Animated science!

I was going to post about another subject this week, but I came across some great information last week that I’ve been dying to share.  So, we interrupt your regular broadcast for this special report!

I was working on my previous blog post just before Thanksgiving when I heard an NPR Morning Edition report about ants.  In it, the Morning Edition science correspondent, Robert Krulwich, discussed a paper by researchers from the University of Ulm that was published in the journal Science in 2006.  The researchers discovered that ants in the Sahara likely count their steps to find their way back to their nests after they forage for food, remarkable findings that were widely broadcasted by the New York Times and other newspapers and bloggers around the world.  Krulwich’s report was about the ingenious experiment the researchers did to confirm that the ants might be counting their steps.  At this point, the ant story is two years old, old news that has been rehashed several times, so I was a little surprised that Krulwich was reporting about it at all.  Still, I went to the NPR website to see the animated video the reporter mentioned at the end of his segment just because I was curious what they’d done.

I have to say that I was completely blown away by the video!  It is one of the absolute best presentations of science I’ve ever seen.  The video is a short animated piece that is simple to understand, very brief, and accurately depicts what the scientists did and how they came to their conclusions in an entertaining format.  Its simplicity and level of approachability is amazing.  If all science was presented to the public the way NPR presented this ant study, it would be very easy for everyone to understand what scientists do!

I highly recommend that you check it out, if only to see a really great presentation of scientific information.  The ant story itself is pretty good too.

We now return to your regularly scheduled broadcast…


Text copyright © 2009


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