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Science at a rap rhythm

Futura Channel launches new program for the young public

A new program for the dissemination of science, named as Ponto de Ebulição (Boiling Point), is being launched by Futura Channel, of the Roberto Marinho Foundation, on the 7th of November, with the sponsorship of Petrobras and with the support of FAPESP, Siemens and the Uniemp Institute. The program is weekly and aims the young public, those at high school or university. During twenty six weeks, it will deal with themes such as medicines, transgenics, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, quantum physics, city, violence, among others, each program a half an hour long.

The script for each was prepared by the Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism (Labjor), from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) and by the team from Futura Channel itself. “This is the only program for the dissemination of science that has as its target a young public, integrally carried out here in Brazil, and concerning Brazilian science”, explains Carlos Vogt, FAPESP’s president, the director of Labjor and coordinator of the program’s content.

Ponto de Ebulição will have the format of investigative journalism. “For each one of the themes, we’ll deal with a discovery and the replies are obtained within the research environment”, explains Cristina Carvalho, the coordinator of the Creation Center of Future Channel. The program’s goal is to inform the public on the meaning of each of the themes dealt with and to explain how the research is developed, without leaving aside explanations on the impact of research for the economy and society, or making explicit the incentive policies for each of the investigated areas.

For this reason, the programs include interviews with researchers and takes in research centers, anchored in the studio by the musician Gabriel, o Pensador (the Thinker). “As a spectator, the themes really grabbed my curiosity. I’m learning a lot about them”, says Gabriel. “There was one about tuberculosis that showed that the illness still kills and that the bacterium remains incubated for a long period of time, that really, really surprised me.”

“My head spins”
In spite of the educational content, the programs manages to keep a rap rhythm, right from the musical theme tune, composed in a partnership between Vogt and Escada, a well known musician among those who are followers of this genre. The same beat is maintained throughout the thirty minutes, divided into three blocks. Gabriel is the anchorman and recorded in the studios of MV Vídeos in São Paulo, presenting the themes, and asking the questions – which are replied to by scientists and specialists interviewed by a reporter in their respective laboratories – and makes comments very much in the style of the target public.

For example, on commenting on the millions of pairs of bases in the genes that make up the human genome, he said: “When I think on this my head spins”. In this same program there was participation from the researchers André Luiz Vettore and Andrew Simpson from the Ludwig Institute; Luis Eduardo Camargo from the Luiz de Queiroz Upper School of Agriculture (Esalq); Paulo Arruda from the biotechnology company, Alellyx; among others.

The program, in Vogt’s opinion, is innovative. “It has a new format”, he says. As well as being shown on Futura Channel, Ponto de Ebulição will also be presented at schools.