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February 21, 2014

TV host Pogue encourages investment in STEM education

NORMAN — David Pogue has donned lab coats, goggles, army gear and more. He has been placed in a number of unusual situations and served as an experimental guinea pig in the name of scientific discovery. Yet Pogue isn’t a scientist. He’s a writer, a technology enthusiast and the host of “NOVA ScienceNow” on PBS.

Pogue spoke about his uncomfortable and extraordinary experiences as the host of “NOVA ScienceNow” and how STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education has struggled in the U.S. to engage and challenge as many students as in other countries at a lecture Thursday afternoon on OU campus.

Pogue spoke as part of the Cathey Simmons Humphreys Distinguished Education Lecture Series. He covers consumer technology for Yahoo and is also a technology correspondent on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Previously, Pogue wrote a weekly technology column for the New York Times and a monthly column for Scientific American. And Pogue has launched a series of computer how-to books called the “Missing Manual” series.

Pogue described a decline in STEM education in America and said he believed there were four main contributing factors to this decrease in STEM professionals, including cultural stereotypes, K-12 education, political factors and higher education. He said programs like “NOVA” were fighting to keep science relevant and an educational priority and that the success of the television series suggests that STEM fields are of interest and importance to the public.

During his time as a “NOVA” host, Pogue has worked with bee venom that can be used as an anti-cancer drug, MR Fluid, which looks like motor oil, but solidifies when put through a magnetic field and robotics like alpha dog that are being developed to carry military supplies.

He studied whether other animals besides humans laugh and tickled penguins. He studied gecko feet, which can support 200 times their weight and the slime produced by Hagfish.

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