Scientific Program Editorial Board – half a century and counting

If the proud founders of Scientific Program Editorial Board at Television Beograd were asked how the Unit would look like and how it would function exactly half a century later, certainly nobody would imagine that we would all spend that May 1st 2020 locked inside our homes due to coronavirus pandemic, sitting by our computers and preparing program in the shared virtual space through the Internet. Physically separated from each other, all of us who participate in production and broadcasting of the Science Program are now using the advantages of digital technologies and Internet, and at the same time reflect on the achievements of artificial intelligence that threatens to extinguish numerous occupations, including journalism.

Today, when cameras are continuously becoming smaller and lighter, and the optical parts are increasingly sensitive, when the recorded material is stored in the hard disk memory while the editing process is performed in various computer programs, it is quite difficult to imagine the time when TV shows were filmed with bulky, heavy cameras while editing consisted of cutting and pasting physical pieces of film tape by hand. And that was a normal practice at the time when Television Beograd was beginning to broadcast and later also to produce its own educational-scientific TV material, in addition to informative-political and cultural-entertainment programs.

The insert from the Russian science film “Sputnik”, presented at Television Beograd in 1958, also opened the “window into the world” for the scientific content. One strong push toward popularization of science through this new media came from the International Science and Technology Film Festival, which took place in Belgrade in 1958. Prof. Pavle Savić, globally renowned researcher of nuclear fission, founder of Nuclear Institute in Vinča, suggested that Aleksandar Đulejić, student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade and later one of the Editors at the Scientific Program Editorial Board, “as an expert in science, should be performing the job of the editor in broadcasting the science reports and films at Television Beograd”. These were the very beginnings of the later Scientific Program Editorial Board, which was preceded by the establishment of the Educational-Science Program, under leadership by Miroljub Jevtović, starting in 1964.

The first series of educational-science character was titled From industry – to industry. There were 20 episodes and editors were Igor Holotkov and Dušan Milovanović. The first award for a program of scientific character was awarded to Television Beograd in 1965, at the festival in Bled, for an episode belonging to the series Man and Work. Next year, in 1966, the first prize at the same festival was again awarded to TV Beograd for an episode in the series Dictionary of Life, while at its third participation at Bled Festival, in 1972, the scientific program earned another award for the program Lepenski Vir.

Scientific Program Editorial Board was officially formed on May 1st 1970, and its first editor was author Vojislav Čolanović, who was chosen among the formal applicants.

The first series made and broadcasted by the newly-formed Editorial Board in 1970 was Science 70. It had 11 45-minute episodes. The editors were Ilja Slani, Aleksandar Đulejić and Dragan Jevtić. It was soon succeeded by series Modern World, Encyclopedia, Diagnoses, The Future that already started, Horizons, 30 Days in Science, The Last Oasis, Scientific Studio and many others.

Soon there were numerous highest acknowledgements at prestigious local and international festivals: Rhesus Factor by Dragan Jevtić, Grand-Prix at the Medical Film Festival at Varna, Instead of a Crystal Ball at the Berlin Festival Prix futura, The Wizard of Prestressed Concrete by Vojislav Čolanović, Speech and Dentures by Veroslava Tadić, Olive – the Tree with a Meaning and The Second Law of Thermodynamics ith a by Aleksandar Spasić. Programs Man and Work, Dictionary of Life and Lepenski Vir earned awards at the festival in Bled. Most of these programs were directed by Jelašin Sinovec, Dragutin Kostić, Milena Mirković and Mirjana Keser.

At the end of the 20th century, in spite of the ever decreasing production opportunities due to the economic crisis and the turbulent political periods in our region, the Scientific Program Editorial Board continued to listen to the rhythm of global scientific development and comment on the key changes in various scientific domains with help of the local experts. Never abandoning the mission of popularizing the scientific research, modern achievements and scientific tradition, it produced series such as: Joy of Learning, Ex Libris, NIT (Science and Technology), Archaeometallurgy, Guardians of Tradition, Ethnological Records, Scientific Forum, Which Window to Open, Science Lexicon, Archeological Summer, XX century, History of Serbian Archeology… In spite of numerous difficulties, by the beginning of the 21st century the Scientific Program Editorial Board amassed the greatest number of trophies in the history of TV Beograd.

The awards kept coming after 2000 as well, mostly in the domain of ethnological TV film, which has a reputable tradition within the Science Program (Grand-Prix of Festival “Golden Shepherd” 2004, Special recognition – FESTEF 2006, First Prize – Golden Bukulja 2007, First prize for the best ethno-series Golden Bukulja in 2008 etc.), but also in the field of new technologies, as their accelerated development started to influence all aspects of life and work of modern persons (Grand-Prix for exceptional contribution of implementation of ICT 2004, Invent diploma – golden medal with profile of Nikola Tesla 2004, Special recognition for best work in field of ICT – Discobolus 2009 etc.). In addition to prizes, the programs of Scientific Program Editorial Board also brought diplomas and charters (BOSI FEST for the best TV show in 2010, FILM WAKE 2011, Charter for special contribution to media affirmation of heritage of Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin 2011 etc.).

A new generation of editors rose through the ranks, adapting to the fast technological changes in forms of TV program production and constantly searching for new media forms that communicate well with the modern viewer. New series have started, competition-type shows were organized, co-productions were made: Innovations – a Step Forward, Science Café, It is good to know, House of Science, New Technologies in Education, Science on the Move, Decoding Science, Edible History, From Pigment to Concept, Unraveling the Body, Serbian Ambulance in the Great War, Sava’s Garden and many others.

The Scientific Program Editorial Board has continued its mission of popularizing science and preserving tradition in the new media surroundings, stepping outside of the rigid topic framework, connecting the new scientific and technology knowledge with culture, art and education. New series are therefore prepared: Superheroes of Media Literacy, From Plough to the Digital Farm, TV Chemistry etc. as regardless of the way in which the program is produced and broadcasted, through various mobile devices, video-platforms, on-demand television or in the traditional way, the path to the viewers leads through the high-quality interesting content, well-told story, clearly described and most complex scientific issue, just as it did more than half a century ago.


Jelena Micić, Aleksandra Šarković, Ilija Cerović