Playlist Science


The constellation Orion, with Betelgeuse the reddish star in the top left

One of the Brightest Stars In the Night Sky Is Getting Dimmer

Betelgeuse, a red supergiant that is part of the constellation Orion, has recently been unusually dimmer. Is it the sign of an impending supernova, or something else—and what can it teach us about stars and the origins of the universe?
Rescan Day

Rescan Your TV on October 15, 2019 to Continue Watching WTTW (and also on October 18 for other channels)

If you watch WTTW with an over-the-air antenna, you will need to rescan your television on October 15, 2019 in order to keep receiving WTTW. And you will need to rescan again on October 18 to see other broadcast channels. Due to a government-mandated change, most broadcast stations in our area are required to move frequencies.

In addition, WTTW will be off the air for approximately three hours starting at midnight on October 15 (Monday night into Tuesday morning). 

Emily Graslie, just outside Hanna, WY, Prehistoric Road Trip. Photo credit: Julie Florio and WTTW

PBS Announces a New, National WTTW Series, 'Prehistoric Road Trip'

PBS officially announced today a new, national series exploring 2.5 billion years of Earth's history produced by WTTW and hosted by Emily Graslie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent at the Field Museum and creator of the YouTube series "The Brain Scoop."
Mae Jemison

The American Astronauts Who Made History and Set Records

More than 550 people from 36 countries have traveled to space. Beyond household names like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, dozens of Americans became celebrated "firsts" and set records, like the farthest distance travelled from Earth, the first person enrolled in a Native American tribe to travel to space, and the most number of days spent in orbit.
Neil Armstrong's footprint on the moon

Who Are the 12 Men Who Walked on the Moon?

In a span of just three years, NASA sent twelve people—all men—to the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are household names, but what about the others? Among them are a man who overcame dyslexia, one who believed in UFOs, and another who subscribed to creationism.
NOVA: Back to the Moon. Image: WGBH

A New Era of Lunar Exploration and Possibility

Fifty years after the first lunar landing, there's a new wave of interest in returning to the moon and utilizing its resources, as China, India, and Japan amp up their space programs and NASA starts turning towards private companies to achieve its own ambitious goals. 
Apollo 11 astronauts

When the Moon Landing Became a Conspiracy Theory

Less than a decade after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the first widespread conspiracy theories emerged, claiming that the landing was a hoax. Even today, vloggers on YouTube and podcast hosts still promote several conspiracy theories that are easily debunked from scientific, photographic, and physical evidence.
Ed White, the first American to walk in space, on Gemini 4 mission. Photo: Courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, June 1965

Our Summer of Space Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing

Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, humans landed on the moon for the first time. To celebrate that epochal achievement, we have a whole lineup of space-themed programming this summer. Get a preview of our new Summer of Space programming here!  
Emily Graslie on Chicago Tonight on April 10, 2018

Emily Graslie Is Making a Show With Us!

Emily Graslie, the creator and host of the endlessly enlightening science YouTube channel The Brain Scoop and the Field Museum's Chief Curiosity Correspondent, is making a show with us exploring the fossils and incredible geology of the Northern Plains region where she grew up.
The iconic Earthrise photo from Apollo 8. Photo: NASA

The First Time Humans Orbited the Moon

On Christmas Eve of 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8 read from the Bible while broadcasting images of the moon from closer than any person had ever been. Not only was it the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, it also gave us one of the most iconic images ever. 
Leon Lederman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nobel Prize-Winning Fermilab Physicist Leon Lederman Has Died

Lederman, who won a Nobel Prize in 1988 for demonstrating that there are at least two kinds of particles called neutrinos, coined the Higgs boson's nickname "the God particle," and worked at Fermilab outside Chicago as well as the University of Chicago, has died at age 96.
A jumping spider in Nova Wonders. Photo: WGBH Educational Foundation

'NOVA Wonders' About Science's Unanswered Questions

NOVA usually focuses on questions scientists know the answers to, but the new miniseries NOVA Wonders asks the questions we don’t fully understand: what is dark matter? Is there extraterrestrial life? Can build a truly intelligent artifical intelligence?
Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic explores the roots of the crisis and stories of people affected. Get even more background from Frontline, through one of their investigative films and various articles examining the opioid crisis.
An illustration of a black hole. Image: Courtesy WGBH

Curving Spacetime: Mind-Boggling Facts about Black Holes

They're a curvature in spacetime that even light can't escape; an object sucked into one is crushed into an infinite density. We haven't been able to see them, but we can hear them, in a sense. Learn more confounding information about these enigmas of space.
A double-decker bus during the Great Smog of London, in 1952

When Pollution Blocked Out the Sun

65 years ago on December 5, a deadly smog descended on London. Transportation stopped, people fell into the Thames, and an estimated 12,000 people died. Today, New Delhi has similar problems. How serious is pollution today?
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