Playlist Science


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?
Astronaut Scott Kelly. Photo: Victor Zelentsov / NASA

How a Year in Space Affects the Human Body

Astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days in space while his twin brother Mark stayed on Earth. Scientists are comparing the brothers to understand the effects of space on the human body. What have they learned? How do humans fare after a year in space?
Frontline: War on the EPA. Photo: Reuters/Christopher Aluka Berry

Scott Pruitt and the 'War on the EPA'

The director of the Frontline investigation War on the EPA discusses the "role reversal" at the EPA under Scott Pruitt, where "the regulated become the regulator," and the importance of battles over environmental regulation in the election of Donald Trump. 
A rendering of NASA's Cassini above Saturn's northern pole, ready to dive into Saturn's rings. Image: Courtesy NASA

Eight Mind-Expanding Discoveries Made by NASA's Cassini Mission

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for thirteen years, gathering data about the planet, its many unique moons, and its mysterious rings. Now it is poised to make a final dive into the planet's atmosphere. What have scientists learned from this extraordinary mission?
Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune in photos taken by the Voyager spacecraft. Photo: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

One of Humanity's Most Astonishing Achievements

With less computing power than a smartphone, the Voyager spacecraft have traveled more than twenty-two billion miles between them, carrying a Golden Record documenting earth. Launched forty years ago, the Voyager mission is the first human-made object to reach interstellar space.
Composite image of totality showing the corona during the 2015 eclipse in Svalbard with the magnetic field of the sun outlined in the coronal loops. Photo: Jay Pasachoff & Ron Dantowitz

Test Your Solar Eclipse Knowledge

Did you watch the solar eclipse yesterday? Test your knowledge of the 2017 eclipse and general solar eclipse knowledge here, as you bask in the afterglow of the amazing event.
This image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the moon crossing in front of the sun. Photo: NASA/SDO

Watching the Eclipse Across America

It's been almost four decades since the last one, and another won't happen until 2024: the first total solar eclipse to pass over the lower 48 states since 1979 is a big deal – you don't want to miss it. Find live feeds and other resources from PBS stations across the country.
A solar eclipse.

The Solar Eclipse: Unlike Anything Else in the Sky

On August 21, the first total solar eclipse since 1979 that can be seen in the lower 48 states will cross America. In Chicago, we'll see 87% of the sun covered. The Adler Planetarium shares tips and fun facts about eclipse: "Pictures don't do it justice."
The Amazon River. Photo: SK Films

"The Thrill of Discovery": Henry Walter Bates's 'Amazon Adventure'

The executive producer of a new IMAX film about a naturalist integral to the theory of evolution talks about Bates's contribution and the importance of science education and film's use in it.
A damaged pipe in Flint, Michigan. Photo: Caitlin Saks/WGBH

NOVA: Poisoned Water in Flint

NOVA: Poisoned Water investigates what caused the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. "Our water infrastructure is more fragile and more vulnerable than we realize,” says filmmaker Llewellyn Smith. 
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