New series of "Fight Science" with WSU bioengineering professor Cynthia Bir as lead scientist

Building on the popularity of National Geographic Channel's Fight Science specials, a new five-part series of Fight Science premiered Monday, February 1, 2010 and will move to its regular night and time Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The series brings together a team of technical engineers, physiologists and computer technicians to uncover the secrets behind some of the world's most elite fighters. Each episode uses breakthrough technologies to peer in real time into the bodies of fighters and trained professionals including special operations soldiers, SWAT officers, martial artists and self-defense experts. Wayne State University Professor of Biomedical Engineering Cynthia Bir is lead scientist in the series.

This season features five episodes: "Ultimate Soldiers" (Mon., Feb. 1); "Fight Like an Animal" (Thurs., Feb. 4); "Stealth Fighters" (Thurs., Feb. 11); "Human Weapon" (Thurs. Feb. 19) and "Super Cops" (Thurs, Feb. 25). Bir says she is most excited about the "Super Cops" episode because it contains a lot of her research: "We pulled a lot of what I have done in the past in terms of evaluating body armor and less-lethal technology into the show."

In the episode, Fight Science invites SWAT officers to the lab to put police techniques and equipment through the ultimate stress test. Sensor-equipped dummies designed to respond like humans test the effects of less-than-lethal weapons including rubber bullets, water cannon and the stunt hand grenade known as the "flash bang," which emits a blinding light and loud noise.

Bir views Fight Science, as well as ESPN's Sport Science (for which she is also lead scientist), as an opportunity to make science appealing to a wide audience. "The fact that we are putting science out there in a cool and fun way is the best part," says Bir. "We need to get kids excited about science in any way that we can."