NOVA scienceNOW Seasons 5 and 6

September 1st, 2009 - August 31st, 2013 | PROJECT

WGBH is producing the fifth and sixth seasons of NOVA scienceNOW, a multimedia project that addresses a wide array of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects via multiple platforms. They include national PBS broadcast, the PBS web site, and innovative outreach activities such as an expanded Science Café initiative. Hosted by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Season Five will air in 2010; Season Six in 2011. The focus is "stories of transformative research," e.g., nanotechnology, stem cells, quantum computing, as well as clean energy, and climate change. Project goals are to "produce a lasting impact on Americans' appreciation for and understanding of current scientific research," and to encourage an interest in STEM careers among younger viewers. Building upon solid prior work, the proposed project is finding new ways to interweave the television show, web materials, and Science Cafés to provide multiple entry points and pathways for the audience. For example, they will produce 32 web-only scientist profiles supported by a blog and social media tools, and then train these scientists as presenters for the Science Cafés. NOVA is planning a new strategy to maximize carriage and increase audience for the six new programs per year; the programs will run consecutively in the NOVA Wednesday evening primetime slot during the summer. During Season Three, over 2.7 million television viewers per week tuned in NOVA scienceNow, with 62,000 unique visitors to the web site per month and 75 active Science Cafés across the country. The expanded Science Café initiative is designed to become self-sustaining beyond the grant period through new partnerships with groups such as the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the American Chemical Society, and the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science. The project will also collaborate with the Association of Science-Technology Centers and science centers around the country to host Science Cafés featuring scientists profiled on the web. Goodman Research Group will assess the reach and effectiveness of Seasons Five and Six. The focal/primary evaluation activity is a viewing and engagement study on the influence of viewing the series along with accessing and participating actively with the increased web and outreach offerings. This study will comprise web-based surveys with adaptive branching patterns, which will include data collection from a variety of participants and will focus on participants? use of the series, website, and outreach. The summative evaluation will measure how the project is reaching these audience segments, while also meeting the overall goals of increasing public understanding of science and engagement in science-related activities.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

NOVA scienceNOW Season 5 Summative Evaluation

Team Members

Paula Apsell, Principal Investigator, WGBH


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0917517
Funding Amount: 910105


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Climate | Computing and information science | Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Engineering | General STEM | Health and medicine | Life science | Mathematics | Nature of science | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media