NOVA: Adventures in Science by WGBH/Boston

NOVA: Adventures in Science

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To celebrate NOVA's tenth anniversary: a reprise of the shows, with diagrams and pictures, interviews with scientists, and some background on how the generally estimable TV science programs are put together. The introductory, behind-the-scenes sections are mildly self-congratulatory. Viewers of the Boston-based public broadcasting station might be amused to know, however, that WGBH stands for Great Blue Hill, site of the transmitter; and there's at least one good belly laugh about the time they had to fake a housemade robot by persuading a pint-sized actress to be the prime mover inside the metal box. The bulk of the book consists of short takes, some as brief as a two-page spread, culled from the more popular programs. Though there is some attempt at organization (Origins, Exploration, Healing, Technology), the subject matter is so diverse that the result resembles a file of Sunday supplement pieces. ""Origins,"" for example, includes quarks, volcanoes, evolution, spiders, language, and male-female differences in child-rearing--while ""Healing"" roams from Chinese barefoot doctors to the discovery of endomorphins and the aging process. ""Exploration"" is the most coherent, with summaries of the US and USSR space programs, and astronomy topics in general. The interviews with scientists are generally unsuccessful, all too often gushing with admiration or heavy on How Science Is Done. Otherwise, the writing matches the slightly highbrow tone of the show, mincing no word and wasting none either the kind of style that might evolve from the time-constraints of broadcasting. The book is announced as the first of a series. Let's hope future entries will be more thematic; even fans might balk at further potpourris of past attractions.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1982
Publisher: Addison/Wesley