Everyone loves noodles—what’s their story?
farm-to-table; history of noodles; noodles around the world; what goes on in a noodle factory; long noodles for Lunar New Year; science of gluten; making noodles out of other stuff (wheat, soy, squid ink); etiquette of noodle eating
Pitches by: 5/1/17
February Rivers Run
Where do rivers start, and where are they going?
Possible ideas: What is a river system; dam building (and un-building); volunteer group working to clean up a river; profile of an important river; surfing tidal bores; why are cities built near rivers; reversing the Chicago River
Pitches by: 6/1/17
March Getting the News
Every day, there’s new news. But who makes it? And what makes it news?
Possible ideas: Profile of modern reporter; a day at a newspaper; rules for reporters; Nellie Bly; what happens when everyone shares news on their phones; How did people long ago hear about news?; historical events that would have been different if someone had gotten the news; how to tell the difference between news and opinion; how to spot fake news; start your own newspaper
Pitches by: 7/1/17
April Nature's Poisoners
Why are plants and animals out to get us?
Possible ideas: Evolutionary arms race; profile of poisonous plant or venomous animal; venom in medicine; fungi; snakes and antivenom; ordinary plants that used to be or are poisonous (apples, almonds); dose makes the poison
Pitches by: 8/1/17
May/June Making Metal
How did we figure out how to get metal out of rock? And how did it get in there?
Possible ideas: History of metalworking; what is a metal; how to get metal out of rock; swordmaking; the right metal for the job; different metals used for coins; life of a can, recycling metals; visit to a modern metal mine or smelter; cosmic origin of metals (stars, supernovae)
Pitches by: 9/1/17
July/August Fantastic Feathers
Feathers—hair for birds, and so much more.
Pitches by: 10/1/17
September Bionic Bodies
Can we build ourselves better bodies?
Possible ideas: New developments in robotic prosthetics; growing new organs; robot suits; artificial hearts; cochlear implants; augmented eyes; are running blades an unfair advantage in sports; quest for artificial pancreas
Pitches by: 12/15/17
Possible ideas: Slime molds; hagfish and other slimers of the deep; saliva and spit; biofilms; psychology of disgust, why we don’t like slime; the right grease (importance of slipperiness in engineering); extra slippery coatings for bottles and ships so nothing sticks to them
Pitches by: 2/1/18
November/December Miniature Worlds
Small is beautiful.
Possible ideas: Bonsais; fancy dollhouses; votary models in tombs; making dioramas for museums; how scale models are used in engineering and architecture; wind-tunnel testing; theatre maquettes; orreries; carving toothpicks and other extremely small art; how sculptors use small models to make huge statues
Pitches by: 3/15/18