Funny, One-Minute Radio Science Program, “The Loh Down on Science,” Expands to Interactive Web Site

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“The Loh Down on Science,” a syndicated humorous radio science minute that airs on more than 140 radio stations around the world, kicks off an interactive web site today: http://www.lohdownonscience.org and a contest for K-12 schools.

Sandra Tsing Loh, host of the "Loh Down on Science" funny radio science minute which airs on 140 stations worldwide.

“Sandra Tsing Loh remains intent on revealing what has so far been a well-kept secret: science doesn't have to be that opaque thing you learned in high school, but can be something fun, entertaining, and thoroughly satisfying."

“The Loh Down on Science,” a syndicated humorous yet informative radio science minute program that airs on more than 140 radio stations around the world, kicks off an interactive web site today: http://www.lohdownonscience.org

Like the ever-evolving science it covers, “The Loh Down on Science” web site will be an ever-evolving creature. The site includes a cross-indexed collection of a 1,700-plus archive of daily science minutes. It is an open-source, quickly-searchable science almanac accessible across several platforms—radio, Facebook, Twitter, the website, a podcast and on mobile phones. Topics cover science or technology aspects of such subjects as pirates, magic, poop, Armageddon studies, chocolate, parenting, marriage, dating, sports, and “Dr. Mom Files.”

“We wanted to create a science tool that is fun, useful and responsive for our users,” said Sandra Tsing Loh, Caltech physics graduate, author, and comedian for whom the show is named. “Although, of course, as engineers say, ‘When you launch a rocket, 1,000 things can happen—only one of which is good.’ Our digital journey thus far has been hilarious, humbling and rewarding. In the end, we have found that the more people use our bite-sized online science material (we were surprised how ideally suited it is to mobile phones), the more we can intelligently adapt and improve. In short, we wanted to announce the website’s existence now, bring people to it and start evolving it to meet the users’ needs. So visit our online laboratory and try it out. It’s free, you’ll learn science, and you could win $1,000!”

To celebrate the site’s kickoff, “The Loh Down on Science” is announcing a contest in which kids, families and friends can play on behalf of their favorite public school.

“We feel it's a win/win--as users interact with our site, more daily conversations about science will occur, and in thanks I'm pledging $1,000 to the winning public school!” said Loh.

See the contest rules here: http://www.lohdownonscience.org/forschools/contest/

Loh said the May 1 to 31 contest is perfect for kids. “They love devices (my iPhone is always passed around the backseat of the car at school pickup time by my tween girls) and can ingest science in short playful bites via our Question of the Day.” Loh has a longtime passionate commitment to public education, as documented by her New York Times notable book "Mother on Fire." “My dream is for excellent educations to be available to all for free. My dream is for science to be part of our daily conversation. That’s the spirit that informs us.”

Originating at Caltech in 2005, the show is currently produced by LDOS Media Lab through a generous grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "The Loh Down on Science” segments are effective learning tools for any age.

“A Loh Down is a capsule of intriguing scientific research presented clearly, in a witty way, because we believe humor makes knowledge sticky,” said Loh. “There is no limit to the science we can present—whether it be in astronomy, biology, computers, evolution, global warming, psychology, politics, sports or beyond—as long as we can make the gist of it graspable in 90 seconds. Our audiences are experts and novices, old and young.”

Professor Mike Brown, the Caltech astronomer who famously “killed Pluto” and was recently co-awarded the prestigious $1 million Kavli Prize, says of Loh: “Sandra Tsing Loh remains intent on revealing what has so far been a well-kept secret: science doesn't have to be that opaque thing you learned in high school, but can be something fun, entertaining, and thoroughly satisfying. Now that our secret is out we scientists are in trouble: soon all of the cool kids will take over our labs and leave us scribbling equations on the sidewalks.”

The site includes an audio segment of the day, a question of the day, a Fun Content Troller, Loh’s blog, a section for radio stations that want to carry the Loh Down, and a section for schools because Loh is a big believer in getting kids excited about science.

“While no one can replace great classroom teachers implementing a K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum, 'The Loh Down on Science' can be a resource in communicating to kids that science is relatable, relevant, interesting, amazing, gross, funny, and memorable,” said Loh. “A way of understanding our entire world, science is not just academic, remote and complex. It’s an entry point into deductive thinking: we wonder about something (large or small), we form hypotheses, and we create an experiment.”

“The Loh Down on Science” is in stage one of a three-year project to create a useful, open-sourced science education tool for schools. The segments can be aired in the classroom and used as points of departure for discussion and to stimulate student curiosity to learn more. “We believe the future of science is with our kids, in their capacity to think and wonder and invent,” said Loh.

Radio stations can add “The Loh Down on Science” to their programming via FTP or Content Depot. PRX carries it on “Public Radio Remix” (a weekly digest of the best of public radio).

Loh, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Caltech, sorely disappointed her Chinese engineer father, by pursuing a career in the liberal arts. Aside from having been a regular contributor to the National Public Radio program “Morning Edition,” American Public Media program “Marketplace,” and Ira Glass' “This American Life,” she is the author of five books. Selected by Variety as one of America's 50 most influential comedians, Loh has starred in two original hit solo shows off-Broadway and at the Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Kennedy Center. She is a contributing editor to the Atlantic Monthly and a composer whose music was featured in Jessica Yu's 1998 Oscar-winning documentary “Breathing Lessons.” Loh lives in Los Angeles. Her book on menopause, “The Bitch is Back,” based on her 2012 Best American Essay-winning piece in the Atlantic Monthly, will be published by W.W. Norton in spring, 2014.

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