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Introduction to the Series
Mark Davis was enjoying a successful career as a chemical engineer — until his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemotherapy treatments compromised her immune system and made her gravely ill, she insisted to her husband, “There’s got to be a better way – you can fix this.” Davis didn’t think he could. “Cancer — what did I know about it?” he wondered. “It was way out of my comfort zone from a scientific point of view.” Ultimately, he rose to that very personal challenge, and 10 years later, the first drops of IT-101, a revolutionary nanoparticle drug he invented, were injected into the first human, Ray Natha. A terminal cancer patient, Natha was expected to live only a few months, but IT-101 reversed that grim prognosis and, today, more than a year later, his cancer remains stable. Natha experienced virtually no side effects during the drug trial.
While Davis focuses his efforts on human survival, other researchers are trying to save planet Earth. Spurred by the looming energy crisis, Nathan Lewis and Sossina Haile are working to invent a new kind of fuel that uses the sun to power the planet. They are attempting to produce a prototype for a truly alternative fuel source — an artificial leaf that emulates natural photosynthesis, converting solar energy into a usable, clean chemical fuel.
These are just two of the many stories CURIOUS tells. The series also explores everything from fly brains and wings to human and robotic decision making.
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) make up the cast of CURIOUS, a series of two one-hour documentaries from Thirteen/WNET New York, premiering in New York on Thursdays, October 11 and 18 at 8 p.m. (ET) on public television (check local listings for premieres in your market). This engagingly stylized production immerses viewers in a world where smart, dedicated researchers are pushing the limits of established fields of research, innovating unique and radical solutions to the problems that plague the human race. For them, it has become a personal mission to discover practical applications for scientific breakthroughs that could dramatically improve how we live.
Funding for CURIOUS is provided by TIAA-CREF.
Additional funding for CURIOUS is provided by:
Peter and Merle Mullin
Stan and Barbara Rawn
CURIOUS is a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and the California Institute of Technology and is distributed by American Public Television.