Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Paula Apsell
WGBH Educational Foundation


Gregory Kestin, WGBH; Lauren Aguirre, WGBH

Project Title

What the Physics?!

Project Summary

Since 1974 on broadcast and 1996 on its web platform, NOVA has tackled challenging physics and other science subjects, making them exciting and understandable to a lay audience. Previous grants have enabled us to build a loyal following on The Nature of Reality blog. Funding from FQXi is the sole reason we have been able to create this level of focused reporting on foundational physics. However, growing interest in short-form videos—and younger audience preferences for other content platforms such as YouTube and Facebook—presents an opportunity to significantly expand the reach of this content in both numbers and diversity of audiences. NOVA’s digital team has the proven ability to produce short videos with a lively style appropriate to YouTube, without sacrificing the accuracy and credibility that are the hallmark of NOVA’s identity. We propose producing 30 to 40 short videos launched over the course of two years. These videos, hosted by Dr. Greg Kestin, would take on foundational questions in physics in an accessible manner with broad appeal. This subject matter aligns with NOVA’s and FQXi’s mission, responds to digital audiences’ clear interest, and promotes public interest in and understanding of foundational physics.

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