Watching science on the Web
June 2, 2009 at 9:35 PM ET
| Click for video: The |
primate fossil known
as "Ida" has caused
a scientific stir.
A growing number of online ventures are serving up regular doses of science video to fill the gaps in TV coverage - including some ventures that are led by media-hopping TV types.
The latest entrant in the field is "Science Nation," a weekly video series funded by the National Science Foundation and created by former CNN producers. The first installment, released Monday, focuses on Earth's "alien" species - that is, extremophile organisms that can survive in Antarctica's frozen deserts or volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean.
You'll find video clips that focus on NASA researcher Richard Hoover's work as well as a feature story by CNN alumna Kate Tobin and an extremophile slideshow. Another ex-CNNer, Peter Dykstra, is also contributing to the project. Future installments of "Science Nation" will explore the science of tornadoes, artificial retinas, hydrogen cars and environmental cleanup in rural China. NSF's news release provides more of a preview.
Miles O'Brien, another widely respected science/space journalist who was forced out of the CNN fold, has several irons in the fire: You can watch him hold forth on the nation's infrastructure crisis on PBS' "Blueprint America" series. You can read his "Uplinks" blog at True/Slant. And during last month's Hubble repair mission, he did the anchoring duties for Spaceflight Now's online video coverage.
All this is just the tip of the video iceberg: Here are the beginnings of a mini-TV guide for science video online. Please feel free to pass along your favorites as comments, and I'll add them to the list:
- Video on msnbc.com: I hope you'll excuse the plug for our space and science video. Every once in a while you might even hear my dulcet tones on the audio track.
- Dr. Kiki: Neuroscientist/podcaster Kirsten Sanford has been dishing out the video on Food Science as well as Dr. Kiki's Science Hour on TWiT TV. She also presides over the long-running "This Week in Science" audio program and her personal blog, The Bird's Brain.
- Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science: Hosted by the American Institute of Physics, DBIS offers a nice library of science-themed videos.
- The Bad Astronomer's Channel: Watch astronomer/blogger Phil Plait eat fire and perform other scientific wonders on his very own YouTube channel.
- ReelNASA: Speaking of YouTube, NASA has built up its own channel with more than 1,000 space-themed online videos. There's also a hefty Video Gallery on NASA's Web site.
- Improbable TV: And now for something completely different ... Improbable Research presents videos about science that makes you laugh, and then makes you think.
- TED: The Web site for the annual big-name conference on technology, entertainment and design offers plenty of video talks on all manner of scientific subjects.
- Scitalks: This site brings together science-themed videos from a wide spectrum of sources, including broadcast networks, laboratories and universities. (By the way, today Cosmic Variance's Sean Carroll recommends a YouTube video lecture series featuring Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind.)
- World Science Festival: Videos from last year's New York event are available online, and if you're in the Big Apple next week, you can catch the festivities in real time.
- Science radio on the Web: If you widen your focus from video to audio (a.k.a. podcasts), the scientific offerings are absolutely dizzying. But I didn't want to let the opportunity pass without giving a shout-out to NPR's "Science Friday," the CBC's "Quirks and Quarks," the Planetary Society's Planetary Radio (which is heavily into "365 Days of Astronomy"), WNYC's "Radiolab," the SETI Institute's "Are We Alone?" and Slacker Astronomy. In addition, Cosmic Log correspondent Hamid Chowdhury suggests Michio Kaku's "Explorations." Feel free to add your favorites as comments below.
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