The Really Big Questions: Science and the Search for Meaning

October 1st, 2012 - September 30th, 2015 | PROJECT

This multiplatform media and science center project is designed to engage audiences in humanity's deepest questions like the nature of love, reality, time and death in both scientific and humanistic terms. Project deliverables include 5 hour-long radio programs for broadcast on NPR stations, public events/museum exhibits at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, kiosks in venues throughout the city, and a social media engagement campaign. The audience of the project is large and diverse using mass media and the internet. But the project will specifically target young, online, and minority audiences using various strategies. The project is designed to help a diverse audience understand the impact of new scientific developments as well as the basic science, technology, engineering and math needed to be responsible, informed citizens. Innovative elements of the project include the unique format of the radio programs that explore complex topics in an engaging and compelling way, the visitor engagement strategy at the Exploratorium, and the social media strategy that reaches niche audiences who might never listen to the radio broadcasts, but find the podcasts and blogs engaging. The Exploratorium will be opening a new building in 2013 and will include exhibits and programs that are testing grounds for this project. This is a new model that aligns the radio content with exhibitions, social media, and in person events at the Exploratorium, providing a unique holistic approach. The project is designed to inspire people to think and talk about science and want to find out more. The evaluation will measure the impacts on the targeted audiences reached by each of the key delivery methods. Data will be collected using focus groups; intercept interviews with people in public places, and longitudinal panels. The focus will be on 5 targeted audiences (young adults, families with children, non-NPR listeners, underrepresented minorities, and adults without college experience). This comprehensive evaluation will likely contribute important knowledge to the field based on this multiple-platform collaborative model.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Barietta Scott, Principal Investigator, SoundVision Productions


Funding Source: NSF
Award Number: 1224183
Funding Amount: 2099999


Audience: Adults | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Undergraduate | Graduate Students
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media