It's Okay To Be Smart

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It's Okay to be Smart is a show about science, but not the way you're used to it! Join host Joe Hanson as he explores the eccentricities of the scientific world. From physics and astronomy, to biology and neuroscience, nothing is off-limits in this quirky exploration of all science has to offer. The creative and fun design of the program, together with an enlightening exploration of new scientific ideas, shows that being smart isn't just okay, but truly exciting.

  • The Scale of the Universe | It's Okay To Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    From the very large to the very small, the universe is an amazing place. Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay To Be Smart, as he explores the scale of the universe.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Amazing Animal Superpowers | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Evolution has come up with some pretty amazing ways to get things done when it comes to animals, plants and microbes. Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, while he explores animal superpowers, from radiation-resistant bacteria to geckos who climb glass using atomic adhesion to a shrimp that can shoot a bubble the temperature of the sun. Nature is pretty super.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Space Sounds - Sound of the Big Bang | It's Okay To Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    John G. Cramer from the University of Washington took the measurement data of the cosmic microwave background from ESA's Planck space telescope and converted the energy frequencies of the first 760,000 years of the universe into audible sound. The very first radiation to escape after the Big Bang has been traveling outward for 13.8 billion years. This cosmic microwave background has been stretched over time, it's frequency and temperature lowering as the universe, and everything in it, expands.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Space Sounds | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    There is no sound in space. In the vacuum of space, there is nothing to transmit the physical waves that we need to perceive sound. This week, Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, features several artists using scientific data to create "space sonification" projects. From the longest palindrome ever created to a chorus created from Earth's magnetic field, these pieces lie at the intersection of art and science.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Whose Air Do You Share? | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Here's an amazing thought: every time you breathe, you could be sharing air with everyone who's ever lived. A few million of the same air molecules that enter your lungs in a lifetime also entered Albert Einstein or Marie Curie's lungs! That's some smart air. All the air that keeps us alive is just a thin candy shell around our planet. In this episode, echoing the words of John F. Kennedy, Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, shows you the science of how we all share the same air.

    Grades: 6-12
  • What is Wind? | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Wind is everywhere. The air is constantly moving, sometimes gently, sometimes violently. Why? Pressure, temperature and rotation of the earth come together to make wind. Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, to learn how.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Evolution: The Book Of Life | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    The book of life was written by genes and DNA; reading that book has helped us learn that everything on Earth is descended from a common ancestor. Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, as his friend Eric Schulze, awesome science guy and leader of Thirst DC, in this video discussion on life and what defines a species.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Bees Can See the Invisible | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Bees are amazing social insects, and their relationship with flowers is one of nature's coolest examples of "mutualism". It got Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, wondering: How do bees see the world? Enjoy this look at how bees see in ultraviolet and even sense electric fields!

    Grades: 6-12
  • Why Music Moves Us | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion? Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, went from his comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate how it might be written into our neuroscience and evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!

    Humans are the only species we know that creates and communicate using music, but it's still unclear how or why we do that, brain-wise. Is it just a lucky side effect of evolution, like Steven Pinker says? Or is it a deeper part of our evolutionary history, as people like Mark Changizi and Daniel Levitin argue?

    New evolutionary science says that we may read emotion in music because it relates to how we sense emotion in people's movements. We'll take a trip from Austin to Dartmouth to Cambodia to hear why music makes us feel so many feels. The connections between movement

    Grades: 6-12
  • You Are Mainly Microbe - Meet Your Microbiome | It's Okay to Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Our bodies are home to ten times as many microbes as human cells. We are walking ecosystems, each of us home to thousands of different species on and inside of us. Meet your microbiome! Sure, some bacteria are dangerous, but without our tiny friends we wouldn't be here. Enjoy this introduction to your microbiome from Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Why is the Sky Any Color? | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Why is the sky blue? Or any color, for that matter? It's a question that you'd think people have been asking for thousands of years, but it might not be that old at all. The ancient Greek poet Homer never used a word for blue in The Odyssey or The Iliad, because blue is one of the last colors that cultures pick out a word for. In this episode, Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, will tell you not only why the sky is blue, but why it's red at sunset.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Science and Beauty of Auroras | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Space might seem like an empty place, but the area surrounding Earth is constantly being bombarded by waves of charged particles released by the Sun: solar wind. Luckily, thanks to Earth's swirling, molten core -- and the magnetic field it provides -- we are protected from this planet-sterilizing onslaught like an invisible force field. All that science has a beautiful side effect; It makes the auroras!

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Big is the Solar System? | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    It's Okay to be Smart takes a trip to one of Austin's famous moontowers so we can see the enormity of our solar system. With the help of a grapefruit, and a lot of walking, you'll get an idea of just how tiny everything is in the enormity of space.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Science of Rainbows | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Our culture, and our skies, are full of rainbows, but do you know how they form? Do we all see the same rainbow? Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, as he finds that the answer to all of these questions involves a little physics and the number 42.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Monumental Science in Washington D.C. | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to be Smart, as he takes a trip to Washington D.C. to check out some of our nation's most famous monuments. Where do they come from? From the depths of the Earth to the distant reaches of the cosmos, you'll never look at history the same way again.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Claude Monet's Ultraviolet Eye | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Claude Monet had a very unique eye and it can teach us a bit about the science of vision. Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay To Be Smart, as he explores Claude Monet's ultraviolet eye.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Science Defines A Year | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay To Be Smart, as he explores different ways to mark the passage of a year's worth of time.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Science of Snowflakes | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Snowflakes are infinitely beautiful, but are they infinitely unique? Here's all the science behind Earth's favorite cold crystal from Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay To Be Smart.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Why Do We Cook? | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Ever wonder why we cook our food? We do it because it tastes good, of course, and because our customs and traditions are built around it. However, we also cook our food for some basic biological reasons.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ghosts of Evolution | It's Okay to be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

    Every fall, in cities like New York, the smell of vomit fills the crisp air. The culprit? The pungent seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree. So why would a tree evolve such a disgusting and revolting way to disperse its genes and make baby trees? Join Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay To Be Smart, for an evolutionary ghost story.

    Grades: 6-12

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