Friday, May 14, 2010

Science On TV

Given the nature of my first post I wanted to make sure today's entry was More on target where my intended theme for this blog is concerned. So today's topic is science on TV.

As a fan and nightly viewer of much of the Cartoon networks adult swim line up I'm not about to tell you I think television needs to have some intellectual value, or serve some greater purpose because it certainly doesn't, although I do believe that watching Squidbillies and Metalocalypse will make you a better person. But, If you've ever so much as glanced at a science blog or magazine before then you know the question is constantly being asked, how do we increase the public's awareness, interest and understanding of science? One obvious answer is TV.

With Mythbusters no doubt leading the way there has been a recent surge in legitimate science content on television as of late. Even the Mythbusters themselves have stepped up the scientific content of their already science heavy show this season by dividing many episodes between testing an urban legend style myth and the performance of physics thought experiments, although this week was another all duct ape special. I think this format is perfect because it gives geeks like me the joy of physics without depriving any of us the joy of watching things explode.

Most recently, discovery has added two new shows to its lineup which I have quickly fallen in love with, "Into The universe With Stephen Hawking" and,"How The Universe Works", which is narrated by Mike Rowe and has thus far regularly featured the likes of Micho Kaku and phil plait. Both shows are exceedingly well done, both have excellent audio and video effects and while I do think How The Universe Works delivers more technical scientific content, Into The Universe is my personal favorite.

I don't know how either show has been doing in the ratings as I just don't keep track of that sort of thing. But recent shows like the planet earth specials have shown that if presented correctly, there is an audience for educational programming and I think that these two shows are a major step in the right direction towards finding that audience for science.


For today's additional content I'm first going to link to the discovery channel web site where you can watch clips and find scheduling information on all of the shows mentioned in todays post.

Next, I'm going to recommend those of you who find the subjects of physics, astronomy or science in general intimidating check out Stephen Hawking's book; "A Briefer History Of Time", this updated version of the original, "A Brief History Of Time", was released specifically in response to those who requested a more accessible version of the book.

Lastly, I'm embedding the first part of Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking: Aliens // Watch enlightening documentaries online!
Click the above link to find the rest of this episode plus more cool documentaries.

Image credit: Trevira, Click here to view image in it's original context.

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