Science in Action (TV series)

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Science in Action was a weekly half-hour television program devoted to science.[1] The program was produced by the California Academy of Sciences, and was broadcast from 1950 to 1966. It was thus among the first live science television program in the United States; The Johns Hopkins Science Review was broadcast from 1948 to 1955, and is apparently the very first such program.[2] In all, 566 programs were produced. Dr. Tom Groody hosted the program for its first two years; he was succeeded by Dr. Earl S. Herald, who was the host for the following fourteen years until production ceased in 1966.[3][4]

Marcel LaFollette has written, "Production approaches that are now standard practice on NOVA and the Discovery Channel derive, in fact, from experimentation by television pioneers like Lynn Poole and Don Herbert and such programs as Adventure, Zoo Parade, Science in Action, and the Bell Telephone System’s science specials. These early efforts were also influenced by television’s love of the dramatic, refined during its first decade and continuing to shape news and public affairs programming, as well as fiction and fantasy, today."[5] LaFollette included the program in her 2008 overview of early broadcasting devoted to science popularization.[6]


  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1985). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part II: Live, Film, and Tape Series. The Scarecrow Press. pp. 437–438. ISBN 0-8108-1651-2.
  2. ^ Lucanio, Patrick; Coville, Gary (2002). Smokin' Rockets: The Romance of Technology in American Film, Radio and Television, 1945-1962. McFarland. pp. 108–114. ISBN 9780786412334.
  3. ^ "Science in Action (television show) archive". California Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  4. ^ "Science in Action Episodes" (PDF). California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  5. ^ LaFollette, Marcel C. (September 2002). "A Survey of Science Content in U.S. Television Broadcasting, 1940s through 1950s: The Exploratory Years". Science Communication. 24 (1): 34–71. doi:10.1177/107554700202400103. S2CID 144331760. No free online access.
  6. ^ LaFollette, Marcel Chotkowski (2008). Science on the Air: Popularizers and Personalities on Radio and Early Television. University of Chicago Press. pp. 223–224. ISBN 9780226467597.

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