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The Nature of Things

Season 21 1980 - 1981

  • 1980-10-09T00:00:00Z on CBC (CA)
  • 45 mins
  • 16 hours, 30 mins
  • Canada
  • English
  • Documentary

The Nature of Things is one of the most successful series in the history of Canadian television. Hosted by the world-renowned geneticist and environmentalist, David Suzuki, the program is in its 57th season, a landmark by any standard.

Every week, the influential program presents stories that are driven by a scientific understanding of the world. Stories full of adventure, drama and insight. Our programs entertain and inspire audiences by engaging with the people and personalities behind the science.

From the search for other life in the universe to the psychology of babies, from the furry animals that invade your backyard to the consequences of human progress, The Nature of Things throws open the door to the wonder and accomplishments of science.

22 episodes

21x01 Mount St. Helen

  • Season Premiere

    1980-10-09T00:00:00Z — 45 mins

(Season Premiere) David Suzuki highlights the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano, the uses of hovercraft by the Canadian Coast Guard, new types of radar and the effects which a baseball has when it spins through the air.

A report on cystic fibrosis, a genetic respiratory ailment that afflicts young people; and a profile of one of its victims, 24-year-old nurse Susan McKellar. Other segments examine the International Crane Foundation's efforts to save the whooping crane from extinction; and research into cold-water survival techniques.

Three films are featured: The Bare Necessity, dealing with the human skin; Manatees, concerning a unique vegetarian creature which lives in coastal waters, and Ludhiana, a profile of an Indian city which serves as the home base for 12,000 different business enterprises.

21x04 Tar Wars

  • 1980-10-30T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

Documentary film on the tar sands Atabaska.

Scheduled items include Alternate Car Fuel; Surface Tension and Science Fair.

21x06 Chinese Culture (1)

  • 1980-11-13T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

The first of two hours filmed in China examines traditional aspects of Chinese culture- herbal medicine, acupuncture, language- and provides a look at some of the country's famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace in Peking.

21x07 Modern China (2)

  • 1980-11-20T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

The professional and recreational activities of the Chinese people are examined in a tour of their homes, factories and parks, as well as the palaces which were formerly the homes of Emperors.

A magazine edition features items about the survival instincts of the insect world and the research currently being conducted in regard to sickle cell anemia.

21x09 Invisible Astronomy

  • 1980-12-04T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

Host David Suzuki visits the Algonquin Park Observatory and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as he reports on the use of radio astronomy and the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. The work of the National Research Council in studying unusual wave formations, recent developments in the exploration of outer space through radio astronomy, and a visit with scientist Joel Hildebrand of the University of California are featured.

Scheduled: Reports on prenatal diagnosis of spina bifida, Tay-Sachs disease and Down's syndrome using amniocentesis, ultrasonography and fetoscopy; the use of chinchillas in researching damage to human ears caused by exposure to noise.

21x11 One of the Family

  • 1981-01-08T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

A film from OECA about a Toronto family whose youngest child, a boy, was born with cerebral palsy. Produced by Christa Singer. Also, "Oyster Culture" and a report on the American Association for the Advancement of Science convention held in Toronto.

Magazine edition featuring the following items - a report from State University of New York at Buffalo on the structure of birds' eggs and how their porosity enables the growing chick to breathe inside the egg; film shows how oxygen enters the egg through the multitude of small holes and how this differs in small eggs and large; also, research into the incubating behaviour of herons and terns and how this affects the development of their eggs and chicks. Newfound land Oil. A look at the social and ecological changes occurring in some of the fishing villages of Newfoundland where oil exploration surveys are being conducted.

21x13 Poisoned Playgrounds / Charlie

  • 1981-01-29T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

Poisoned Playgrounds - A report by producer Heather Cook on the use of pesticides in an Ontario community and the action taken by parents when insecticide spraying at a school proved hazardous to children's health. Charlie - A repeat of a film first telecast December 17, 1978 about a Canadian archaeologist.

21x14 The Moving Still

  • 1981-02-12T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

A look at the history of scientific photography from its beginnings in 1837 to the present-day use of high-speed cameras.

21x15 Sri Lanka: Island of Serendib

  • 1981-02-19T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

The island paradise of Sri Lanka is visited in a comprehensive study that examines the dangers its wildlife faces from cultural and technological changes.

21x16 Tar Sands

  • 1981-03-05T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

Documentary about the oil sands.

Blackfly: A look at the life cycle of the blackfly, and its effects in northern Canada and Africa. Desalination: A practical method of desalination using reverse osmosis is presented. Memory - Come to think of it (repeat): A look at recent research into the brain's memory capacities. Dr. Karl Illmensee: A look at the work being done by Dr. Karl Illmensee (de) at the University of Geneva to study the possibility of causing cancerous cells to revert back to normal cells.

21x18 The Foxes' Earth

  • 1981-03-26T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

For centuries the people of the village of Huasicancha in Peru lived under the domination of others, from the last of the Inca rulers to the Spanish conquerors and subsequent regimes. How the people finally rose up to reclaim the poor land they farmed at a subsistence level is told in this documentary.

21x19 The Last of Life / The Cajuns

  • 1981-04-02T01:00:00Z — 45 mins

The Last of Life: A look at geriatric medicine and some aspects of research into the biology of aging. The Cajuns: The descendants of Nova Scotia's Acadians and their lifestyle are profiled at their adopted home, the Bayou Lafourche in southern Louisiana.

21x22 Skin / Manatees / Ludhiana

  • 1981-06-09T00:00:00Z — 45 mins

Today's topics are Skin; Manatees; Ludhiana.