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.
An examination of the sun from various points of view. Includes discussion with illustrative film footage of: archeological remains; architecture; art; Eleusinian mysteries; the Greek god Apollo; a Hindu temple to the sun god with astrological wheel; Latvian summer festival; the Egypttian sun god Aton-Re; the beliefs of North American, South American and Australian native peoples; and nudists frolicking in the forest. The program makes use of the view of J.G. Grazer, author of "The Golden Bough", that primitive myth and magic were a primitive form of science.
The famous Niagara Falls had their origins at Queenston 12,000 years ago. Since then, they have receded seven miles. This program tells the natural history of the falls, the Niagara River and the gorge, showing how the shoreline has changed the falls. Dr. Walter Tovell, curator of geology at the Royal Ontario Museum, and an expert on the Niagara, tells the story of Father Hennepin, the first white man to see the falls in 1678, talks about the rock stratification observable in the gorge and shows many unusual filmed shots of the falls.
This program explores the serious problem of pollution, which results when more waste materials are poured into the air and water than these elements have the capacity to deal with, a situtation which has resulted in city smog and the "death" of numerous bodies of water.
An examination of some of the most sophisticated methods of pest control such as: unbalancing the insects' nutrition; killing them by ultrasonic or other shock waves; sterilizing the males through ionizing radiation or light flashes; drowning the larvae in traps; or interferring with mating and egg-laying by light, colour or electricity.
This program considers many aspects of controlling human environment to regulate pressure, humidity, and temperature, from underwater diving gear to the air-conditioning of space capsules. New designs and techniques for regulating air in large buildings are also noted.
The scientific study of the physics of sailing, is a fairly new field. This program looks at scientific efforts to understand why sailing ships do what they do. At Britain's University of Southampton two wind tunnels are used to study both sail and hull action. The program includes exciting film of ships in action, as well as wind tunnel and radio-controlled model experiments.
Not so many years ago, summer's warmth brought the chilling fear of polio and typhus epidemics. These dread diseases have been largely eliminated by modern medicine. But newer "epidemics" not caused by germs or viruses, have replaced them as killers. This program, written by Jack Hutchinson, looks at food poisoning, highway and water accidents from the standpoint of the scientist seeking their "cure".
A look at the activities of the Stormy Weather Group, scientists at Montreal's McGill University and Macdonald College who study the pheonomena of summer storms, especially, the capricious Prairie hailstorms. A visit to Dorval Airport provides a look at the weather reading systems which, with the aid of weather satellites, give instant readings of weather fronts and continental cloud cover.
Science is developing new and better fish, the splake for instance, a product of the cross-breeding of the lake and speckled trout. At Maple, Ontario, biologists of the Department of Lands and Forests developed this new fish for seeding in Lakes Ontario and Huron. This program shows how they did it and how they hope to beat the vicious lamprey eel, which preys on the oridinary lake trout.
This program examines Canada's great national parks and their ecological importance in maintaining habitats vital to various plants and animals. Seen are: Point Pelée Park; Algonquin; Banff; and Jasper.
This program deals with forest succession. Scientists have recently learned a great deal about the way in which new stands of forest grow - including the discovery that certain trees, like the jack pine, can only renew themselves in burnt over areas. D.H. Burton of the Department of Lands and Forests reports on studies of the impact of forest fires, logging, and the browsing of deer on the growth of a forest; also the controlled use of forest fires to reseed areas. R.O. Standfield of the Department of Lands and Forests explains the effects on forest wildlife, of controlled burning, and the use of chemical pesticides.
There has been great alarm recently over the declining level of water in bodies of water as enormous as the Great Lakes. This program examines the water cycle and analyzes some of the factors that cause water levels to vary: increasingly heavy use by industry and public; droughts; climatic changes; damming; and diversion.