Emory Report

May 1, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 31

WABE to host Emory show

By Eric Rangus

This summer, the scientifically challenged will have a new source of learning. The Emory College Program in Science & Society, in collaboration in WABE, 90.1 FM, will launch a series of radio spots called "Science in Your Life" that will go beyond simple regurgitation of scientific facts and focus on how science integrates with everyday life.

A website also will accompany the radio program.

The pilot will air in July and is being underwritten by the college program and the provost's office. This initial money will cover the first three months of the program, and funding is being sought for it to continue beyond September. Last month Arri Eisen, director of the Program in Science & Society, went into fundraising overdrive, sending out requests to several organizations for financial assistance.

"Science in Your Life" will explore themes that involve science and society, utilizing experts in the Atlanta area, and will investigate the issues from diverse perspectives that emphasize how science fits into the bigger picture.

"We want to make it more than just scientific information," said Eisen. "We want to put it in context. What are the social, political and economic implications of what we're talking about?"

The show will be broadcast in two 2.5-minute briefs during National Public Radio's Morning Edition between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays, and one spot will repeat on Sundays at approximately 6 p.m after "All Things Considered." Ted Vigodsky will host.

Vigodsky's broadcasting career spans 40 years, and he regularly covers health and science issues, including news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The show should reach more than 100,000 listeners a week, and with increased funding, Eisen hopes the number of spots per week can be increased, driving up listenership even more.

At least as important as the time-specific radio spots, the website will be available 24 hours a day to complement and enhance the show. It also will work as an educational tool linked to local science education programs and networks from elementary through university education.

Actually, the website may be even more important that the radio show-at least from an independent research standpoint.

"The show is a spark so people will go to the website," Eisen said. The site will contain audio from the program, links to other sites regarding the subject matter, a Q&A with guest experts and several other features to encourage surfers to look up information on their own.

"Most of the science information out there is facts, facts, facts," Eisen said. "The most important thing is, 'What does [science] mean for your life?'"

Eisen said he hopes to have all 12 weeks of radio spots completed before they begin airing in July.

Ideas are still being considered, but a handful include the impact of the Human Genome Project on society, the proper spending of tax dollars on projects to develop new and more efficient modes of transportation, and ways to deal with emerging diseases that haven't been cured.

"We want to see about using Chaos Theory to help predict when hurricanes will hit or look at fossils of extinct species to predict animal behavior," said Eisen, offering a couple more ideas of future shows.

For more information, contact Eisen at aeisen@emory.edu

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