Your Chance to Host a PBS Program About Chemistry

This production still from "The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements" shows oxygen discoverer Joseph Priestley.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be chemistry’s Carl Sagan? Well, now’s your chance. Over the transom, we’ve received word that the folks at Moreno/Lyons Productions are searching for a host for their upcoming PBS special/multimedia project The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements. “In a nutshell,” notes the production’s webpage, “the project is about the human story behind the Periodic Table of the Elements.

The centerpiece of the project is a two-hour documentary that will feature dramatic reenactments with key chemistry characters, such as Marie Curie, Joseph Priestley, and Glenn Seaborg. These scenes will be knit together by an on-screen host…who could be you.

“Our hope is to find someone from the chemistry community,” Project Director Stephen Lyons tells Newscripts. “The host needn’t be famous, a Nobel Prize winner, or even a leading researcher. She or he might be a great teacher, for example, at the college or even community college or high school level. We’d like to find someone young enough to go on and serve as the host of later chapters in the continuing Mystery of Matter series, so preference will be given to candidates under 60. Minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Since many of the host scenes will involve performing chemical demonstrations, candidates who already have that skill will have a leg up. But the most important qualification is that she or he be a gifted chemical communicator — comfortable on camera, at ease with chemistry, and able to present with authority, enthusiasm, and feeling for the very human story we’re telling,” Lyons elaborates on the Mystery of Matter webpage. In case you’re wondering about Lyons’ cinematic chemistry chops, his  previous work includes “Forgotten Genius,” the documentary about African-American chemist Percy Julian.

To let Lyons know that you (or someone you know) would make a great host, send a link to a YouTube video that features the candidate’s skills as a communicator of chemistry to: Chemistry.Host@gmail.com. Be sure to include a way for Lyons’ team to get in touch with the candidate.

Author: Bethany Halford

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10 Comments

  1. When are submissions due?

  2. A great friend of mine and chemistry professor at University of Wisconsin Platteville. He’s very entertaining and relates well to his students. He once did a portion of a mock interview with a group of friends and taught us all about states of matter. I think he’d be an excellent host.

  3. The previous comment is mine. I thought this was a chance to nominate someone for the show. My apologies.

  4. Jennie – I don’t think there’s a hard and fast deadline, but Lyons tells me they’d like to make their decision within the next month or so.

    Dave – You should tell your friend to apply.

  5. What a great opportunity! My Husband would be great for this! Hope you feel the same :-)

  6. I have Masters in Chemistry and 8 years of experience in broad casting on TV and Radio. I have a Radio show every night and millions of listeners all around the world. I always wondered how I could combine these two totally different field (chemistry and broad casting) together. Now it I see nothing is impossible. I am also an anchor woman on the news section of a TV station along with teaching chemistry as a side job.

  7. Hey, Sam Kean might be a good pick. He is the author of “The Disappearing Spoon and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements”

  8. I would like to wholeheartedly second the above suggestion. Wonderful book– wonderful man.

  9. Prof Andrea Sella from University College London is definitely the best there is regarding Science and especially Chemistry communication. He has vast amounts of experience both in radio and TV for the BBC and constantly delivers science and chemistry lectures to the general public. VOTE FOR HIM NOW!!! Believe when I say you won’t regret it.

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