NOVA

Traveling Through Time

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Is it possible to travel through time? Einstein’s theory of relativity states that the stronger the gravitational pull on an object, the more time slows for that object. Scientists predict that if someone were to travel to a place with a lot of gravity, like near a black hole, time would pass more slowly for that person. In this video excerpt from NOVA’s "The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time," host and theoretical physicist Brian Greene takes a journey through space—and time—to illustrate what time travel might really be like.

Homo Sapiens Versus Neanderthals

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Explore the origins of modern humans. Fossil evidence from Middle East caves and elsewhere has revealed some competitive advantages modern humans, known as Homo sapiens, are believed to have held over the more archaic human species, Neanderthals. For example, during the time in which the two species may have coexisted, Homo sapiens lived on high ground, from which they could survey the landscape and plan their hunting expeditions. Some scientists have theorized that the success of this strategy may have contributed to the demise of the valley-dwelling Neanderthals, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago. Adapted from NOVA.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Peregrine Falcons in Urban Settings | World's Fastest Animal

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Learn how peregrine falcons have adapted to life in cities in these videos from NOVA: World’s Fastest Animal. Use this resource to illustrate how a particular environment meets the basic needs for an organism’s survival and to stimulate questions and thinking about peregrine falcons.

Overcoming the Challenges of Solar-Powered Flight | The Impossible Flight

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Learn about the challenges that engineers overcame to build a solar-powered airplane that flew around the world, in these videos from NOVA: The Impossible Flight. Use this resource to consider the kinds of trade-offs that engineers need to make to meet strict design challenges and how more efficient clean energy technologies are possible.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic with Harm Reduction Strategies | Addiction

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Learn how harm reduction strategies are used to treat people suffering from opioid addiction and consider how public health approaches can improve current treatments, in this video from NOVA: Addiction. This video follows a doctor who volunteers for a harm reduction program that offers its patients a life-saving drug to be taken in case of an overdose, free hepatitis and HIV testing, and needle exchange. The program’s primary goal is to stop preventable deaths and new disease outbreaks. This type of intervention reflects an approach favored by some public health and medical experts to end the opioid and other drug-use epidemics by understanding addiction as a disease rather than as a stigmatized or criminal behavior.

Why Recovering from Opioid Addiction Is so Difficult | Addiction

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Examine biological mechanisms in the brain that help explain emotions and behaviors resulting from chronic opioid use, in this video from NOVA: Addiction. Opioids are a class of drug that includes prescription pain relievers as well as illegal drugs such as heroin. Because opioids change brain function and affect biological feedback mechanisms, opioid addiction is especially hard to overcome. Neurological scans of chronic drug users show decreased grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain associated with decision making. This condition lowers one’s ability to control behavior. Opioids can also change the way DNA functions, switching on genes that should be off and switching off genes that should be on. This creates an imbalance that impairs brain function.

NOVA: Can Math Help Detect Gerrymandering?

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Learn about gerrymandering—the manipulation of district boundaries for political advantage—and see how geometry can be used to detect and help solve the problem in this video from NOVA. Use this resource to see how math can be used in a real-world situation and to stimulate thinking about models of population density.

P-Value as a Benchmark in Experimental Research | Prediction by the Numbers

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Learn about the origins and meaning of “p-value,” a statistical measure of probability that has become a benchmark for success in experimental science, in this video from NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers. In the 1920s and 1930s, British scientist Ronald A. Fisher laid out guidelines for designing experiments using statistics and probability to judge results. He proposed that if experimental results were due to chance alone, they would occur less than 5 percent (0.05) of the time. The lower the p-value, the less likely the experimental results were caused by chance. Use this resource to stimulate thinking and questions about the use of statistics and probability to test hypotheses and evaluate experimental results.

Rocket Engine Design Problem | Apollo’s Daring Mission

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Learn how NASA engineers identified and solved a problem with the F-1 rocket engine, in this video from NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission. Use this resource to stimulate thinking about the design process and to provide opportunities for students to define problems and test and evaluate designs.

Using Probability in Search-and-Rescue Operations | Prediction by the Numbers

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Explore how probability can be used to help find people lost at sea, even when rescuers have very little information, in this video from NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers. To improve its search-and-rescue efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard has developed a system that uses Bayesian inference, a mathematical concept that dates back to the 18th century. The Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS) uses a mathematical approach to calculate probabilities of where a floating person or object might be based on changing ocean currents, wind direction, or other new information. Use this resource to stimulate thinking and questions about appropriate uses of statistical methods.

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