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NOVA scienceNOW Unmasks the Secret Lives of Blossom TV Series Star; Rock-Climbing Double Amputee; and Disease Expert for Hit Film Contagion in New Season of the Secret Life Of Scientists and Engineers

BOSTON, Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blossom and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik is among the cast of real-life scientists who will reveal their lesser-known talents in the upcoming season of Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, an Emmy-nominated web series that lifts the veil on the lives of some of the biggest names in science and engineering. Now in its third season, Secret Life de-mystifies careers in the sciences by humanizing a cast of innovative professionals making their marks across a variety of fields. The new season premiered on Thursday, October 11th, at www.pbs.org/nova/secretlife.

American audiences, who grew up watching the hit television series Blossom and Big Bang Theory, will see Dr. Bialik in a new light as she teaches neuroscience, chemistry and biology to children this season. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiology and pathology professor, earned a consulting role on Contagion, a highly acclaimed film starring Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, for his pioneering work on pathogens and infectious disease. Joining Bialik and Lipkin will be stars in the science and engineering fields, who let down their hair to share seldom-seen secret sides. This season includes:

  • Hugh Herr – a Harvard biomechanics professor and double-amputee who overcame the loss of both limbs in a tragic climbing accident to scale some of the world's most challenging mountains.
  • Bruce Jackson, PhD. – an award-winning biochemist who's groundbreaking "The Roots Project" uses genetics to trace the ancestry of African-Americans to their African roots. Dr. Jackson also mentors at-risk youth through SCUBA diving.
  • Oliver Sacks – a physician, Columbia University neurology professor and best-selling author whose work inspired Awakenings, an Academy Award-nominated film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

"Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers helps audiences from all walks of life connect with some of the world's most impressive scientists – people who actually happen to be pretty down-to-Earth," said Executive Producer of Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers Joshua Seftel. "By injecting a little fun and creating a few a-ha! moments, we're hoping to inspire the next generation of great thinkers and innovators in our society."

Each episode of Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers features three fast-paced video vignettes that draw back the curtain on scientists and engineers' secret lives, reveal the passion behind their careers and often take the audience on unexpected journeys as the stars reveal their secrets. One of the most popular episodes of last season's Secret Life featured famous physicist Michio Kaku lacing up his ice skates and showing off his slick figure skating skills to a shocked Secret Life producer. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, a frequent guest on popular shows like HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, lit up Secret Life with a cosmic tie collection that was out of this world. Erika Ebbel, a beauty-queen-turned-biochemist, replaced her lab coat with a tiara and evening gown, and taught audiences how to "gown walk."

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this season's Secret Life will feature 16 scientists and engineers. New webisodes will air every two weeks.

Follow the Secret Life blog, or join the discussion on Facebook and via Twitter @secretlifer.

Secret Life of Scientists is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Funding for NOVA scienceNOW is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the George D. Smith Fund, and public television viewers.

SOURCE NOVA scienceNOW