Mainstreaming science

Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 11/26/2010 - 16:41

Most broadcasters in the least developed and developing countries do not have a specific scheduled slot for science. So, scientific information will have to be conveyed through other slots.


So, you have enough space to discuss politics in your country. You could start with the results of behavioural sciences. What are the cues for applause that politicians provide while giving a speech? Is a politician lying or telling the truth? How can you say from a recording of his facial expressions and eye movements? Is the smile of a politician a happy smile or a forced one? There are some interesting studies done on smiles, eye movements and facial expressions that could throw light on such questions and amuse your audiences.


So, you have enough time to discuss business and economics. Then you have an opportunity to discuss scientific discoveries. Why do economies go up and down periodically? What are business cycles? Is it possible to forecast them? Scientific models can be applied to business models32 when the premises are similar.33


So, you are sports producer. You too can benefit from some basic science awareness. If you are comfortable discussing the physiology of muscles and bones, the pharmacology of performance-enhancing drugs or the aerodynamics of different types of balls, your audiences will lap it up and you will have an edge over other sports reporters.


There are specialized TV channels for music and most FM stations depend on music to fill up time. Yet, think of how your audiences will react if you could discuss the science of music. Out of the continuous frequencies of sound, why does the human brain select some sounds as harmonious and others as discordant? Quite often, you could throw more light on the lyrics of a song if you were to dip into the scientific research being done. And when you are talking about celebrities in the musical world, you could have some interesting scientific points to make about their addictions, their health issues and even their love lives.

Cookery shows

What has cooking to do with science? And yet, have you ever wondered what makes rice soft when it is cooked? Why does the transparent liquid in an egg become white and hard when it is cooked? Why are some spices called nutriceuticals? What are their healing properties? In fact, the physical and chemical transformations that take place in cooking can enchant and engross the common man and woman.

Travel and tourism

Why should travel shows deal with only hotels and landmarks? Look at the details. Every place has its own kind of soil and if you knew a little soil science, a little about geological formations, something about the flora and fauna, you could make your show different from the run of the mill travel shows that abound in broadcast media.


Oh, so you are a producer of religious programming. Is there a God gene, which predisposes some people to spiritual and religious experiences? What is happening to the brain when somebody has a spiritual experience? What are effects of praying on the autonomic nervous system?



32. A scientific model is a set of concepts and propositions, which, like maps, demonstrate the main features of the phenomenon being analysed. Often, a model will have some very restrictive premises that simplify the phenomenon in order to emphasize one or a few of its aspects (for example, ignoring friction in a physics model to focus on gravity), and these premises are later relaxed (friction is then added) to bring in some realistic complications after some conclusions have been made about the main features.

33. See, for example,