Posted by: soniahs | October 6, 2010

Science Friday needs help!

Public radio show Science Friday is about to lose its two major sources of funding (the Natl. Science Foundation and Natl. Public Radio(!)), and may go off the air.

As a wee lass, one of the TV shows I most remember watching was Newton’s Apple, a production of our local PBS station (the others were 3-2-1-Contact, another science show, and Reading Rainbow, which ultimately would go on to eclipse the other two in geek connections). Ira Flatow was the show’s host- he’s currently on Science Friday. I must have been all of 6 years old at the time, but Newton’s Apple was really fascinating to me. It talked about science, inventions, and how things worked- there was also a segment with old newsreel footage of really bad inventions that never took off that was hilarious at the time, and many celebrity guests who I probably completely did not recognize.

For some reason, the thing that sticks in my mind most about Newton’s Apple was how I thought it was the neatest thing ever that the P.O. Box number that you could write in to and ask questions was the same as the year: 1983. Then, in the next season, I remember my biggest question for the first episode was: would they get a new P.O. Box number since it was 1984? (They did not.)

At any rate, Newton’s Apple and shows like it definitely helped inspire my love for science as a kid. And while I never did become a paleontologist as planned, shows like this are inspirational to many other kids (and adults) out there!

This news comes from Jim Fruchterman. According to Ira Flatow:

We at SciFri are facing severe financial difficulties, i.e. raising money. NSF [National Science Foundation] has turned us down for continuing funding, saying they love what we do, we are sorely needed, but it’s not their job to fund us. At the same time, NPR has said the same thing, telling us that if we want to stay on the air, etc, we now have to raise all our own money. Despite what listeners may think, NPR only gives us about 10 percent of our funding.

Science Friday is a great example of public science outreach and should stay on the air! I urge you to make a donation to help today.

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