Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics

This long-standing multifaceted program aims to give people a keener appreciation for the increasingly scientific and technological world in which we live and to convey some of the challenges and rewards of the scientific and technological enterprise.

The program’s primary aim is to build bridges between the two cultures of science and the humanities and to develop a common language so that they can better understand and speak to one another–and ultimately to grasp that they belong to a single common culture.

The Foundation has established a nationwide strategy that focuses on books, theater, film, television, radio, and new media to commission, develop, produce, and distribute new work mainstreaming science and technology for the lay public.

The Program supports the use of:

  • Books: classic works such as Richard Rhodes’s The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Dava Sobel’s Galileo’s Daughter, Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, and more recent works such as Stuart Firestein’s Ignorance: How it Drives Science, Benny Shilo’s Life’s Blueprint, and Tom Shachtman’s Gentlemen Scientists
  • Television: shows such as The Poisoner’s Handbook on The American Experience, James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge upcoming on National Geographic, Paul Solman’s Making Sen$e on The NewsHour, and the two-part PBS series Brains on Trial
  • Film: films such as The Imitation Game, A Birder’s Guide to Everything, Computer Chess, and Robot & Frank
  • Radio: programs such as BURN: An Energy Journal, Radiolab, and Science Friday
  • Theater: plays such as Constellations, Isaac’s Eye, The Explorers Club, and Proof
  • New Media: productions such as the World Science Festival, projects such as the New York Hall of Science’s interactive ebook “False Conviction” on science and the Innocence Project, and a chemistry game for iPad called ChemCrafter developed by the Chemical Heritage Foundation to reach a wide non-specialized audience.