10 Best Episodes of NOVA - Season 37

PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA demystifies science and technology, and highlights the people involved in scientific pursuits.

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 10, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

NOVA - S37E9

#10 - Mind Over Money (Season 37 - Episode 9)

Exposes the mysterious and surprising nature of the two most powerful forces on the planet: the human mind and money. Using analysis and experiment, this film explores why economists failed to predict the 2008 crash and why we so often make irrational financial decisions.

The episode was rated 6.91 from 11 votes.

NOVA - S37E7

#9 - Telescope: Hunting the Edge of Space - The Mystery of the Milky Way (Season 37 - Episode 7)


In a two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe.

The episode was rated 7.29 from 17 votes.

NOVA - S37E5

#8 - Extreme Cave Diving (Season 37 - Episode 5)

"Extreme Cave Diving" follows a fearless team of scientists as they venture into blue holes—underwater caves that formed during the last ice age, when sea level was nearly 400 feet below what it is today. These caves, little-known treasures of the Bahamas, are one of Earth's least explored and perhaps most dangerous frontiers. The interdisciplinary team of biologists, climatologists, and anthropologists, led by renowned cave explorer Kenny Broad, discover intriguing evidence of the earliest human inhabitants of the islands, find animals seen nowhere else on Earth, and recover a remarkable record of the planet's climate. The stakes are high as the scientists swim hundreds of feet through narrow, dark passages that have trapped and killed divers in the past, but the scientific payoff is considerable.

The episode was rated 7.31 from 13 votes.

NOVA - S37E4

#7 - Ghosts of Machu Picchu (Season 37 - Episode 4)


Perched atop a mountain crest, mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. In the years since Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, there have been countless theories about this "Lost City of the Incas," yet it remains an enigma. Why did the Incas build it on such an inaccessible site? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces, and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven't been touched since the time of the Incas. See what they discover when they unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.

The episode was rated 7.55 from 11 votes.

NOVA - S37E15

#6 - Secrets of Stonehenge (Season 37 - Episode 15)

Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued to elude us. Now investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt, and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Bluestonehenge, a prehistoric stone-circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.

The episode was rated 7.69 from 13 votes.

NOVA - S37E18

#5 - Mt. St. Helens Back From the Dead (Season 37 - Episode 18)


For 27 years, biologist Charlie Crisafulli has been documenting the dramatic return of plant and animal life to Mt. St. Helens after the 1980 eruption. / When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, every living thing in the blast zone was buried beneath 300 feet of avalanche debris, covered with steaming mud and, finally, topped with a superheated layer of frothy rock from deep within the earth. Biologist Charlie Crisafulli has remained at the site for 27 years, documenting the dramatic return of plant and animal life to the barren landscape and pioneering a new understanding of the interaction between geologic forces and the life surrounding the mountain.

The episode was rated 7.77 from 13 votes.

NOVA - S37E11

#4 - Building the Great Cathedrals (Season 37 - Episode 11)

Take a dazzling architectural journey inside those majestic marvels of Gothic architecture, the great cathedrals of Chartres, Beauvais and other European cities. Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, some cathedrals now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, a team of engineers, architects, art historians, and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell-towers for clues. NOVA investigates the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their towering, glass-filled walls and reveals the hidden formulas drawn from the Bible that drove medieval builders ever upward.

The episode was rated 8.07 from 15 votes.

NOVA - S37E13

#3 - Trapped in an Elevator (Season 37 - Episode 13)


New Yorker Nicholas White was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours. How did it happen? How do elevators work? Are they safe? Why are so many people afraid of them? Across North America, elevators move 325 million passengers every day, most of the time without problems. But will the elevator-wary be comfortable handing over the reins to computers? Once brawny but simple machines, elevators are now getting a brainy makeover and reaching new heights. "Trapped in an Elevator" reveals the secrets of these ubiquitous machines and investigates personal stories of those who have been caught inside when they do fail.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 11 votes.

NOVA - S37E12

#2 - Emergency Mine Rescue (Season 37 - Episode 12)

This one-hour film chronicles the fate of the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed Chilean gold and copper mine in August 2010 and investigates the many challenges faced by both the miners and those working around the clock to bring them safely to the surface. NOVA was on-site at the San José mine in Chile by early September. Conferred special access, NOVA's film crew interviewed engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel, and key figures from the companies that provided drills and crucial rescue equipment to give a more detailed scientific account of the unfolding events. The resulting film, using footage from the scene as well as advanced animation, showcases the extraordinary feats of engineering as well as the biological and geological factors inherent in the rescue. "Emergency Mine Rescue" also examines the psychological and physiological impact of this kind of prolonged ordeal on the miners and those involved in the rescue efforts.

The episode was rated 8.29 from 14 votes.

NOVA - S37E16

#1 - Quest for Solomon's Mines (Season 37 - Episode 16)


Countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon's mines, trekking through burning deserts and scaling the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant, inspired by the Bible's account of splendid temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper. Yet to date, the evidence that has claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kings in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom has been found that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. In the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two cutting-edge field investigations that illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty biblical kingdoms. These groundbreaking expeditions expose important new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan, including ancient remnants of an industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message with the words "slave," "king," and "judge."

The episode was rated 8.30 from 10 votes.

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