Adelaide-based RiAus launches Australia’s first science channel

RiAus TV, run by Adelaide-based national science communication organisation RiAus, is this country’s first science channel.

RiAus TV, run by Adelaide-based national science communication organisation RiAus, is this country’s first science channel with the capacity to produce one or two exclusive videos per week, with RiAus Director Paul Willis saying they will look to aggregate content from other areas and institutions to join their exclusive content. “It should be realistic that we’ll be putting six to a dozen pieces of new material up each week,” the former Catalyst presenter says. “We’re moving into the online environment, as a TV service, as it just gives us the flexibility to actually be able to craft messages ourselves and reach not just across Adelaide or South Australia, not even just across the nation, but right around the world. Our mission is to get Australia talking about the issues based on science and RiAus TV is the perfect vehicle for doing that.” Currently RiAus TV contains interviews with scientists such as Brian Cox and Tanya Monro, as well as content from Australian science media personality Adam Spencer and videos such as the Science of Beer and Where Does Belly Button Flint Come From? Most of the videos are humorous and informative. “I’m not interested in putting a boffin on a box to lecture the world about their favourite subatomic particle,” Willis says. “I want people to actually start talking about issues that are critically important to us – things like climate change and obesity and overpopulation and genetic engineering and nano technology. There are so many things based in science that we need to be having discussions about and this is the perfect opportunity to do that.” Willis says that RiAus TV isn’t aimed at a specific group of people, but like the ABC, caters for a wide audience. “The kids that watch Playschool are not the same audience that watches Catalyst. That one channel services a number of different audiences and it’s the same with us. We’ve got some content out there that reaches out to interested people and we’ve got content there that will be particularly useful in the school setting. There’s content that will be really useful for the development of careers, early on, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Then there is some general interest stuff, such as conversations about drugs in sport and the science behind that, or the science behind bushfires or the science behind road accidents. “There is any number of subjects that we can touch on and produce things for a very broad audience. Some of it may be highbrow, only appealing to people that already know a lot about quasars or quantum mechanics or something, but we have the fl exibility and the obligation to produce everything inbetween, so that’s what we’ll be doing.” Willis has previously said that “we need to make science an integral part of Australian pop culture. The future of our society depends on it, plain and simple”. “When you think about the pressing problems that could not only make life difficult for us, but fundamentally change our societies, or even destroy it, things like climate change, things like overexploitation of resources – particularly water – these are actually subjects that have their base in science. We wouldn’t know about a climate change problem if it weren’t for the scientists out there measuring the damn thing. So by bringing the science back into these discussions, because more often than not they’re hijacked by political or social agendas, not only can we explain what the problem is but, also, science probably offers the best solutions as to how we should navigate our way through it.”

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