Scenes From a Parish

By James Rutenbeck   |   Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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When a young, irreverent priest arrives at Saint Patrick Parish in Lawrence, Mass., he discovers the unexpected — boiling ethnic tensions in a changing working-class community.

Filmed over four years,Scenes from a Parish follows the wildly diverse personal stories of Father Paul O’Brien and his unruly flock — longtime Irish-American parishioners and recent immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, and Cambodia — as they struggle to hold on to faith in the face of desperate circumstances.

Make Me

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Lessons from a Fatal Crash

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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March 28, 2012


Air France Flight 447/Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Aviation safety expert John Cox helped investigate the fatal crash of Air France flight 447 in 2009. More than 200 people were lost in that crash, considered one of the worst accident in French aviation history.  Researchers now believe a stall was caused by iced-over instruments and two copilots with no training in manual aircraft handling at high altitude. They tipped the nose of the plane up, causing it to lose lift and speed as it climbed, instead of down, which would have increased the speed and prevented a stall.

NOVA Interactive: Learn more about the aeronautic principles of Lift and Drag

Human Genome Research in the Fight Against Cancer

Friday, March 9, 2012
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March 9, 2012


Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms: Slight variations in our DNA sequences can have a major impact on whether or not we develop a disease and on our particular responses to such environmental insults as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Image from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science

BOSTON — How are advances in understanding the human genome leading to the development of more effective treatments for disease? John Quackenbush, professor at Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains how recent technology is providing new insight into the nature of tumors, and how to detect early warning signs of the gene mutations that lead to cancer.

Quackenbush also discusses the complexities of treating breast cancer that have been unearthed through genetic research: despite the fact that the cancer occurs in a specific body part, the role that specific genes play in causing the disease can be incredibly varied, resulting in the need for different kinds of treatment for different kinds of tumors. 

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Go With The Floe

Monday, March 5, 2012
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March 5, 2012



Sam Bowring, professor of Geology at MIT, says human adaptations to the environment are so specific that we would face significant challenges if our surroundings were suddenly very different.

Visit the EAPS (Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences) website to learn more about the scientists who are studying the natural surroundings of our home planet and the clues they give us about our future.

Here's one scientist with a passion for ICE:  Alison Criscitiello is studying glaciology in the EAPS program. Her work takes her to Antarctica, where she studies sea ice and measures ice cores. Check out photos of her work in this video:

Dr. Gary Small: Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

Friday, March 2, 2012
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March 2, 2012

BOSTON — Alzheimer’s disease currently afflicts 5 million Americans; one American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds. There is no known cure, and the suggestion that Alzheimer's can be prevented is deeply debated within the scientific community — can doing crossword puzzles, for example, really help stave off the degenerative effects of the disease? Dr. Gary Small, UCLA neuroscientist argues that there are in fact steps we can take to at least delay the symptoms of mental decline. Here, he offers tips for keeping the brain healthy through exercise, diet, and stress management that may at least result in better quality of life. View the full lecture on WGBH's Forum Network.

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