Sunday, January 13, 2008

Curiosity Aroused

Rebecca Watson is one of the three finalists of the Public Radio Talent Quest, and the pilot episode of her hour-long show, Curiosity Aroused, has already been picked up by half a dozen stations across the U.S. She was recently profiled in the Boston Globe, which described her show's focus as science and debunking urban legends.

With interviews and some amusing musical interludes, her pilot takes on television reports of ghosts and visits a psychic fair. Along the way, she chats with an Australian myth-buster, toxic-substance experts who question whether the lead in lipstick really is poisoning women, and a psychologist who has studied what is supposed to be the world's funniest joke.

"The show is not exactly what I had in mind at the beginning," says Watson. "But that's because my mind was everywhere. Having done it, I know that if I get to do more, episode two will be a bit different: tighter, more focused. One really good one might be on the creationism-and-evolution debate. I think it's important to do, and we'd have fun with that."

"She's a sensational writer," says Richard Paul. A public radio veteran, the D.C.-based Paul worked with Watson on her pilot as her mentor and producer. "She also's got this fun, quirky take on something that many people see as being dull, which is science."
You can listen to her competition entries, and to the pilot episode of her show, Curiosity Aroused. Watson's blog, Memoirs of a Skepchick, takes a similar irreverent look at anti-science and pseudoscience. She's not a trained scientist herself, and this bit from her blog explains a bit where she is coming from:
Here’s my problem with [the idea that science is too hard for normal people to understand]: I dropped out of high school and I have no formal science education. I graduated from Bible school instead of college and studied the five books of Moses instead of the books of Darwin. (To my credit, I never thought “math is hard” and I did eventually get a high school diploma, attend some college, and read voraciously about science on my own.) So if I can understand these scientific concepts with a bit of mental exercise, and accept that the scientific method is really the best way to understand the universe, what’s stopping others from doing the same?
It sounds like her show would make a lively addition to the lineup of my local NPR station

(via The Bad Astronomy Blog)

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