'Nova's' helpful look at a teen-age science talent hunt

''The Nobel Farm Club'' is busy turning out prizewinning scientists.

According to the ''Nova'' episode called Adventures of Teen-age Scientists (PBS, tonight, 8-9 p.m., check local listings for premiere and repeats), one of our most important natural resources is fast disappear-ing - creative young minds excited by science. But over the past 42 years a project called the Science Talent Search (supported by Westinghouse) has created a competition in which young scientists can submit special projects. Winners receive scholarships , but all benefit from the creative effort, the association with other young scientists, the help of family and teachers.

''Nova,'' entering its tenth year of superior science programming, focuses this segment on some of the finalists, investigating the home and school environments that encouraged them.

''Young people are born with curiosity about nature and how it works,'' says the ''Nova'' narrator. The challenge is to maintain that interest over the years. The Talent Search has even produced five Nobel laureates, earning its nickname, ''The Nobel Farm Club.''

This ''Nova'' segment also goes on to deal with a disturbing problem on the scientific horizon - the difficulty of securing good science teachers, now an endangered species in America because of the poor pay in education.

''Nova,'' television's most consistently excellent science show, is quite up to the challenge of illustrating the need to find the experience and support essential to maintain the excitement for science among young people. While the Talent Search is certainly one valid method, ''Nova'' itself should be considered another major science resource for would-be scientists as well as intellectually curious viewers, young or old.

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