QUEST journeys back to find out how physicists on the UC Berkeley campus in the 1930s, and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in the 1970s, created "atom smashers" that led to key discoveries about the tiny constituents of the atom and paved the way for the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
QUEST traveled along the San Joaquin River to produce our story on the restoration of more than 150 miles of the San Joaquin River, California's second-largest river. See behind-the-scenes photos in our narrated slideshow of the journey we took to document the historic comeback of the mighty San Joaquin.
Flowing 330 miles from the Sierras to the delta, the San Joaquin River is California's second longest river. But since the construction of Friant Dam near Fresno in the 1940s, most of the San Joaquin's water has been siphoned off to farmland in the Central Valley. Now, after years of lawsuits, a new effort to restore the river is offering hope that fish and farmers can co-exist.
Why are we spending millions of dollars to bring back a river that stopped running a long time ago?
Most of us think ants are just pests. But not Brian Fisher. Known as "The Ant Guy," he's on a mission to show the world just how important and amazing these little creatures are and in the process, catalog all of the world's 30,000 ant species before they become casualties of habitat loss. But he can't do it without our help.
They are otherworldly creatures that glow in the dark, without brains or bones, some more than 100 feet long. And they live just off California's coast. Join two top marine biologists who have devoted their careers to unlocking the mysteries of jellyfish and alien-like siphonophores.
Scientists at Stanford University and Lockheed Martin are playing pivotal roles in a nearly billion-dollar NASA mission to explore the sun. A spacecraft launched in early 2010 is obtaining IMAX-like images of the sun every second of the day, generating more data than any NASA mission in history.
In this QUEST web extra, Stanford University astrophysicist Todd Hoeksema explains how solar sound waves are a vital ingredient to the science of helioseismology, in which the interior properties of the sun are probed by analyzing and tracking the surface sound waves that bounce into and out of the Sun.
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. It's the leading cause for liver transplants in the U.S., and an estimated 4 million Americans have the disease. Current treatments are difficult to tolerate and are often ineffective, but recent breakthroughs from Bay Area scientists may soon produce a cure for the disease that claims more than 10,000 American lives each year.
For thousands of years and countless generations, migratory birds have flown the same long-distance paths between their breeding and feeding grounds. Understanding the routes these birds take, called "flyways," helps conservation efforts and gives scientists better knowledge of global changes, both natural and man-made. QUEST heads out to the Pacific Flyway with California biologists to track the rhythm of migration.
The roadway across the Golden Gate Bridge rises and falls as much as 16 feet depending on the temperature. When the sun hits the bridge, the metal expands and the bridge cables stretch. As the fog rolls in, the cables contract and the bridge goes up. Curators from the Outdoor Exploratorium in San Francisco have set up a scope two miles away so you can see how the bridge is moving up or down depending on the weather.