Science on the Air: popularizers and personalities on radio and early television

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Historian LaFollette traces the history of the popularization of science on the radio to the beginnings of television. The author analyzes the role of radio in the evolution of popular science in the first decades of the broadcasting era. Such radio series as "Adventures in Science" and the Smithsonian's Depression-era weekly program "The World Is Yours" are discussed in depth. She also discusses the negotiation between academic science and the economic concerns of commercial radio that set the format for popular science programs for decades to come. The role of Watson Davis in Science Service is also highlighted in the transition from traditional print media to the new broadcast era that reached millions of homes.


  • Davis, Watson
  • Radio Smithsonian
  • Science Service


Smithsonian History Bibliography

Contact information

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




  • Communication in science
  • Public television
  • Television
  • Documentary television programs
  • Broadcasting
  • Radio
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Television programs
  • Television broadcasting


United States



Physical description

Number of pages: 314; Page numbers: 1-294

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