Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics
The Foundation develops various television projects, many through PBS, to help integrate science and technology, along with profiles of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, into the nation’s regular programming.
Foundation-supported shows such as PBS's The American Experience, the longest running history series on television, receive support for highlighting the role of science and technology in society, and for broadening our view of the nation’s history and of the central role of science, technology and engineering in the country’s narrative. Recent programs on The American Experience include The Rise and Fall of Penn Station, and The Poisoner's Handbook. The Foundation also supports economics coverage on The Newshour with Paul Solman's on-air and online program Making Sen$e. The Foundation has supported National Geographic Television on such shows as Guns, Germs and Steel, Darwin's Darkest Hour, and James Cameron's upcoming Deepsea Challenge. Some programs, such as NOVA's Hunting the Elements about the discovery and scientific role of the periodic elements, celebrate scientific and technological breakthroughs and milestones, while others reveal just how little we know, and how far we still have to go, such as NOVA's The Fabric of the Cosmos hosted by physicist Brian Greene. The Foundation has a longtime interest in the under-appreciated role of women and minorities in science and technology, and is supporting work about such figures as Lise Meitner, Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Hedy Lamarr.
The Foundation also supports television programs based on projects it has sponsored in other media. Programs have resulted from books such as Deborah Blum's Poisoner's Handbook, and plays such as Michael Frayn's Copenhagen.
The Foundation also continues to develop various film projects with cable and broadcast networks.
The American Experience's latest Sloan-funded documentary Tesla premieres on October 18, 2016. The film explores the life and work of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the physicist and inventor who was instrumental in creating the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system and had nearly 300 patents during his lifetime. more
Watch the two-part series Brains on Trial with Alan Alda, supported by the Foundation, which explores neuroscience and the criminal justice system. more