Nova’s Century of Discovery

July 1st, 1993 - June 30th, 1994 | PROJECT

NOVA'S CENTURY OF DISCOVERY is a series of five prime-time documentary specials to be shown nationally over the Public Broadcasting Service(PBS) during late 1997 or early 1998. Altogether the programs will tell a sweeping story, celebrating the end of a remarkable century of discovery when science advance further than in all previous centuries combined, and when every scientific discipline underwent a revolution. Yet the closing of the 20th century coincides with an ever-widening gap between what scientists know and what most of the public comprehends. To increase public understanding of science, scientists, and scientific methods, the series will provide a dramatic retelling and interpretation of the century's most enduring scientific endeavors. Each two-hour program will probe several related fields of investigation and application: views of the universe and of matter; origins of the planet and of life; health, medicine, and the human body; human nature and behavior; and technology and engineering. A marriage of scholarship and entertainment, NOVA'S CENTURY OF DISCOVERY will be created using all the tools at the command of its award winning production team including archival footage and stills; personal accounts; letters, dairies, and other primary sources; computer animation; and even dramatic re-creations. Indeed, the series will not only make a unique contribution to the public and historical record, but also offer viewers an unprecedented opportunity to view 100 years of scientific pursuits as a unified whole, to recast their perceptions of science and scientists, and to be intrigued, even inspired, by a view of science as a never-ending and very human quest for answers and solutions. A special outreach and promotion campaign will increase audience awareness of the series, particularly among nontraditional PBS viewers. In addition, carefully developed teaching and learning materials will extend the series' reach into formal and informal educational settings, including high school and college classrooms, and community and youth-serving organizations.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Paula Apsell, Principal Investigator, WGBH
Tom Friedman, Co-Principal Investigator, WGBH
Jon Palfreman, Co-Principal Investigator, WGBH


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9353566
Funding Amount: 50000


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Engineering | Geoscience and geography | Health and medicine | History | policy | law | Life science | Nature of science | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Community Outreach Programs | Higher Education Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology | Public Programs