or


[09/06/12 - 08:06 AM]
"Nova" Forges the New Fall Season with the Mystery Behind the Ultimate Weapon Used by the World's Fiercest Warriors
"Secrets of the Viking Sword" will kick off the show's 39th season on Wednesday, October 10 at 9:00/8:00c.

[via press release from PBS]

"NOVA" FORGES THE NEW FALL SEASON WITH THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE ULTIMATE WEAPON USED BY THE WORLD'S FIERCEST WARRIORS

"SECRETS OF THE VIKING SWORD"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9 PM/8c on PBS

www.pbs.org/nova/vikingsword

Twitter: @novapbs

Facebook.com/NOVAonline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Boston, MA] -- The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, and a select few carried the ultimate weapon: a sword nearly 1,000 years ahead of its time. But the secrets behind this super sword's design, creation and use have remained hidden for centuries. Now, through a mix of science, archeology, metallurgy and history, a new NOVA/National Geographic co-production unravels the mystery and recreates this Viking uber-weapon -- the Ulfberht sword -- to kick off the new fall season of NOVA. Secrets of the Viking Sword premieres Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9PM/8c on PBS (check local listings).

Fashioned using a process unknown to the Vikings' rivals, the Ulfberht sword was a revolutionary high-tech blade as well as a work of art. Considered by some to be one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle. But how did master swordsmiths of the Middle Ages come up with the Ulfberht's complex recipe, and what was its role in history? So far, no one has been able to forge a metallurgically accurate Ulfberht.

Produced between 800 to 1000 AD, the Ulfberht offered unique advantages as a weapon. Its combination of strength, lightness, and flexibility represented the perfect marriage of form and function in the chaos that was a Viking battle. Thousands of Viking swords have since been found, most discovered in rivers or excavated from burials across Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Of those, only 171 are marked Ulfberht-- most only corroded skeletons of once magnificent blades--further cloaking the mysteries of what some experts deem the ultimate weapon of the fiercest warriors.

In Secrets of the Viking Sword, NOVA and National Geographic follow modern day swordsmith Ric Furrer as he endeavors to become the first person in a thousand years to bring this mysterious sword back to life. Furrer reverse engineers this legendary sword with the help of new findings about the chemistry of the Ulfberht's steel. Viewers will watch every step of the way as he uses period tools and methods to build a special oven, heat and cool the raw iron, and skillfully wield the mallet to shape and forge the metal by hand, hammer blow by powerful hammer blow.

One of the deepest mysteries scientists have grappled with surrounding the sword has been the metallic composition of the Ulfberht, which was forged from high quality steel that would not be seen again in Europe until the advent of industrial blast furnaces nearly 1,000 years later. Most weapons from Viking times were comprised of "bloomery iron," a low-carbon material that was relatively soft and brittle. The Ulfberht blade, however, was made from high-carbon steel that was smelted in a sealed crucible or small furnace, and slowly allowed to cool. This gave this sword flexibility and strength far ahead of its time. But the novel material used was not found anywhere else in Europe in the Middle Ages. So where did the crucible steel come from?

To unravel the mystery and build the case, NOVA/National Geographic take viewers on a journey to find the source of the imported raw material and figure out how it got to Scandinavia. Tantalizing, recently found clues from Viking graves tie the import of the steel to the exploits of Viking traders, who voyaged all the way to Constantinople down the Volga river. These adventurous Viking merchants and warriors made connections with suppliers of the high quality steel, which had probably been forged somewhere in Persia or Afghanistan.

The mystique and notoriety of the Ulfbehrt sword stemmed not just from its unusual material but also from the intangible value of its name. The inlay of twisted bloomery steel spelling out the name Ulfberht on the crucible steel blade was an extremely risky process; the wrong timing or temperature could crack or ultimately break the blade. [As Furrer discovers, the inlaying of the name requires a highly skilled craftsman.] To this day, the "Ulfbehrt" trademark and the symbol of a cross remain an enigma to experts. Both indicate however that the sword was a coveted weapon forged by a master craftsman. Recent finds by archaeologists show that the Ulfberht signature was so highly regarded that contemporary fakes and knock-offs were made by imitators, some with misspelled inlays, using an inferior, lower-carbon steel. These probably had value simply as status symbols or for their psychological impact, instilling fear and dread in enemies from the sight of the name alone.

Secrets of the Viking Sword delves into the intriguing process of how science is helping to bring the Ulfbehrt back to life. The film demonstrates the dramatic and extremely challenging forging process as it unfolds, step- by-step, and illustrates how technology and innovation enabled craftsmen to create one of the greatest weapons of all time.

###

Now in its 39th season, NOVA is the most-watched prime time science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT on WGBH Boston and most PBS stations. The Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.

Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch Fund For Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and public television viewers.





  [september 2012]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
      


· NOVA (PBS)





[07/22/14 - 09:02 AM]
Syfy, Space and Temple Street Productions Announce Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore and Luke MacFarlane Will Star in New Scripted Series "Killjoys"
The series follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multi-planetary class war.

[07/22/14 - 09:01 AM]
Video: Next Games and AMC Debut Trailer for "The Walking Dead" Mobile Game, "The Walking Dead: No Man's Land"
The game will allow players to experience the world of the iconic show through gameplay exclusively developed for smartphones and tablet devices.

[07/22/14 - 08:47 AM]
"Dark Horse Nation" - New Series Premieres Tuesday, July 29 at 10 p.m. on History(R)
The 12-episode series combines great beer, innovation and renegade entrepreneurialism as it follows the day-to-day adventures of the Dark Horse Brewing Company.

[07/22/14 - 08:40 AM]
Monday's Broadcast Ratings: FOX Claims Top Spot with "MasterChef," "Hotel Hell"
The network has won the adults 18-49 for four consecutive weeks.

[07/22/14 - 08:32 AM]
ABC Tops Monday in Viewers/"The Bachelorette" Is Up to Tie a Best-Since-Premiere Adults 18-49 Rating
ABC spins the numbers for Monday, July 21.

[07/22/14 - 08:24 AM]
"American Ninja Warrior" Hits a Season High in Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Monday, July 21.

[07/22/14 - 08:11 AM]
Hit Series "Braxton Family Values" and "SWV Reunited" Premiere with Back-to-Back Episodes on August 14
WE tv's originals return to Thursday nights beginning at 9:00/8:00c.

[07/22/14 - 07:57 AM]
National Geographic Channel Heads to Comic-Con San Diego
The panel will highlight NGC's smartertainment programming including returning series "Brain Games" and new series "Going Deep with David Rees" and "You Can't Lick Your Elbow."

[07/22/14 - 07:32 AM]
Bravo Reunites All Seven Women for Three-Part Reunion of "The Real Housewives of New York City" Starting on Tuesday, July 29 at 9PM ET/PT
Before the reunions begin, tune in to the season finale tonight at 9:00/8:00c to see insults, accusations, and body parts fly in an epic season-ender.

[07/22/14 - 07:30 AM]
"Robot Chicken" Bitch Pudding Special Premieres Sunday on Adult Swim
The fan-favorite character Bitch Pudding gets her time to shine in a brand new solo special.

[07/22/14 - 07:17 AM]
NBC Sports Group to Air 103 NHL Regular-Season Games in 2014-15
The season kicks off with an Opening Night doubleheader on October 8 on NBCSN, starting with Wednesday Night Rivalry coverage at 7:30 p.m. ET with the Philadelphia Flyers at the Boston Bruins.

[07/21/14 - 01:03 PM]
"Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words," A Revealing Profile of the Former President, Debuts Aug. 4 on HBO
The film is presented in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of his resignation and features excerpts from his secretly recorded his private conversations.

[07/21/14 - 12:38 PM]
Zap! Pow! Bang! Comedy Central(R) Hits San Diego Comic-Con with Multiple Fan Events
Said offering start with back-to-back panels as Comedy Central Presents "Key & Peele" and Introduces "Moonbeam City" on Thursday, July 24.

[07/21/14 - 11:44 AM]
Velocity's All-New Series "Garage Squad" Helps America Rebuild and Restore Their Favorite Dream Cars
Hosted by Bruno Massel and Lauren Bohlander, the series comes to the rescue of people whose automotive projects have come to a dead end.

[07/21/14 - 11:32 AM]
Bleachers Named VH1's August You Oughta Know Artist
Bleachers will benefit from significant cross-platform promotion via frequent music video plays, a custom promo spot, interview on VH1's music-oriented Tuner blog, VH1's Top 20 Countdown, and much more.