GBH Openvault

NOVA ScienceNow; Mass Extinction; 1918 Flu; Papyrus; Profile: Cynthia Breazeal


Season 2, Episode 2 Green Label ANA anamorphic 6/18/08 Repacked for 8/13/08 PBS Air

License Clip

This program cannot be made available on Open Vault.

More material may be available from this program at the GBH Archives. If you would like research access to the collection at GBH, please email

NOVA ScienceNow
Mass Extinction; 1918 Flu; Papyrus; Profile: Cynthia Breazeal
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered January 2005 NOVA scienceNOW is a new series produced by NOVA. For more than three decades, NOVA has been unrivaled in bringing authoritative, innovative, and entertaining science documentaries to television. Now the same award-winning producers have teamed up with veteran reporter Robert Krulwich to cover the timeliest developments and intriguing personalities in science and technology today. Presenting multiple stories in a magazine format hosted by Krulwich and reported by a diverse team of correspondents in the field, NOVA scienceNOW will air five times a year in the NOVA time slot.

NOVA scienceNOW has named Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, respected scientist, author, and director of the Hayden Planetarium in the Rose Center For Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, to host the science magazine series with the launch of its second season in the Fall of 2006. Series release date: 1/25/2005

Program Description

Researchers believe they have an idea of what caused the greatest extinction of life ever. The die-off occurred 248 million years ago at the end of the Paleozoic Era's Permian period, which lasted from 290 to 248 million years ago. The Permian extinction may have been the result of global warming. In fact, some scientists think that environmental events, such as ice ages and extreme warming, might explain several of Earth's five mass extinctions, all of which occurred in the past 600 million years.

A virus that killed up to 50 million people is brought back to life to decipher its deadliness.

Health-care workers in many countries are very concerned about the increasing possibility of a devastating worldwide pandemic caused by the H5N1 avian flu virus that has recently appeared in Asia. Scientists explain that they are studying the virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic to gain insight into how a virulent flu virus spreads and what makes it so virulent.

Microbiologist Terrence Tumpey, whose team revived the virus, answers viewer questions about the 1918 flu, its recreation, and more.

One hundred years ago, archeologists unearthed papyrus fragments from an ancient garbage dump on the site of Oxyrhynchus, the third largest city in Egypt when Greece ruled that land. Many of the fragments were too stained and dirty to be deciphered, at least until recently. A NASA-developed multispectral imaging technology has helped papyrologists read these fragments and understand their historical significance.

Papyrologist Roger Macfarlane answers viewer questions about ancient papyri, the multispectral imaging used to decipher them, and more.

A daring engineer designs robots to communicate and interact the way people do. Cynthia Breazeal answers viewer questions about her life, her robots, and the future of robotics in society.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Linde, Olicker (Series Producer)
Chicago: “NOVA ScienceNow; Mass Extinction; 1918 Flu; Papyrus; Profile: Cynthia Breazeal,” 11/08/2006, GBH Archives, accessed June 17, 2024,
MLA: “NOVA ScienceNow; Mass Extinction; 1918 Flu; Papyrus; Profile: Cynthia Breazeal.” 11/08/2006. GBH Archives. Web. June 17, 2024. <>.
APA: NOVA ScienceNow; Mass Extinction; 1918 Flu; Papyrus; Profile: Cynthia Breazeal. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.