Welcome to the companion Web site to “Fireworks!,” originally broadcast on January 29, 2002. This explosive NOVA presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how hi-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science. Here’s what you’ll find online:
- Name That Shell
Watch video clips of fireworks bursting in air and find out how well you know your chrysanthemums from your peonies, your roman candles from your palm trees.
- Anatomy of a Firework
Where you see brilliant light and vivid color, a pyrotechnician sees a successful lift charge, black powder mix, time-delay fuse, bursting charge, and other essential ingredients.
- Pyrotechnically Speaking
Dr. John Conkling, adjunct professor of chemistry at Washington College and former executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, describes what it is about fireworks that gets him, well, all fired up.
- On Fire (Hot Science)
This virtual laboratory lets you explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, what a flame is made of, and how burning molecules rearrange themselves.