We are all coping with the challenges of our changing world, but one thing has been a constant—the critical relevance of science, not only as we confront the largest pandemic of our lifetimes, but also the ongoing climate change crisis. Last month, Harvard researchers uncovered a link between pollution and higher COVID-19 death rates. And new research from USC Rossier aims to combat rampant misinformation on subjects like the coronavirus and climate change.
Understanding science affects public decisions by policymakers, and personal decisions about our own health. It has significant implications for equity in our society as it has revealed how health care and environmental issues impact communities of color more than most.
To help increase public understanding of science, WGBH is using new platforms to engage audiences in science literacy in groundbreaking ways. We are creating programs and educational initiatives that bring the stories of science to life and fuel the aspirations of future scientists. And our programming from reliable and trusted sources helps viewers debunk the infodemic of misinformation, conspiracy theories and fake science. According to the World Economic Forum, accurate science communication is key in the fight against COVID-19.
Our fact-based NOVA, the most-watched prime time science series on American television, remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of one-hour documentaries and long-form mini-series, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. In early March, NOVA produced a short video explaining what was known about COVID-19. They later followed it up with primers on the science behind coronavirus testing and RNA vaccine development.
NOVA’s latest film, DECODING COVID-19, premieres this Wednesday, May 13 on WGBH 2 and the PBS Video App. This timely new film unpacks the unprecedented global scientific effort to understand and contain the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the race to find a treatment and vaccine. And it shows how advances in genomics, combined with a new level of openness in sharing data and results among experts and health officials around the world, have greatly accelerated efforts
Earlier this year, NOVA produced the two-hour multiplatform Polar Extremes and accompanying digital series Antarctic Extremes, examining the changes affecting the Earth’s poles due to global warming. We also launched the interactive Polar Lab, just one of the NOVA Labs to excite students and allow “citizen scientists” to actively participate in the scientific process by visualizing, analyzing, and sharing the data about science that scientists use during real-world investigations—from predicting solar storms and designing renewable energy systems to learning cybersecurity strategies.
Last month, WGBH released two other important scientific films. Blood Sugar Rising chronicles the hidden but growing diabetes epidemic and H20: The Molecule that Made Us, is a three-part series on our dependence on water.
Science literacy influences our participation in civic and cultural affairs and it provides a context for addressing societal problems, allowing everyone to make intelligent and informed decisions, which couldn’t be more important as we approach the 2020 elections.