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February 27, 2010

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TV series to explore science and Expos

SCIENCE legends of World Expos will be featured in a 20-episode television program to be aired during the World Expo 2010 on CCTV-4 and CCTV-9.

The program will feature scientific achievements, industrial development and great architecture first shown in World Expos that go back 160 years.

The aim is to promote public interest in World Expos through the half-hour episodes.

The series, "Science Legends of World Expos," is produced by the Wuhan TV Station and CCTV International.

It will feature the Eiffel Tower unveiled at the 1889 Paris Exposition and the Crystal Palace at the Great London Expositio of 1951, which is considered the world's first Expo.

Over the years, many inventions and industrial achievements were displayed at World Expos, including the steam engine, light bulb, telephone, film, television, automobile, airplanes, spacecraft and other major advances.

The 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, for example, was sometimes called the White City, because of the dramatic use of electric lighting.

The production team is experienced in presenting popular science films, including "Science and the Olympics," a 30-episode series for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Good storytelling

"You can't imagine the difficulty of making such a big themed program," says Zhao Zhizhen, director-general of the Expo science film. "I feel my heart and body are drained."

Zhao says his team waded through a sea of historical materials and information.

Producing a successful popular science film is difficult because it requires not only scientific accuracy but also good storytelling to appeal to ordinary viewers.

"Most of the audience has little knowledge about World Expos, so our purpose is to educate through an interesting and attractive film," says the director.

The language must be "outstanding -- beautiful, poetic and philosophical," he says.

A popular science film is not about "cold technology," which isn't interesting, but about culture and ideas, he says.

Each episode will begin with a concrete object, such as the steam engine, and describe its development and impact on society, using human stories.

"There's no boring science, only boring explanations," Zhao says.


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