JAPAN PRIZE 2007 : Runners-up

The Best ProgramList of Entry
Program Division / Youth Education
Program Title Fantastic Phenomena: The sense of touch
Organization Sudwestrundfunk (SWR)
Country Germany
We are honoured that Fantastic Phenomena: The sense of touch was so well-received by the jury of the Japan Prize. The Fantastic Phenomena -format tries to entertain while simultaneously giving new insights into science.
The sense of touch was a particularly tricky subject. How could we use the visual medium of television to convey something strictly non-visual like the tactile sense? Thankfully, blind athlete Verena Bentele provided a great anchor for the story. Through her, we discover the human sense of touch and compare it to others in the animal kingdom. In addition to providing information on the biology behind touching and feeling, watching Verena's everyday life will help educate young viewers about life with a disability and hopefully foster admiration and understanding towards disabled people.
To have our work recognised at the Japan Prize is further motivation for us to keep up the high standards and explore more subjects. Currently, we are working on diverse topics like the digestive system, climate, and the sticking abilities of flies. We also look forward to making our films and related teaching materials more readily available to a wider audience, through our new website, which will go online in February 2008.
Dirk Neumann: Author
Jan Haft: Director
Juergen Bundy: Producer
Program Title Design Squad: The Need for Speed (episode 101)
Organization WGBH Educational Foundation
Country United States
We are very honored to be a runner-up in the Youth Education Category of the Program Division. With DESIGN SQUAD Season II, we are plugging a new cast of eight high schoolers into the big, wild world of engineering. Over 13 episodes, the teams will learn to build fast, think smart and not totally freak out when their stuff falls apart. Working in groups of four, each team will have just two days to get it done! What they will do ranges from constructing cardboard furniture for IKEA to building hockey net targets for the Boston Bruins to designing underwater prostheses for an amputee dancer. Heeding a few "words of wisdom" from DESIGN SQUAD's engineer host Nate Ball, contestants will brainstorm, design, build, test and re-design, before putting their products to the (sometimes hilarious, often triumphant) test. Keeping their eyes on the grand prize - a $10,000 college scholarship from the Intel® Foundation - and their cool when things get hot, Design Squad-ers will discover that engineering can make anything possible!
Also in Season II, we will produce a multi-player interactive feature for the Web site. We will form a partnership with By Kids, For Kids, with whom we will be launching a national Design Squad Contest. And, we will produce a new resource for educators to enhance and support their engineering activities with kids.
Marisa Wolsky
Executive Producer