In the search for new ways to popularise science perhaps it is time to embrace the trend of recent years towards “reality” TV? The last few years have provided a plethora of formats which could be easily adapted to science, for example,
Contestants compete in a laboratory environment to complete various tasks with one person being eliminated every week. Contestants will be encouraged to badmouth each other behind each others back and occasionally drop contaminants into each others experiments.
Similar to the Master Researcher but contestants have to work in teams (giving them the opportunity for up close and personal insults) with all work is critiqued by a foul-mouthed English lab supervisor.
An enthusiastic young person stands in from of a panel of 4 people explaining the innovative research ideas that have consumed their life for the past three years only to have it picked apart and criticised.
Fairly simple to do as this is essentially a televised PhD oral.
Man vs Lab
A PhD student is locked in a cavernous lab by his supervisor for a week and is not only expected to complete a scientific task task but must also survive on water distilled from experimental waste water and various edible substances found within the lab.
Lab supervisors compete amongst each other to be the favourite supervisor (laboratory idol) in front of groups of first year students. While clear articulation of complex scientific concepts and friendliness will gain some points the occasional flash of cleavage or bicep flex may also win votes. (However, no twerking allowed!)