Lecture series on cutting-edge Scripps research is UCSD-TV’s most-watched science programming.
The Jeffrey B. Graham Perspectives on Ocean Science Lecture Series at Birch Aquarium at Scripps—featuring monthly presentations of cutting-edge research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego—has reached 10 million online views, a milestone that underscores the wide appeal of Scripps research and the impact of Birch Aquarium’s outreach programs.
“As the exploration center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Perspectives on Ocean Science series is Birch Aquarium’s most important public science program,” Aquarium Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth said. “This incredible body of knowledge is available worldwide via the Internet, extending our educational outreach far beyond the podium.”
More than 130 videotaped lectures—which range in topic from climate science to emperor penguins to deep-sea discoveries—can be accessed online through UCSD-TV’s website as well as UCTV’s system-wide YouTube and iTunes channels. Perspectives on Ocean Science is UCSD’s longest-running and most popular science series. Out of more than 350 UCTV series, it is the 14th most watched.
The programs also air through the UCSD-TV and UCTV broadcast networks to 5 million homes in California and 20,000 Roku subscribers nationwide.
“Birch Aquarium’s dedication to this program is helping to deepen society’s understanding and support of science,” said Catherine Constable, interim director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego, as well as a previous Perspectives presenter. “Viewers all over the world are exposed to the breadth and importance of Scripps discoveries—research that is significant for the health of the planet and its people.”
The lecture series, originally called “The Birch Aquarium Presents,” was launched in February 1996 as intimate presentations held monthly in the mornings before the aquarium opened to the public. The series expanded into a popular evening program in 2001 when Scripps marine biologist Jeffrey B. Graham, interim director of Birch Aquarium, wanted to better connect society with the discoveries of Scripps researchers. Graham, for whom the series is now named, died in 2012.
In addition to its online viewership, more than 12,000 people have attended monthly Perspectives lectures. Birch Aquarium at Scripps spends more than $25,000 each year to produce the series.
The most popular Perspectives topics range from climate science to leopard sharks to marine protected areas. At more than 375,000 views, the most-watched lecture is “The American Denial of Global Warming” from fall 2007, featuring UC San Diego scientist and historian Naomi Oreskes. Oreskes’s talk, which has received more than 51,000 viewer comments on YouTube, revealed the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about climate science and scientific consensus. Also popular is “A New Imperative for Deep-Ocean Stewardship” featuring Scripps biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, which has received more than a quarter-million views.
“Presenting in the Perspectives series is an excellent way for Scripps researchers to broaden the impact of their research,” said Cheryl Peach, director of Scripps Educational Alliances and Perspectives curator. “As people increasingly turn to the Internet for access to information, this series promises to increase its reach into the next decade and beyond.”
The next Perspectives lecture will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8 at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Scripps Oceanography geophysicist Michael Hedlin will present, “Listening to Earth’s Atmosphere: Tuning into the Sounds of Our Dynamic Planet,” which will describe the exciting new field of atmospheric acoustics. The lecture will be available for online viewing beginning in May.
For information about ways to support the series, please visit aquarium.ucsd.edu.