CSU and Rocky Mountain PBS partner to broadcast bite-size science

Sybil Sharvelle in lab

Sybil Sharvelle, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, talks about her research on graywater use in a CSU-produced Conversation Starter, now airing on Rocky Mountain PBS.

Can bats lead us to clean water? Why do humans speak so many languages? These are just the beginning of the questions TV viewers across Colorado can ponder as part of a new series of short science stories from Colorado State University airing on Rocky Mountain PBS.

The one-minute video Conversation Starters feature faculty experts from CSU discussing topics they’ve researched and written about on The Conversation. The Conversation is a unique and influential international news website that distributes research-based reports written by academic experts, and edited by experienced journalists, to a global audience.

For anyone with a sense of curiosity, each 60-second report starts with an invitation: “Curious? Go in-depth with CSU experts on The Conversation.” Viewers who want more after watching the story can then go the TheConversation.com and explore articles on other topics from 30,000 experts at universities around the world, including CSU.

The new Conversation Starters air between full-length programs on Rocky Mountain PBS, typically during news- and information-oriented prime-time programming.

“Through this partnership, we’re able to provide our audience of lifelong learners compelling, research-based and timely stories from Colorado and the world,” said Amanda Mountain, CEO of Rocky Mountain Public Media, the parent company of RMPBS. “CSU is an extremely valuable partner because they are leading the way in many areas of research that are important to our viewers. At a time when the public’s trust in media is eroding, Coloradans are increasingly turning to institutions like CSU, the Associated Press, and Rocky Mountain Public Media for fact-based information that respects the audience without telling them what to think.”

Watch the first ‘Conversation Starters’

Other shows

Rocky Mountain Public Media is Colorado’s largest statewide, multimedia, member-supported organization. RMPBS reaches 98 percent of the state’s citizens with national and local programming focused in journalism, arts and culture, and education. As part of CSU’s ongoing work with RMPBS, video producers at the university have brought audiences several 30-minute documentaries including the story of Fort Collins as a hub of innovation in How a Place Matters; the life-saving link between animal and human medicine in The Answer to Cancer May Be Walking Beside Us; and the inspiring story of the work of CSU Professor Temple Grandin as she innovates ways to make livestock handling more humane and shines a light on the unique strengths of people with autism in A Different Kind of Mind.

Colorado State University is a contributing member of The Conversation, which counts among its members and founding partners institutions such as the University of Michigan, University of California, Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Washington. Funding partners of The Conversation include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Lilly Endowment, among others which also support public broadcasting.

To date, more than 80 expert authors from CSU have written more than 100 articles for The Conversation, with the top articles reaching well over 100,000 readers, through republication in national and international media outlets. In total, articles by CSU authors on The Conversation have garnered 3.67 million reads since 2011.