I'm always looking for new, fun ways to get people thinking and talking about science. College-age audiences, it turns out, are a challenge to engage. With all the social media outlets available, the old-fashioned science outreach lecture just doesn't cut it anymore.
So this got me thinking. I'm a big fan of Discovery Channel's Cash Cab - a fun trivia show that takes place in the back of a New York taxi cab. What if we developed a science quiz show using Northwestern's after-hours shuttle service, SafeRide? It seemed to be a good fit - we'd make it fun and quirky, using idle time in a minivan to challenge students with five general science questions, game show-style. With science-themed prizes (Diet Coke and Mentos) for correct answers, the idea sounded promising. Paul David Shrader, SafeRide Coordinator, was really receptive (thanks, Paul David!). He paired me with senior film major Tom Koerner, trusty SafeRide driver and video consultant. Our pilot episode is below.
Special thanks to Beth Herbert for drafting our initial list of quiz questions, to MMLC videographer Mark Schaefer for his fantastic editorial expertise, and to the energetic undergraduates who carry the show. With some additional funding and support, our hope is to be back on the streets of Evanston next month. Let me know what you think!