There is a post at the Chron blog entitled “Blonded by Science” that states:
A dismal 7 percent of adult Americans are science literate, but James Trefil has a secret weapon that could send that number cartwheeling into the double digits: cheerleaders. Specifically, the members of the Philadelphia 76ers squad.
Working with Darlene Cavalier, a former Sixers cheerleader-turned-science-journalist, Mr. Trefil, a physics professor at George Mason University, hopes to improve science education with a Web page called Brain Makeover.
Here’s how it works: First watch a series of video clips of Sixers cheerleaders stating key scientific concepts and shaking their pompoms. Then test what you’ve learned by taking a short quiz.
Somewhere in the middle of it all Mr. Trefil provides brief science lessons. (Hint: Look below each of the clips.) We got distracted by the swirling quarks and leptons, and failed the quiz. Dismally.
From the Brain Makeover site:
To start your Brain Makeover, click on any one of the ideas listed below to watch a 76er cheerleader share the concept and to read Professor Trefil’s explanation.
Anybody feel smarter? And where are the cheering, scantily clad men? Via Zuska, who notes:
These god-awful videos are akin to the long-standing practice of sexist science dudes including cheesecake photos in the middle of their science slide presentations for “comic relief” or to “entertain the audience”. In fact, they are just an extension of that practice. “Look! Sexy babes ‘n’ science! Did I get your attention?”