Press Release: UCSD-TV's "When Things Get Small" Makes Comical Sense of 'Nano' (11/2005)

UCSD-TV's "When Things Get Small" Makes Comical Sense of 'Nano'

NSF-Funded Program Premieres November 30

LA JOLLA, November 10, 2005--Nano is today's "buzz" word, popping up in almost any exchange or news report about the future of technology. But what exactly does this word mean? UCSD-TV's new half-hour program "When Things Get Small," premiering November 30 at 8PM, addresses these and other questions about the field by taking viewers of all ages on an irreverent, madcap, comically corny romp into the real-life quest to create the smallest magnet ever known. Funded by the National Science Foundation, and produced by UCSD-TV in partnership with Calit2, "When Things Get Small" was created by Not Too Serious Labs, the creative collaboration of Rich Wargo, science producer for UCSD-TV, and renowned UCSD physicist Ivan Schuller.

The half-hour program addresses several important "nano" concepts with entertaining effects, humor and comic invention, and illustrates answers to such questions as ≡ How small is nano? What happens when things get small? And, how do you make things small? With special appearances by UC President Robert Dynes and Padres owner John Moores (disguised as a peanut-seller at Petco Park), the program is a departure from typical science-for-television fare.

Early feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive. An invitation-only sneak preview audience screened the program at the October 28 opening celebration of UCSD's Calit2 building. Guests laughed and learned and the program elicited enthusiastic responses: "Entertaining and interesting," "I keep wondering what nano is and I found the answer today," and "It's 'Good Eats' for sciences," commented another viewer, referring to a popular Food Network program.

"The preview response is very encouraging," commented Rich Wargo, UCSD-TV science producer. "In developing the program, we found research indicating that people actually learn better when humor is involved. So there is a method, not just madness here, and it seems to be working." Wargo continued, "But commenting about all that is boring and pretentious - just enjoy the show. As one of our muses once said: 'That's All Folks!'"

"This program is a terrific example of the blending of science and entertainment, " stated Larry Smarr, Director of Calit2, who screened the film at the October 28 sneak preview. "It fits wonderfully with Calit2's mission of helping the public understand what research organizations like ours are doing and how it might impact their lives."

For more information about "When Things Get Small," including additional air dates, behind the scenes photos, or to view the program and the "making of" special on-demand, visit

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