8.8
456 votes
NOVA

NOVA

PBS 1974

Seen in more than 100 countries, NOVA is the most watched science television series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over.

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The 10 Best Episodes of NOVA

NOVA - S38E12

#1 - Surviving the Tsunami

8.90

Season 38 - Episode 12

The earthquake that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, was recorded at magnitude 9.0 the worst ever recorded in Japan. It generated an unprecedented tsunami, obliterating coastal villages and towns in a matter of minutes. In some areas, the tsunami climbed above 100 feet in height and traveled miles inland. Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured it all on video, including remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined. As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after the fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons for how we should all act in the face of life-threatening disasters.

The episode was rated from 10 votes.

NOVA - S38E11

#2 - Engineering Ground Zero

8.83

Season 38 - Episode 11

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NOVA presents an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit. With extraordinary access granted by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, “Engineering Ground Zero” follows the five-year construction of One World Trade Center (1 WTC) and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The episode was rated from 12 votes.

NOVA - S39E8

#3 - Hunting the Elements

8.77

Season 39 - Episode 8

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. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, the lively host of NOVA’s popular "Making Stuff" series and technology correspondent of The New York Times, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe’s most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.

The episode was rated from 22 votes.

NOVA - S39E11

#4 - Secrets of the Sun

8.75

Season 39 - Episode 11

It contains 99.9 percent of all the matter in our solar system and sheds hot plasma at nearly a million miles an hour. The temperature at its core is a staggering 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. It convulses, it blazes, it sings. You know it as the sun. Scientists know it as one of the most amazing physics laboratories in the universe. Now, with the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are seeing the sun as they never have before and even recreating what happens at its very center in labs here on Earth. Their work will help us understand aspects of the sun that have puzzled scientists for decades. But more critically, it may help us predict and track solar storms that have the power to zap our power grid, shut down telecommunications, and ground global air travel for days, weeks, or even longer. Such storms have happened before—but never in the modern era of satellite communication. "Secrets of the Sun" reveals a bright new dawn in our understanding of our nearest star—one that might help keep our planet from going dark.

The episode was rated from 16 votes.

NOVA - S45E17

#5 - Apollo’s Daring Mission

8.73

Season 45 - Episode 17

Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The U.S. space program suffered a bitter setback when Apollo 1 ended in a deadly fire during a pre-launch run-through. In disarray, and threatened by the prospect of a Soviet Union victory in the space race, NASA decided upon a radical and risky change of plan: turn Apollo 8 from an earth-orbit mission into a daring sprint to the moon while relying on untried new technologies. Fifty years after the historic mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers recount the feats of engineering that paved the way to the moon.

The episode was rated from 40 votes.

NOVA - S38E17
#6 - The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap (3)
8.69
Season 38 - Episode 17

Brian Greene explores the weirdness of quantum physics, which governs the universe on the tiniest of scales. While counterintuitive, it's one of the most successful theories in the history of science.

The episode was rated from 13 votes.
NOVA - S39E6
#7 - Separating Twins
8.67
Season 39 - Episode 6

Witness the extraordinary surgery that will allow twin girls, born joined at the head, to live separate lives.

The episode was rated from 33 votes.
NOVA - S38E13
#8 - Finding Life Beyond Earth
8.62
Season 38 - Episode 13

Take a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden. Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling animation, this program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system. We used to think our neighboring planets and moons were fairly boring—mostly cold, dead rocks where life could never take hold. Today, however, the solar system looks wilder than we ever imagined.

The episode was rated from 13 votes.
NOVA - S35E12
#9 - Space Shuttle Disaster
8.60
Season 35 - Episode 12

An investigation uncovers the human failures and design flaws behind the 2003 Columbia tragedy.

The episode was rated from 10 votes.
NOVA - S39E3
#10 - 3D Spies of WWII
8.60
Season 39 - Episode 3

During World War II, Hitler’s scientists developed terrifying new weapons of mass destruction. Alarmed by rumors of advanced rockets and missiles, Allied intelligence recruited a team of brilliant minds from British universities and Hollywood studios to a country house near London. Here, they secretly pored over millions of air photos shot at great risk over German territory by specially converted, high-flying Spitfires. Peering at the photos through 3D stereoscopes, the team spotted telltale clues that revealed hidden Nazi rocket bases. The photos led to devastating Allied bombing raids that dealt crucial setbacks to the German rocket program and helped ensure the success of the D-Day landings. With 3D graphics that recreate exactly what the photo spies saw, NOVA tells the suspenseful, previously untold story of air photo intelligence that played a vital role in defeating the Nazis.

The episode was rated from 15 votes.

Last updated: nov 28, 2021

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