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Wednesday, January 19 at 9 p.m. NOVA Making Stuff

(Rochester, NY) On Wednesday, January 19 at 9 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11) presents the first of a fascinating four-part NOVA series entitled Making Stuff. Popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue will take viewers on a thrilling tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead—offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations that are ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smarter, smaller, and cleaner than anything we’ve ever seen. This fast-paced special rolls out over the course of four Wednesdays, begining January 19.

NOVA begins the ambitious series with a quest for the world’s strongest stuff in Making Stuff: Stronger, airing Wednesday, January 19 at 9 p.m. . Host David Pogue helps viewers understand what defines strength, examining everything from mollusks to a toucan’s beak, and testing the world’s strongest materials. Pogue travels from the deck of a U.S. naval aircraft carrier to a demolition derby to the country’s top research labs to check in with the experts who are re-engineering what nature has given us to create the next generation of strong “stuff.” Immediately following the broadcast at 10 p.m. WXXI will conduct an online chat with local scientists about the program. To participate in the chat, viewers should log on to WXXI.org/makingstuff.

The series continues with:

Making Stuff: Smaller, Wednesday, January 26 at 9 p.m. How small can we go? Could we one day have robots taking “fantastic voyages” in our bodies to kill rogue cells? The triumphs of tiny are seen all around us in the Information Age: transistors, microchips, laptops, cell phones. Now, David Pogue takes NOVA viewers to an even smaller world, examining the latest in high-powered nano circuits and micro-robots that may one day hold the key to saving lives and creating materials from the ground up, atom by atom. Pogue explores the star materials of small applications, including silicon, the stuff of computer chips, and carbon, the element now being manipulated at the atomic level to produce future technology.

Making Stuff: Cleaner, Wednesday, February 2 at 9 p.m. Most modern materials are dangerous to the environment, but what about cleaning up our world? Batteries grown from viruses, tires made from orange peel oil, plastics made of sugar, and solar cells that cook up hydrogen–these are just a few glimpses of a new generation of clean materials that could power devices of the future. David Pogue explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it.

Making Stuff: Smarter, Wednesday, February 9 at 9 p.m. What can nature teach us about building smarter materials? Can we create materials that sense and respond? “When describing ‘smart materials,’ one analogy scientists give is the evolution from the first Terminator robot, a machine made of metal and circuitry, to the shape-shifting ‘liquid guy’ in Terminator 2,” said Making Stuff producer Chris Schmidt. Smarter looks into the growing number of materials that almost seem alive–able to react, change, and even learn.

In addition to the January 19 Stronger online chat, WXXI will host Making Stuff Science Cafe at the Rochester Museum & Science Center on Saturday, February 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. Guests will preview clips from the series and participate in a community conversation with University of Rochester scientists Lewis Rothberg and Todd Krauss. The event is free, and open to the public (recommended for high school students and adults), but reservations are required. Register at http://wxxi.org/makingstuff.

The Rochester Museum & Science Center has also invited WXXI and Making Stuff to participate in its Science Saturday event on Saturday, February 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families will engage in hands-on material science demonstrations, which is part of the museum's addmission. Museum admission: Adults $10, Seniors/College Students $9, Ages 3–18 $8, Children under 3 FREE.

Pictured: David Pogue with NOVA car
Credit: Courtesy of Powderhouse Productions


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.