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SuChin Pak

September 29,1997

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Why do onions make you cry? Just how does mail get where it's going, anyway? How does your car run? A lot of kids wonder about these questions, but are too intimidated to ask in a classroom, for fear they'll look silly. That's why twenty-one year old actress SuChin Pak of PBS' Emmy-Award winning Newton's Apple thinks the show is so helpful and educational. "Kids can ask us questions that they can't ask in a classroom-simple things that might seem like a stupid question, but that a lot of people don't know the answer to," Pak explained." No one really stops to wonder how the car runs or how the television works - they're just grateful it does."

While Newton's Apple gives explanations, it never goes too in-depth. "We don't do big equations, we just explain the basics, so kids can understand it," Pak remarked.

As a child, Pak occasionally caught bits and pieces of the show. "I think it's changed a lot in the fifteen years it's been on," she mused. "There are more hosts than there used to be, and having more people makes it more entertaining. Also, we do more travelling now." Yet, some things remain the same about the show beginning its 15th Anniversary season on Sept. 28th. "We still have the science element," Pak continued, "and we still get most of our topics from viewers' letters."

With so many letters coming in, how do you have a better chance of getting your letter answered on air? Pak had good advice for kids who write in: "The producers decide which letters we answer on air, and they decide by how easy it is to answer a question - on air. Since it's a television show, we like to build models, give examples, that kind of thing, rather than just reading an answer aloud. We couldn't, for example, answer a question like 'Where does wind come from?' because we couldn't make a model and actually show you how."

Pak enjoys reading the letters and finding out what kind of questions kids ask. "It's funny sometimes," she laughed, "we got a cute letter from a kid who wanted to know how many people you'd have to push off the earth to make a difference in its weight."

Born in Korea, Pak moved to the U.S. with her parents and brother when she was five. The only member of her family in show business, she first became interested in television in high school, when she anchored her school's "Y - Witness New". Next she hosted a local teen talk show, then joined Newton's Apple three seasons ago. "The best thing about doing the show is the travelling, " she said. "I get to go so many places, see so many new things. I never had much of an interest in science before, (No, she doesn't have a degree in science, but holds degrees in political science and ethnic studies.), but, by doing the show, every week I get to learn something new."


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