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Gross (but Cool) Science


The world is full of disgusting – but also fascinating  – things, like parasites that squirm out of people’s feet or slime mold. But as Eureka! Lab, a science resource for students from Society for Science & the Public, notes in a blog post, gross stuff also can fascinate and inspire kids about science. And that’s the idea behind the new YouTube series, “Gross Science.”

The show’s host, Anna Rothschild, is a science journalist who works for NOVA,  a television show produced by WGBH that airs on PBS. So when PBS Digital Studios and NOVA asked her about doing a YouTube series, “the first thing that came to my mind was to do gross stuff,” she says.

The result is a series of weekly two-minute videos written for student in middle and early high school that highlight everything from kangaroo farts to diseases that make you smell like maple syrup. Each video tells a story, such as how those kangaroo farts might be used to combat climate change, and include animations that Rothschild draws herself.

The stories go beyond the revolting. For instance, guinea worms — nasty parasites that used to cause horribly painful infections throughout Asia and Africa — offer an opportunity to show a parasite’s life cycle. That episode also points to how scientists are helping people around the world get rid of the worm.


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