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NOVA; Wave that Shook the World



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Wave that Shook the World
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

On December 26, 2004, a series of tidal waves killed hundreds of thousands and devastated communities around the Indian Ocean. With around 100 tsunamis striking the world's coastlines each decade, NOVA investigates what made the recent event so powerful and catastrophic. In a special report shot within days of this shocking disaster, NOVA's"Wave that Shook the World" presents a clear explanation and analysis of the tragedy, revealing exactly how these deadly waves were triggered by one of the most powerful earthquakes recorded this century. Can an effective early warning system help avert another such catastrophe? Ever since a tsunami killed 159 on Hawaii's Big Island in 1946, awareness of the threat in the Pacific has steadily grown, leading to an early warning system there that has saved untold numbers. NOVA takes viewers back to the morning of December 26, 2004, when scientists at the Pacific Center registered the massive quake and tsunami risk in the Indian Ocean but were mostly powerless to alert those in peril. NOVA looks at the status of efforts to implement a similar system in the Indian Ocean, with a special update to be produced just before the program airs. "Wave that Shook the World" presents a chilling minute-by-minute picture of what happened that fateful morning. With the help of clear explanations and animation, together with the human stories of individuals caught up in the catastrophe, NOVA's program is both illuminating and heartbreaking.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Wave that Shook the World,” 03/18/2004, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 18, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DDB877BD19DF4FA3ADFA42725399DB0E.
MLA: “NOVA; Wave that Shook the World.” 03/18/2004. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 18, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DDB877BD19DF4FA3ADFA42725399DB0E>.
APA: NOVA; Wave that Shook the World. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DDB877BD19DF4FA3ADFA42725399DB0E
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