to repair and circumvent spinal cord injuries.
Subject: Health & Medicine
Category: Health & Medicine
Studies remarkable advances being made to repair and replace damaged human body parts. In 2001, the first self-contained artificial heart, Abiocor, was implanted into human patients.
Alda meets two young women whose brains have remodeled themselves -- one temporarily in response to a week of being blindfolded, the other permanently after a devastating brain injury before birth. They are dramatic examples of 'neuroplasticity' -- today's hot topic in brain research. Alda also join...
Category: World History
Who were the first Americans? New discoveries and techniques for dating them have archaeologists rethinking what we know - and rewriting history.
New discoveries about Dark Matter and Dark Energy have astronomers wondering if ours is but one of an infinity of universes.
In this program, Alda meets scientists reconstructing mysterious past events from the evidence of excavated remains. Stories in the episode include the unexplained loss of the Confederate submarine Hunley, which sank off Charleston after successfully attacking and sinking the battleship USS Housaton...
Alternative medicines are a growing multi-billion dollar industry. But do they hold up under scientific scrutiny?
Scientists attempt to unravel the mysteries of memory-- how we make memories, where they come from and why some slip away.
Alan Alda journeys across China, from dry western deserts and the world's most dramatic mummy find--well-preserved individuals from 4,000 years ago--to the steamy Yangtze River Valley, where scientists developed a new type of rice to feed China's burgeoning population.
Alan Alda visits with Dr. George Blackburn of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to explore society's obsession with diets that promise quick, painless results. Alda also visits Arizona's Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians, who have the world's highest rate of obesity-related diabetes, and a...
Scientists look to birds for the secrets of flight, work on a sun-powered wing that may one day fly forever, and design flying robots with minds of their own.
Alan Alda meets some of the brightest and most charismatic scientists hunting genes. Their work could unlock the mysteries of human disease.
Alda meets several kids who are growing up different and the doctors and researchers who are trying to mitigate the difficulties they face. Cochlear implants restore some hearing to a profoundly deaf child, the latest augmentative communication technology gives speech to a child without it, and new ...
So you think global warming won't affect you? Wait until the great Atlantic Conveyor shuts down. And find out what's already happening in Alaska.
Subject: Global Warming
Category: Current Issues
Alaska is warming up. It's now a few degrees warmer than it was a century and a half ago, and the trend seems to be accelerating. Already the landscape is changing dramatically -- permafrost is thawing, glaciers are melting, forests are succumbing to drought and insect attack. Alan Alda meets Alaska...
Hydrogen may be the fuel of the future, but what will it take to safely and efficiently make the transition from today's fossil fuels?
Scientists blend technology with sociology to make our machines more fun to use.
At MIT's famed media lab, scientists work on virtual dogs, smart cars and even a cyborg Alan.
Scientists work to overcome the challenges of exploring the red planet.
How did life arise on Earth? What separates humans from apes? Will machines one day invent themselves? Alan Alda meets the scientists looking for answers.
Scientists look to the brain's frontal lobe as the seat of personality.
Scientists unlock secrets from the last frontier on Earth--the ocean's depths, where explorer Bob Ballard is changing science, history, and the future. 'The Uncivilized Engine of War' traces the world's first submarine attack--on the Union warship Housatonic, in February 1864.
Nature still trounces humans in designing machines able to live comfortably in the world around them. Taking hints, engineers are increasingly turning to living creatures for robotic inspiration.
Is the ancient dream of eternal life becoming a reality? In the last few years, many barriers to understanding the aging process have come down.
Today's technology can give athletes the edge, aid officials and enhance the spectator's experience of the game.
Aiming for insights into his own brain, Alan Alda visits scientists studying how the brain dreams, stores memories, and sorts language. Weighing just a few pounds, the most complex organ in the human body is responsible for the body's complete function.
Subject: Colonial History
Category: American History
Archeologists shed new light on life in colonial America.
Alan Alda follows in Charles Darwin's footsteps, meeting the animals and birds that inspired Darwin's theory of evolution. Alda joins scientists who witness the daily struggle for survival that has shaped the Galapagos Islands' unique wildlife. As he experiences the enchantment of the islands, he le...