Franklin Institute sparks curiosity in the world of digital learning

Franklin Institute
Franklin Institute
Getty

The Franklin Institute has always been a place where the curious mind can play. Typically, you have to head to the establishment on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to explore what it offers but this week that changed.

Recently, the science, education and research museum has expanded its offerings past its own walls with the launch of a new podcast and video series — so now anyone can expand on those curiosities. 

The debut of the FI’s all-new podcast and digital series is intended for adults looking to satisfy their unquenchable thirst for science, tech, the universe and beyond. “So Curious!” the Institute’s new bioscience-themed podcast series just released its first episode this week on Monday. The pilot episode along with the next 11 episodes of the first season will premiere weekly every Monday and can be streamed at beyond.fi.edu — the Institute’s new digital content portal and on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found. 

Franklin Institute
Franklin InstituteProvided

Monday also marked the launch of the first of 8 weekly episodes of a new astronomy-themed video series. “A Practical Guide to the Cosmos” is also available at beyond.fi.edu and on YouTube, and this series will follow the same release structure (every Monday) as the podcast. 

“The digital series represents the new iteration of what the Franklin Institute has to offer,” explains Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of the Franklin Institute, in a statement. “We saw an already high consumption rate of digital media significantly increase during the pandemic, exposing an opportunity for us to establish a new avenue to reach our core audience. The digital series extends the positive brand equity of the Franklin Institute beyond the walls of the museum to bring interesting and entertaining science to audiences in their own space.”

“So Curious!” will feature a few recognizable names. The original podcast is hosted by Philadelphia native rapper-songwriter Amir “The Bul Bey” Richardson and comedian, writer and musician Angelica Pasquini, as they dive into the deep end of the science pool to uncover what happens when humans take biology into their own hands.

According to a news release, the first episode of the series probes the world of cognitive enhancements with future topics that include biohacking, mental health, prosthetics, synthetic senses, bioprinting/artificial organs, neuroethics, wellness, genetics, creative biology and wearable tech explored in a fun, energetic, highly inquisitive and slightly offbeat way.

Franklin Institute chief bioscientist producer, and on-air science contributor of the podcast Dr. Jayatri Das said: “So Curious! is all about celebrating science through our hosts’ curiosity — they’ll ask the questions we all want the answers to. Listeners will hear about a broad range of cutting-edge topics featuring everyone from innovative startups to established leaders to everyday people whose lives are being changed through emerging science. Bey and Angelica take a new and fresh look at these advancements and what they mean for our world.”

Curiosity goes beyond just our world however with “A Practical Guide to the Cosmos.” Hosted by actor, TikToker at @TokNerdyToMe and Griffith Observatory astronomy lecturer Kalpana Pot and Franklin Institute Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts, this new original video series promises viewers they “will see the universe like never before.”

Franklin Institute
Franklin InstituteProvided

The first episode featured a look into the mysteries of the night sky, and in the future, through eight weekly six-to-eight minute episodes, Pitts and Pot explore exoplanets, galaxies, space missions and black holes, sharing free bonus content throughout the season for subscribers. Future episodes will also travel through the solar system, to the moon, and inside black holes; they will explore telescopes, consider space travel, ponder the size and scale of the universe, and help us imagine the speed of light. 

“People are infinitely curious about the world around them, so when we think of the phenomena of the universe, there’s a limitless amount to share and even more to discover,” explains Pitts. “We already know there’s a strong appetite for space science, and we think viewers will have a really entertaining time seeing how both Kalpana and I view all things astronomy, and they may even learn a thing or two.”

More information can be found about the podcast and new digital series and the Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St.) online at fi.edu .

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