Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Love, Betrayal, Calculus: All on the "Math Warriors" Web Series
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 05:00 AM
"Math Warriors" is a locally produced dramatic web series whose third season launches Monday.
Its creator, Kristina Harris -- she has a Ph.D. in microbial biochemistry and has taught at both New York and Columbia Universities -- thinks of the series as "The Big Bang" meets "The Office," if on a much tighter budget.
There are clashing egos, a conventional Asian nerd and a platinum blonde, furiously scribbled formulas and, of course, a quest to conquer the mathematical universe.
Harris says a growing number of public school teachers have been using the series to de-mystify math for their students. The short length of each episode, she says, makes it a good ice-breaker at the beginning of a class.
"I think often times, people feel discouraged or overwhelmed by math and science, and if we can kind of dispel the myth that it's something that is unattainable or make it somehow more popular or accessible then that's something I'd like to be able to do."
Harris says she especially hopes the series will motivate young girls to pursue math and science careers. The upper echelons of science, she says, are still dominated by men.
"There might be a number of female post-doctoral students or Ph.D. students who are female but the ones who make it to the top tier, there's a lot fewer of them. I hope we can change that over time."
Although she's self-funding the project, and has turned to the website Kickstarter for help, Harris says the actors are all professionals, and members of the Screen Actors Guild.