Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Explore "The Fabric of the Cosmos" with NOVA on PBS Tonight!

It's our contention here at The Flaming Nose that PBS doesn't get enough credit anymore for all the great programming they continue to provide for viewers.  The niche (or not-so-niche) cable networks get all the coverage, all the buzz, and most of the time for doing the same kind of projects to what PBS has been offering throughout its whole history.  Cooking shows -- they invented and perfected the genre -- brilliant nature shows, fascinating science productions, terrific adult name it, PBS did it first and they haven't stopped.  They sometimes just seem to be flying under the radar these days, and it's a shame.

We love PBS and we want to shout it out that their always-excellent weekly science series NOVA gives us a terrific November four-parter beginning tonight.  The quartet of episodes of The Fabric of the Cosmos will take us into the mesmerizing world of modern physics, and it promises to be quite a journey.  Based on the book of the same name by popular physicist (and those words don't go together very often!) Brian Greene -- author of The Hidden Reality and The Elegant Universe, and one of the head cheerleaders for the mysterious String Theory in physics -- The Fabric of the Cosmos is truly a show that only PBS would broadcast.  It's important, it's intelligent, it's demanding; much as I love Science Channel, Smithsonian, Nat Geo and a few others filled with documentaries, this kind of real science is in short supply on TV.  Despite several cable networks with programming mission statements that might include some science, we're more likely to find programs about Bigfoot, or travel documentaries, or extreme fishing shows, or rocket-building competitions.  It's not that we don't like those things, it's just that they're not quite science.

But The Fabric of the Cosmos is.  Even if physics isn't your thing, it can't be bad for you to just watch and try to absorb the concepts.  You're not going to find a more amiable host for your journey anywhere.  Brian Greene has an impish demeanor that is the polar opposite of intimidating, as you can see when he was interviewed by David Letterman about six years ago.  Be sure to listen for Greene's goofy giggle around 6:45 into the segment; it's adorable!

And what other real scientist could stand up to a heckling from The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon (Emmy Award-winner Jim Parsons) during a guest appearance on that top sitcom? 

Not only is Brian Greene a best-selling author and a professor (read his full bio here), he's also a tireless advocate of science in general, whether as the co-founder with his journalist-wife Tracy of New York's annual World Science Festival, or a speaker at the TED conference.  (For a taste of his public speaking prowess, click to watch his nearly hour-and-twenty-minute appearance at the Museum of Science in Boston -- you will love it, and you also will like his radio interview from Canada's CBC radio series Current.) 

We'll share this cogent short video with him speaking to the importance of science as the basis of rational thought and decision-making; boy, is this ever relevant, as we careen into superstition and denial on a regular basis...

The Fabric of the Cosmos begins tonight with "What is Space?" and continues over the next four weeks with "The Illusion of Time," "Quantum Leap," and finally "Universe or Multiverse?".  Here are several overviews of the series and then a promo for tonight's installment.

We urge you to partake of this amazing opportunity to learn, be amazed and intellectually entertained by television, with NOVA and The Fabric of the Cosmos beginning tonight, in NOVA's new Wednesday 9pm slot .  Check out the PBS website for more information and be sure to check your local PBS outlet for specific programming times. 

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