NATCHITOCHES – Love science? Have questions about the environment? Your brain? The universe? Northwestern State University’s Department of Biological and Physical Sciences has launched a video series in which they invite viewers to submit questions on any science-related topic that interests them. The videos are posted on the NSULA Science’s youtube channel where viewers can subscribe and/or follow on the department’s social media channels.
Spearheaded by Dr. Michael Scanlan, assistant professor of physics, the video series is intended to engage individuals of any age who are interested in any branch of science – physical science, life science or Earth science with topics related to biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, ecology, geology or astronomy. The videos will feature demonstrations, interviews with faculty, profiles on student researchers and topics submitted by viewers.
“We want to interact with people as much as possible,” Scanlan said. “What is happening in science? What are your concerns? Do you have questions about water quality or the weather? It’s a multi-pronged approach to community outreach and engagement.”
Scanlan converted his research lab in Fournet Hall into a small studio and enlisted a student crew to help produce the videos. He does all the editing, having taught himself how to use the Adobe Creative Suite. He plans to produce at least two videos a month and hopes the series turns into something big.
“When I grew up, we had science shows like ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ and ‘Beakman’s World,’” Scanlan said. “We don’t have that anymore. Everybody is on youtube now. We’d like to do demonstrations of chemical reactions, falling objects, the bed of nails – that’s always a big hit. And I want to do interviews with students about their research to highlight the importance of the funds we’re getting and where the funding goes.”
Scanlan has been on faculty at NSU for two years teaching physical sciences and says he enjoys having non-science majors in his classes because they see things differently.
“I don’t like to bog them down in the math but it’s fulfilling for me to open their eyes. That what I have in mind for the studio, too.”
Following an introductory video that can be viewed here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4L0ZFKoJrQ, Scanlan created a student spotlight on Jordan Bringedahl, a senior biology/microbiology major who studies bacteria in feral hogs. That video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-0MekzVW7I. Students Missy Boyanton and Bryn Edmonston assisted with direction and production.
The videos are linked to @NSULA Sciences on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“We invite you to join us as we seek to unravel the mysteries of the university,” Scanlan says. “We want to know what you want to see, what you want to hear.”