Search form

Donate Today
Watch the Latest Episode:

Passport: Show | Hide

TBDHow does today's artificial intelligence actually work-and is it truly intelligent?

NOVA

NOVA brings you stories from the frontlines of science and engineering, answering the big questions of today and tomorrow, from how our ancestors lived, to whether parallel universes exist, to how technology will transform our lives. Visit the official website to watch full-length documentaries, or explore our world through short-form video, on our digital publication NOVA Next.

NOVA Wonders

This new series reports from the frontiers of science. With its emphasis on provocative and unanswered questions, NOVA WONDERS follows researchers on the winding paths of uncertainty and the unknown — and from the mysteries of astrophysics to the technologies that could rival or surpass the abilities of the human mind. NOVA WONDERS reveals how far we’ve come in our search for answers, how we managed to get here and the remarkable scientists who are transforming our world and the future.

Nova Wonders: What's the Universe made of?  airs Wednesday, May 30 at 9:00 p.m.

The search for extraterrestrial life is an age-old quest.  But recent breakthroughs make today an era like no other in the history of astronomy. From the exhilarating probing of our own solar system and the Kepler mission’s astounding discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets, to the next-generation telescopes under development, the prospects for finding life beyond Earth have never been stronger. Still, daunting hurdles remain. How can we study anything light years away, let alone a little planet? In the vast universe, where should we even start to look? Is our failure to hear any other voices in the galaxy a sign that we are special? NOVA Wonders joins leading explorers now searching the galaxy for life and intelligence on other planets—and asks, if we do find other life in the universe…what would that mean?

 

Passport: Show | Hide

TBDHow does today's artificial intelligence actually work-and is it truly intelligent?
Hunt for clues in the universes to answer one of humanity’s biggest questions.
From the first sparks of life to the survival of the fittest, unearth the secret...
Peer into the deep unknowns of the universe to explore the mysteries of dark matter and...
Discover how a world of microbes living in and on you can make you sick.
Can we crack the code of animal communication?
Join scientists on a quest to better understand the weather and climate machine we call...
A revolution in gene editing technology enables scientists to create and edit DNA like...
Discover why some predictions succeed and others fail as experts forecast the future.
How courage and ingenuity saved Allied troops during the epic Dunkirk operation in 1940.
Discover remains of a 13,000 year-old teenager in an underwater cave in Mexico.
Trains are essential for moving freight and people throughout the world, but they are far...
Follow two intrepid pilots as they take on the greatest aviation adventure of our time,...
Watch as the New Horizons spacecraft captures our first clear view of Pluto’s icy surface.
Examine the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, and the...
How did early engineers carve tombs into rock cliffs and funnel water to this desert city?
How has this unique structure, built on a seismic fault, survived centuries of quakes?
Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the...
Discover how researchers on the cutting edge of mind-control can implant, change and even...
Investigate how an asteroid vanquished the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Join...
Long mocked as empty-headed, birds hide surprisingly acute intelligence. But just how...
During WWI, the Allies devised a devastating plan, planting 600 tons of explosives in...
30 years after the massive eruption...could it happen again?
Explore the secrets that underlie nature's battleground. Every animal has some kind of...
NOVA presents an intimate portrait of Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the...
Uncover geologic fingerprints of colossal floods that violently reshaped the ancient...
Follow a team of experts investigating the Great Hurricane of 1780 that killed more...
Join NOVA and a team of volcanologists looking for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that...
For nearly 500 years, Beijing's complex of palaces and temples was the power center of...
Who built Stonehenge and why? Discover how the last decade of groundbreaking...
Discover what it was like to be a knight in shining armor and follow the historic...
For over a decade, the Cassini space probe has been sending dazzling images of Saturn's...
NOVA reveals the untold story of the biggest flying machines ever made: Germany's war...
Join scientists and citizens alike as they observe the first total solar eclipse to...
Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China was buried in a mausoleum with around 9,000 terracotta...
From Yellowstone to the Yukon, to Southern Africa's elephant highways stretching across...
How and why did the ancient islander inhabitants of Easter Island build and move nearly...
NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to explore how and why so many of the...
The water contamination crisis in Flint, MI, has revealed a disturbing truth about the...
A blinding streak of light screaming across the Russian sky, followed by a shuddering...
For over 1000 years, chariots thundered across China's battlefields-dominating warfare...
Investigate one of the secrets to ancient Egyptian military supremacy: astonishingly...
Unravel the greatest mystery in Arctic exploration: 160 years ago, the Franklin...
Engineers race to build a massive dome to contain the crumbling remains of Chernobyl's...
In the heart of Lithuania, a Holocaust secret lies buried.? A team of archaeologists...
Dramatic eyewitness footage reveals the shocking quake that rocked Nepal in April 2015....
Are you safe aboard a modern cruise ship? Twenty million passengers embark on cruises...
The ancient art of paper folding is sparking scientific advances, affecting drug...
Weighing 54,000 gross tons and stretching over two football fields, the Seven Seas...
Join renowned gadget geek and host David Pogue as he sets out on a quest to discover how...
NOVA follows the epic operation to secure, raise and salvage the Costa Concordia cruise...
Five years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the unprecedented trio of...
A team of daring scientists reveals ancient secrets of the first people to settle the...
A 3,700-year-old inscribed clay tablet reveals a surprising new version of the Biblical...
In October 2009, a striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress made world...
In the spring of 1943, Hitler hatched plans for a diabolical "supergun" in an effort to...
It's a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3,...
Drill down to discover how Earth's natural treasures provide bountiful energy to power...
Gold, bronze, iron, steel... metals are pillars of our civilization, but what makes them...
Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, opal and jade are the ultimate treasures. Delve into...
Follow an army of engineers and designers as they tackle the complex challenge of...
Walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors as scientists trace the paths that led us...
Murdered more than 5,000 years ago, Otzi the Iceman is Europe's oldest known natural...
In a new age of information, rapid innovation and globalization, how can we prepare our...
NOVA investigates the psychology of a terrorist and examines how radical organizations...
In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a rising...
Hunting down the most venomous animals to reveal their medical mysteries.
For decades, the assassination of John F. Kennedy has fueled dark rumors of conspiracies...
Beneath the streets of Rome lies an ancient city of the dead known as the Catacombs -- a...
Long before 9/11, a far deadlier, little-known attack from the ocean depths struck our...
Science is "exhibit A" in a landmark trial on the teaching of evolution.
The Gay Head Lighthouse, a historic landmark perched high on the cliffs of Martha's...
Alzheimer's ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide. Join scientists as...
They were pioneering warriors, expert seafarers and colonists of the North Atlantic realm...
Machines with human-like capabilities have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until...
In a race against developers in the Rockies, archaeologists uncover a unique site packed...
Dive under the ice to explore Antarctica's under-ice landscape with a team of scientists...
NOVA leads viewers on a mathematical mystery tour-a provocative exploration of math's...
As internet connections multiply so do points of attack and risks to national security.
Deep in a South African cave, an astounding discovery reveals clues to what made us human.
A unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea shows what the future may hold as oceans...
Go inside the Fukushima power plants for the minute-by-minute story of what went wrong.
Retrace Einstein's thought experiments as NOVA reveals the simple but powerful ideas that...
Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spiderweb of masonry...
Why was the 2011 tornado season in the U.S. so extreme, and why did so many die?
Jeopardy! challenges even the best human minds. Can a computer win the game?
How can we best prepare for the most lethal volcanic eruptions?
What is it about cold, distant Pluto that captures so many hearts? Join Neil deGrasse...
Follow the story of twin girls joined at the head, as surgeons prepare to separate them.
The Ever-Expanding Universe: How telescopes have expanded our view of the universe
Can markets be rational when humans aren't?
The Mystery of the Milky Way: How telescopes have expanded our view of the universe
One hundred and fifty years later, scientists decode nature's greatest mysteries.
From Ice Age to oil boom, discover the challenges faced and the wealth uncovered as...
Discover the surprising intertwined story of life and the landscape in North America-from...
See the epic 3-billion-year story of how our continent came to be. From palm trees that...
From baboons to bulls, crocodiles to cows, a vast menagerie of animal mummies lies buried...
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a...
A new global geek squad is harnessing cryptography to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals.
Twenty-five years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history...
An archeological detective story traces the origins of the Hebrew Bible.
Istanbul's magnificent Hagia Sophia has survived on one of the world's most active...
More than two thousand years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry...
1500 years ago, how did the Romans engineer bloody spectacles and reenact sea battles?
In Tampa, Florida, in February 2013, a giant hole in the ground opened up and swallowed...
The catastrophic collapse of the ground beneath our feet is a growing worldwide hazard.
On July 4, 2012, scientists at the giant atom smashing facility at CERN announced the...
In less than two minutes in March, a one-square-mile field of debris slammed into the...
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even...
Meet Spinosaurus—the lost killer of the Cretaceous and the world's largest carnivorous...
How did fighter planes evolve from rickety biplanes into deadly machines during WWI?
Experts recreate the French's daring first manned flights, which Franklin had chronicled...
As the epidemic threatens to spiral out of control, scientists race to find a cure....
Can new technology prevent aircraft like Flight MH370 from disappearing without a trace...
Gripping stories from Japan offer lessons on how to act in the face of a deadly disaster.
On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched the biggest armada in history to invade the Normandy...
Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be...
In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia,...
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a...
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a...
Can we return apex predators to their natural environments without endangering humans?
Master craftsmen explore how Florence’s monumental dome was built nearly 600 years ago.
Bronze age bog bodies reveal the strange beliefs of the long-vanished peoples of Europe.
What made Haiyan so destructive, and how can we prepare for the next monster storm?
Will future asteroids trigger massive extinctions—or be mined for precious minerals?
Can scientists unravel the mysterious phenomena that lurk between Earth and space?
Host David Pogue examines groundbreaking research that aims to keep us out of harm’s way.
Host David Pogue asks if cold holds the key to technology that can improve our lives.
What happens when scientists open up nature's toolbox? In "Making Stuff Wilder," David...
Ever since humans stood on two feet we have had the basic urge to go faster. But are...
In October 2012, Megastorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the...
Engineers race to complete 1 World Trade Center as they grapple with the final challenges.
How smart are dogs, and what makes them such ideal companions?
Hear harrowing stories from survivors of Moore’s massive tornado and meet scientists who...
Which technologies worked—and which didn't—in the race to track down the men behind the...
After a massive extinction, diverse marsupials came to dominate this isolated continent...
Some 250 million years ago, some of the largest, most dangerous reptiles ruled this land.
Fossils reveal how life’s explosion in the ocean was recreated on dry land.
Australia’s ancient landscape holds clues to Earth's early history and the beginning of...
A Greek shipwreck holds the remains of an intricate bronze machine that turns out to be...
Can science help us understand why some people commit horrific acts of mass murder?
Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth.
Expert investigators reexamine one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time.
Meet a new breed of flying robots, from tiny swarming vehicles to giant unmanned planes.
Shared DNA reveals a deep connection with our long-vanished human cousins.
Could the explosion of Iceland's ticking time bombs cause cold and famine worldwide?
Was Megastorm Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing...
In its search for life beyond Earth, NASA employs a "sky crane" maneuver to land the...
Virtual autopsies, 3-D fingerprints, and digital crime scenes are making crime-solving...
The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, known for creating the ultimate...
What are dreams and why do we have them? NOVA joins leading dream researchers as they...
The allies used special arial photos to deal a blow to the Nazi rocket program.
Everybody's heard of it, but what does the world's most famous equation E=mc2 really mean...
The ancient art and science behind a Japanese warrior's prized weapon
Einstein's Dream: Eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings...
Eleven dimensions, parallel universes and a world made out of strings. It's not science...
Follow the 2,000-mile migration of monarchs to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico.
A new forensic investigation of a 5,000-year-old mummy reconstructs his death and reveals...
Eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings. It's not science...
Mass graves and forensic evidence reveal a complex truth about how the Inca Empire fell.
New tools let scientists better grasp our star's potentially destructive solar storms.
A two-hour special from the producers of "Making Stuff"
Why did the Incas abandon their city in the clouds?
Can experts recreate an Allied attack from WWII and destroy dams with a bouncing bomb?
Mysteriously beautiful fractals are shaking up the world of mathematics and deepening our...
Einstein's letters shed light on his revolutionary discoveries and his forbidden loves.
Is our universe unique, or could it be just one in an endless "multiverse"?
Take a wild ride into the quantum realm, where even the impossible seems possible.
It defines our lives, but what is time really? Have a look into its true nature.
Surprising clues indicate that space is very much something and not nothing.
We are on the verge of answering one of the greatest questions in history: Are we alone?
Experts in Alaska investigate how dinosaurs managed to thrive in polar regions.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NOVA presents an epic story of engineering,...
Experts zero in on what separates humans from our closest living relatives. Ape Genius...
Journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself.
Centuries old manuscripts reveal the hidden pursuits of a scientific genius.
The story of Galileo, his discoveries, and his struggle with the Catholic Church.
Oliver Saks explores how the power of music can make the brain come alive.
Journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself.
Journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself.
Are we finally on the brink of a clean energy revolution?
An American combat hospital mobilized in Iraq faces a daily drama of wartime treatment.
Follow Dr. Judah Folkman's quest to fight cancer by cutting off blood flow to tumors.
Learn about the elements and their roles in the universe.
Trace human development from embryo to newborn through stunning microimagery.
NOVA chronicles the race to decode the human genome.
Forensic investigators reconstruct the final moments of the Air France disaster.
Explore a new generation of ingenious materials, including real-life invisibility cloaks.
Can innovative materials help solve the energy crisis and lead to a sustainable future?
See the future of tiny stuff --from from silicon chips to micro-robots that probe the...
David Pogue tests his mettle against the world's strongest stuff, from steel and Kevlar...
Big quakes are inevitable, but can we prevent their devastation?
Is Antarctica headed for a catastrophic meltdown? New evidence of ancient climate change...
Inspired by the Bible's account of the splendor of his temples and palaces adorned in...
New archeological finds shed light on this misunderstood monument of the ancient world.
Elevators have transformed our cities and our lives, but how safe are they?
Engineers and NASA scientists aid an all-out effort to save 33 trapped Chilean miners.
The unlikely story about how the world's most beloved telescope was saved
What led to the devastating floods that Hurricane Katrina unleashed on New Orleans?
Wildlife veterinarians struggle to save injured seals and sea lions on the California...
Can California's ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gases actually succeed?
NOVA investigates the worst aviation accident of all time.
Tornado-chasing scientists with an eye to better forecasting risk their lives to plumb...
Scientists journey into one of Earth's most dangerous and beautiful underwater frontiers.
Seven doctors, 21 years... Saving lives is only part of the story.
A marvel of ancient engineering is vanishing. Can it be saved?
Does a supermassive black hole lurk at the center of our galaxy?
An investigation uncovers the human failures and design flaws behind the 2003 Columbia...
Top secret documents rewrite the history of the most famous satellite and the early space...
What happened to American pilots shot down over Korea half a century ago?
An elite corps of U.S. astronauts is trained to gather intelligence on the Soviets.
E.O. Wilson's fascination with little creatures has led him to some very big ideas.
How did the ancient Athenians build this near-flawless icon of Greece's golden age?...
The "Car Talk" guys look for a new breed of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Surprising fossils from northeastern China spur a debate over how birds evolved.
Can the legendary trading vessel of an Egyptian queen sail again?
Dive beneath the surface to discover an untold story of WWII.
Why did the Incas abandon their city in the clouds?
Meet the cuttlefish, one of the brainiest, most bizarre animals in the ocean.
The search for life on the Red Planet heats up with the discovery of frozen water.
Why do huge swarms of rats overrun a bamboo forest in India once every half-century?
Examine the high-tech eavesdropping carried out by the National Security Agency and the...
Join an expedition to the glacier-capped summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain.
The third hour of NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special "Becoming Human" examines why...
The second hour of NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special "Becoming Human" examines new...
The first hour of NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special "Becoming Human" examines the...
Meet the monitors, the largest, fiercest, and craftiest lizards on Earth.
NOVA and National Geographic Television present a two-hour drama on the crisis that...
Explore what it takes for novice runners to make it through a classic test of endurance.
The story of how African-American Percy Julian defied the odds to become a famous chemist.
As the Earth heats up at a dangerous rate and fossil fuels become scarcer, ordinary...
Scientists propose a radical idea of what killed off mammoths and other Ice Age animals.
We are on the brink of a new era of personalized, gene-based medicine. Are we ready for...
Do the remains of a tiny hobbit-like creature on the island of Flores belong to a new...
The Mofu people of Cameroon rely on an an army ant to protect their homes and crops.
Experts reconstruct the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to prepare for the next big one.
Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are on the rise. What can be done?
Israel's remote Cave of Letters holds clues to a Jewish uprising against the Romans.
The story of the harnessing of cold and the race to reach the lowest temperature possible.
The story behind the centuries-long decipherment of ancient Maya hieroglyphs.
In Greenland, a deserted B-29 bomber awaits rescue for more than fifty years.
An acclaimed photographer joins scientists to document the runaway melting of glaciers.
Explore scientific discoveries on television's most acclaimed science documentary series.

Upcoming Episodes

Sun 5/27, 11:00am
Extreme Animal Weapons
Explore the secrets that underlie nature's battleground. Every animal has some kind of weapon, whether claws or horns, fangs or stings. But why are some armaments huge and extreme, far beyond any practical need?
Wed 5/30, 10:00pm
Inside Einstein's Mind

Retrace Einstein's thought experiments as NOVA reveals the simple but powerful ideas that reshaped our understanding of gravity, illuminating the theory of general relativity-and Einstein's brilliance-as never before.