26 September 2009

Darwin's Darkest Hour Coming on NOVA

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I always joke that PBS (The public broadcaster here in America) is like the BBC. Just without the BBC’s money!

Jokes aside, the best science on TV in the States continues to come from PBS with such fabulous programs as NOVA.

Screen shot 2009-09-26 at 15.08.25This being the 200th year of Charles Darwin’s birth, there have been a great many programs worldwide on his life and discoveries. The BBC has had several excellent series.

On Oct 6th, NOVA will present a 2 hour presentation called Darwin’s Darkest Hour. The preview looks great, and I suspect that for those outside the U.S. you will be able to watch it online after it airs.

Screen shot 2009-09-26 at 15.07.45

You can watch a preview of the NOVA program on Darwin by clicking on the image.

Darwin’s idea of natural selection is so simple, it’s amazing that it had not been thought of before. The best and most fascinating explanation of natural selection and evolution belongs to one of the greatest science communicators of all time.  Carl Sagan. You can watch it on hulu. It’s the second part of his amazing series COSMOS, broadcast on PBS back in 1980.

COSMOS: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Carl Sagan died much too soon. He had so much to give.

The other night I was chatting on twitter with Scott Maxwell (@marsroverdriver) a scientist who goes to work each day and drives a rover on Mars! I mentioned Sagan, and he immediately said that it was Sagan who got him started in Science.

There are a lot of people in all aspects of science who are there because they were inspired by Carl Sagan. I’m one too. (Although the EF5 tornado in front of me, on Saturday, June 8, 1974, in Oklahoma City, was a not so gentle nudge into meteorology!)