Lying 28 miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon Islands sit amid one of the most productive marine food webs on the planet and host the largest seabird breeding colony in the continental United States. QUEST ventures out for a rare visit to learn what life is like on the islands and meet the scientists who call this incredibly wild place home.
Armed with laser technology, Bay Area engineers are helping create detailed virtual records of the world's great monuments. Their realistic recreation of the Mexican ruins of Chichén Itzá is the basis for "Tales of Maya Skies," a new half-hour film about Maya astronomy designed especially for a planetarium. The film opens at Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center on November 21. QUEST takes you behind the scenes.
San José photographer Doug Nomura has learned just how to track his subjects to create arresting photos of birds in flight. He focuses his work on the Bay Trail, a 300-mile trail around the Bay. QUEST joins Nomura on the bayfront in Sunnyvale as he works to photograph the many bird species that call the South Bay's mudflats home, or stop here as part of their migration.
Stanford University's Drew Endy is a synthetic biologist, or as he puts it, someone who makes biology easier to engineer. He's one of the leading lights of this relatively new scientific field which builds on disciplines like computer science, electrical engineering and genetics. Find out why Endy is passionate about the cutting edge of biology.
There's a hidden danger in San Francisco bay: mercury. A potent neurotoxin that can cause serious illness, mercury has been flowing into the bay since the mining days of the Gold Rush Era. It has settled in the bay's mud and made its way up the food chain, endangering wildlife and making many fish unsafe to eat. Now a multi-billion-dollar plan aims to clean it up. But will it work?
QUEST examines how the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was saved from development, the rise of not-for-profit land trusts in protecting and restoring Northern California's open spaces, and how these vital places are used and maintained by the communities served by them.
In 2003, following a year-long nature sounds study in Sequoia National Park, Craig Miller, then founder of Vox Terra (now Senior Producer of Climate Watch) and Bernie Krause, founder of Wild Sanctuary, co-produced this four-and-a-half minute "journey." It takes you from the familiar cacophony of the urban soundscape to a serene spot in Sequoia Park. Take the journey and see how desensitized to urban noise you've become.
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from depression. Learn why depression is more than just "feeling blue," the difficulties of treating it with traditional medications and how new tools
and research are shedding light on brain structures that may play an integral role in treating it.
What is the link between anxiety and depression, and can a form of talk therapy help treat both conditions? Learn more in an extended interview with Philippe Goldin, Clinical Research Scientist for the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Group at Stanford University.
In a co-production with NOVA scienceNow, QUEST explores the potential of algae—once considered nothing more than pond scum—to become the fuel of the future. Entrepreneurs from the Bay Area to LA are working to create the next generation of biofuels from algae. But will you ever be able to run your car off it?
With the race on to reduce global warming and fossil fuel dependency, experts in alternative energy see a bright future for renewable resources like wind, solar, hydro-power and geothermal energy. QUEST and Climate Watch team up to look at the "Smart Grid" of the future and how it might be improved to more cleanly and efficiently keep the lights on in California.
Although not as famous as its bald cousin, Golden Eagles are much easier to find in Northern California – one of the largest breeding populations for Golden Eagles is right here in the Mount Diablo valley. Meet one of the largest birds of prey as QUEST visits the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.
Imagine living cells acting as memory devices; biofuels brewing from yeast, or a light receptor taken from algae that makes photographs on a plate of bacteria. With the new science of synthetic biology, the goal is to make biology easier to engineer so that new functions can be derived from living systems.