skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

NOVA: Making Stuff: Cleaner

Airs Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Hydrogen car in "NOVA: Making Stuff: Cleaner."

Nature’s Super-Materials

In the pursuit of stronger, cleaner, and altogether better materials, scientists are turning to Mother Nature for inspiration. Biomimicry (literally "imitating life") is a field of science that studies naturally occurring processes and designs and looks for ways to mimic them. In this slide show, see some of the amazing structures and properties that animals and plants have evolved, and learn about new human-made super-materials they are giving rise to.

Solar panels at FedEx in Oakland, California
Enlarge this image

Above: Solar panels at FedEx in Oakland, California

The Stuff of Smartphones

See the materials and technologies that go into a smartphone as well as their environmental impact.

Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of?

In NOVA's four-hour series, "Making Stuff," popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes viewers on a fun-filled tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we've ever seen.

Can innovations in materials science help clean up our world? In "Making Stuff: Cleaner," David Pogue explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it.

Is hydrogen the way to go? What about lithium batteries? Does this solve an energy problem or create a new dependency? Pogue investigates the latest developments in bio-based fuels and in harnessing solar energy for our cars, homes, and industry in a program full of the stuff of a sustainable future.

Up Next: NOVA "Making Stuff Smarter," airs Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The other episodes include "Making Stuff Smaller" and "Making Stuff Stronger."

NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Cleaner

Above: Can innovative materials help solve the energy crisis and lead to a sustainable future? David Pogue investigates in NOVA "Making Stuff: Cleaner."

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Smarter

Above: In "Making Stuff Smarter," explore a new generation of ingenious materials, from clothes that monitor your mood to real-life invisibility cloaks.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Stronger

Above: In "Making Stuff Stronger," David Pogue tests his mettle against the world’s strongest stuff, from steel and Kevlar to bioengineered silk.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Smaller

Above: In "Making Stuff Smaller," future technologies will depend on tiny stuff—from silicon chips to micro-robots that probe the human body.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff: Interview with host David Pogue

Above: Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA's fascinating new four-hour series, MAKING STUFF, popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes 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, smaller, smarter, and cleaner than anything we've ever seen.