10 Best Episodes of NOVA - Season 43

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 - S43E20

#15 - Treasures of the Earth: Power (Season 43 - Episode 20)

Drill down to discover how Earth's natural treasures provide bountiful energy to power our modern world yet are also driving us to seek new, cleaner alternatives that can help us keep the lights on.

The episode was rated 7.44 from 71 votes.

NOVA - S43E13

#14 - Bombing Hitler's Supergun (Season 43 - Episode 13)


Engineers and World War II historians investigate Hitler's fearsome bank of "superguns."

The episode was rated 7.46 from 54 votes.

NOVA - S43E4

#13 - Himalayan Megaquake (Season 43 - Episode 4)

On April 25, 2015, a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. As it ripped across the Himalayas, it wiped out villages and left thousands dead. Hear the harrowing stories of the Nepalese people who lived near the epicenter and of survivors trapped on Everest. Through dramatic eyewitness footage, expert interviews, and stunning graphics, NOVA reveals the anatomy of this megaquake while scientists race to answer urgent questions—Is another big one just around the corner? What can we learn from the deadly combination of earthquakes and landslides? And can we rebuild to survive the next big one?

The episode was rated 7.53 from 88 votes.

NOVA - S43E8

#12 - Rise of the Robots (Season 43 - Episode 8)


Machines are everywhere. They run our factory assembly lines and make our coffee. But humanoid robots—machines with human-like capabilities—have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until now. Fueled by an ambitious DARPA challenge, the race is on to design a robot that can replace humans in disaster relief situations. Follow the robots and the engineers that program them as they strive to make their way out of the lab and into the real world. But how capable are they, really? How close are we to a future where humanoid robots are part of our everyday lives? And what will the future look like with robots that can do a human’s job? NOVA investigates the cutting-edge technologies that are advancing robotics—and the enormous challenges that robots still face.

The episode was rated 7.56 from 62 votes.

NOVA - S43E17

#11 - Super Tunnel (Season 43 - Episode 17)

Join engineers as they build a massive new railway deep beneath the streets of London.

The episode was rated 7.65 from 84 votes.

NOVA - S43E15

#10 - School of the Future (Season 43 - Episode 15)


How the science of learning may change education for all children.

The episode was rated 7.71 from 65 votes.

NOVA - S43E14

#9 - 15 Years of Terror (Season 43 - Episode 14)

From 9/11 to today’s crowd-sourced violence, trace how terrorists’ strategies have evolved.

The episode was rated 7.74 from 57 votes.

NOVA - S43E18

#8 - Treasures of the Earth: Gems (Season 43 - Episode 18)


Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, opal and jade are the ultimate treasures. Delve into Earth's depths to discover how these precious stones are forged and what explains the unique allure of each captivating gemstone.

The episode was rated 7.77 from 87 votes.

NOVA - S43E2

#7 - Life's Rocky Start (Season 43 - Episode 2)

Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place—a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? NOVA joins mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It's a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.

The episode was rated 7.77 from 97 votes.

NOVA - S43E16

#6 - Great Human Odyssey (Season 43 - Episode 16)


Follow our ancient ancestors’ footsteps out of Africa and into every corner of our planet.

The episode was rated 7.83 from 72 votes.

NOVA - S43E19

#5 - Treasures of the Earth: Metals (Season 43 - Episode 19)

Gold, bronze, iron, steel... metals are pillars of our civilization, but what makes them so special? Discover their unique properties and explore how our mastery of metals has led us from the stone age to today's hi-tech world.

The episode was rated 7.84 from 64 votes.

NOVA - S43E6

#4 - Memory Hackers (Season 43 - Episode 6)


Memory is the glue that binds our mental lives. Without it, we’d be prisoners of the present, unable to use the lessons of the past to change our future. From our first kiss to where we put our keys, memory represents who we are and how we learn and navigate the world. But how does it work? Neuroscientists using cutting-edge techniques are exploring the precise molecular mechanisms of memory. By studying a range of individuals ranging—from an 11-year-old whiz-kid who remembers every detail of his life to a woman who had memories implanted—scientists have uncovered a provocative idea. For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays intact. But now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories. The question is—are we ready?

The episode was rated 7.85 from 71 votes.

NOVA - S43E11

#3 - Wild Ways (Season 43 - Episode 11)

Explore how newly established wildlife corridors offer hope to endangered species.

The episode was rated 7.92 from 59 votes.

NOVA - S43E9

#2 - Vikings Unearthed (Season 43 - Episode 9)


Uncover the truth behind the legendary Vikings and their epic journey to the Americas.

The episode was rated 7.94 from 83 votes.

NOVA - S43E1

#1 - Secret Tunnel Warfare (Season 43 - Episode 1)

During World War I, the Allies and Germans repeatedly struggled to break the hideous stalemate of trench warfare. In the winter of 1916, Allied engineers devised a massive surprise attack: over 1 million pounds of explosives hidden in secret tunnels driven under German lines. Building the tunnels was desperate work, with tunnelers at constant risk from flooding, cave-ins, and enemy digging teams. In June of 1917, the planted mines at Messines were simultaneously triggered, killing an estimated 10,000 German troops instantly. Now, archaeologists are revealing the extraordinary scale and risks of the Allied tunneling operations in one of the biggest excavations ever undertaken on the Western Front. “Secret Tunnel Warfare” opens a unique window on the frenzy of Allied mining activity that led up to the attack and its bitter aftermath.

The episode was rated 8.29 from 91 votes.

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