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NOVA; Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secret


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Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secret
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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

In the final hour of this three-part look at the basis of life, viewers meet Lennart Nilsson, the man who brought "Miracle of Life" to the screen, and learn some of the technical secrets behind his astonishing photography. Nilsson began his career as a photojournalist and photographer for Life Magazine, taking portraits of celebrities and prominant figures such as Ingrid Bergman, Igor Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong and the Swedish royal family. In the fifties, Nilsson turned to science and the quest to reveal the secrets of life. This episode shows Nilsson at work, with tiny lenses used to film inside the body and scanning electron microscopes with which he captures incredible images of microscopic organisms and viruses.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secret,” 09/26/1996, GBH Archives, accessed May 24, 2024,
MLA: “NOVA; Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secret.” 09/26/1996. GBH Archives. Web. May 24, 2024. <>.
APA: NOVA; Odyssey of Life: The Photographer's Secret. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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