Science on American Television: A History

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Historian LaFollette traces the history of the popularization of science on television from its emergence in the 1940s to the turn of the 21st century, arguing that science educators have failed to utilize the medium effectively. Following the rise of Mr. Wizard through Carl Sagan's Cosmos, LaFollette analyzes how television's wide coverage and commercial constraints affected the teaching of scientific concepts. She covers the role of Watson Davis on Science Service, which was affiliated with the Smithsonian, and such Smithsonian series as Smithsonian World and specials produced by David Wolper.


  • Sagan, Carl 1934-1996
  • Davis, Watson
  • Wolper, David L
  • Science Service
  • Smithsonian World (Television Program)


Smithsonian History Bibliography

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


  • 2013
  • 1984-1991


  • Public television
  • Television
  • Documentary television programs
  • Broadcasting
  • Television programs
  • Television broadcasting


United States



Physical description

Number of pages: 316; Page numbers: 1-306

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