theory

NOVA
Inside Einstein’s Mind

NOVA: Instead 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.

 

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NOVA
Mystery of Easter Island

NOVA Mystery of Easter Island

 

A remote, bleak speck of rock in the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues, or moai, weighing as much as 86 tons each? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to “walk” the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory – serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world’s most intriguing enigmas.

 

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A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting

 

CEO Message

A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting

 CEO Message: A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting. Ornithologist Auguste von Bayern with a jackdaw
Ornithologist Auguste von Bayern, with a jackdaw, from the NOVA episode Bird Brain

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO“What a bird brain!” “You’re a Neanderthal!” Not so long ago, these were taunts. But, thanks to recent research by scientists and the fine documentaries on PBS, we know better.

 

And I’m just the person to be thrilled by these discoveries. When I was a kid, my no-nonsense grandmother called me a bird brain every time I forgot my rubber slippers on our neighbors’ porch, which was often. And just last month, a 23andme.com ancestry test turned up Neanderthal DNA in my family.

 

When you sit back and view Nature or NOVA on Wednesday nights on PBS Hawai‘i, you sometimes have a front row seat to myth-busting. In vibrant video, you see that some of the ideas and conclusions printed in our old textbooks have been blown away.

 

As depicted in the recent NOVA episode Bird Brain, birds are far from empty-headed. They make great use of their small neuron-packed brains. They turn pebbles and sticks into tools; they plan multiple steps to solve problems; and some even “read” human faces. Put birds to the test with puzzles – and they can figure out when to defer a reward in order to snag a bigger one later.

 

In NOVA’s Decoding Neanderthals, we learned that these hominoids were not the brutish, knuckle-dragging simpletons we’d conjured. They were powerfully built, yes, but they also had large brains. They were adept at tool-making, and in fact, may have developed the first synthetic product, a type of glue. It was a very tough life in the Ice Age, and it’s unlikely that most Neanderthals lived past age 30.

 

Within the last decade, it’s been confirmed that Neanderthals interbred with their close cousins, homo sapiens. Many of us of European or Asian ancestry carry snippets of Neanderthal DNA. That’s just what my brother’s genetic test showed. In fact, he has more than the average amount.

 

A prevailing theory holds that our homo sapiens ancestors vanquished the Neanderthals. With the recent genetic evidence, another theory merits consideration: Through mating, the Neanderthals – with their smaller populations – were simply absorbed into homo sapiens life. Look for a brand-new PBS program about Neanderthals this month, Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors on Wednesday, February 28 at 9:00 pm. [Note: Since publication, PBS has announced that the program has been postponed until further notice.] I suspect there’ll be further re-branding of my ancient forebears.

 

We want to thank Dr. Belinda A. Aquino for generously sponsoring the broadcasts of both Nature and NOVA on PBS Hawai‘i. A retired University of Hawai‘i political science professor, Dr. Aquino is an internationally recognized authority on contemporary Philippine affairs. She tells me that she savors these programs about natural phenomena because they inspire new ways to think about humanity and the world around us.

 

And I’d like to thank you, too, for your support of PBS Hawai‘i’s role of adding new perspectives and context to our collective understanding of history and current affairs. Myth-busting is a byproduct!

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

The Greeks
Chasing Greatness

 

Explore Greek history with archaeologists, historians, scientists and artists who are launching groundbreaking new explorations of what made the achievements of the ancient Greeks great.

 

Chasing Greatness
Watch as ancient Greece’s legacy is invoked in Athens and at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Take a look back at its rise and fall, which might not only help us understand the challenges we face now, but may also point toward a better future.

 

The Greeks
The Good Strife

 

Explore Greek history with archaeologists, historians, scientists and artists who are launching groundbreaking new explorations of what made the achievements of the ancient Greeks great.

 

The Good Strife
In the wake of the Bronze Age collapse, Greek civilization entered a crippling dark age. But with centralized monarchies out of the way, a new type of society was given the chance to rise from the ashes — built not by kings from the top down, but by individuals from the bottom up. Through centuries of strife, or perhaps because of them, this disparate group of people, bound by a common language, epic stories of heroic ancestors, a shared belief in the gods and an insatiably competitive spirit, delivered some of humanity’s greatest achievements – from the first Olympic Games to early theories of nature to an entirely new system of government: democracy.

 

Particle Fever

 

Follow six brilliant scientists for the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, built to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang and search for the Higgs boson, marking the start of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet.

 

FIRST PEOPLES
Europe

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Air date: Wed., July 8, 9:00 pm

 

See how the mixing of prehistoric human genes led the way for our species to survive
and thrive around the globe. Archaeology, genetics and anthropology cast new light on
200,000 years of history, detailing how early humans became dominant.

 

Europe
When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals.
The two types of human were similar enough to interbreed – and they were just as
capable of making artifacts. But as more Homo sapiens moved into Europe, there was
an explosion of art and symbolic thought. The balance of power had shifted and
Neanderthals were overwhelmed.

 

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