NOVA/PBS now has the first episode of the Making Stuff series online (please note that the folks at NOVA/PBS seem to still be tweaking the coding of the video, so if the video does not appear above, click here to go directly to their website) and my initial impression from the initial show, Making Stuff: Stronger, is that I think its a quite good intro to the field of materials science.
The basic format of the show is to go to an interesting venue (e.g., an aircraft carrier), look in depth at a particular material (e.g., steel, Kevlar), offer some historical context, and then drill into meatier topics and concepts such as toughness, tensile strength, flexibility, energy absorption, brittleness, compressive strength, etc.
Host David Pogue ventures a tad close to hamminess, but ultimately has enough charm to pull off being an effective story teller. From a videographic point of view, MS:S achieves a nice balance between lab shots, application examples, interviews and animations of what’s going on at the micro and atomic levels, and I think between the personalities, look and pacing, it succeeds pretty well at a sheer entertainment level.
I have a few initial qualms about MS:S (not really about the science) that I am going to keep to myself for now because, in fairness to the series, they may eventually be addressed.
. . . adding, kudos also should go to MRS for their work on this project.