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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

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Scientist Spotlight: Kevin Grazier

 A recovering JPL rocket scientist, writer / producer Kevin Grazier is also currently the science advisor on TNT's Falling Skies, Syfy's upcoming epic Defiance, and the summer blockbuster Gravity.  In his spare time, he volunteers as a science consultant for The Exchange.  

Featured Entertainer: Nikki Levy

Nikki Levy grew up in New York and Eddie Murphy was her idol.  Now a Vice President of Wedge Works World Wide at Fox, she also acts on the side as part of her show Don’t Tell My Mother! where writers and performers share true stories they’d NEVER want their moms to know. 

Tell us about your background. What inspired you to want to make movies, and what led you to your current position at Wedge Works?

Scientist Spotlight: Jessica Brommelhoff

 “Science is magic that works.” From an early age, Jessica Brommelhoff, neuropsychology post-doctoral fellow at UCLA’s Semel Institute and Exchange consultant, was draw to science.  Explore her early inspiration, science in the movies, and alien hand syndrome.    

What drew you to science in general and to the study of the relationship between depression and dementia?

Scientist Spotlight: James Giordano

If you have been searching for new ways to manipulate the cognitive and decision-making abilities of an arch nemesis, look no further. James Giordano, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, shares about neuroethics, his eureka moment at 6 years old, and working with Hollywood.

Tell us about your background.   How does one become an expert on neuroethics?  By the way, what is neuroethics?  Can you tell us a little about the research that’s being conducted in your field?

Featured Entertainer: Jon Amiel

Dream huge. Dare more. From watching classic movies in his youth to directing his first movie in his late 30s, filmmaker Jon Amiel shares what inspires him and talks about science in the movies.

Tell us about your background. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Scientist Spotlight: Aaron Blaisdell

Practitioners of science and fiction are both in the business of exploring the question “what if?” For a scientist the question is a hypothesis to be tested, for the fiction storyteller the question is explored in the medium of film or writing. UCLA psychology associate professor and Exchange consultant Aaron Blaisdell takes us on an adventure of animal behavior, what inspires him, and the value of a great story.

Tell us about your background. What inspired you to become an expert on animal behavior? Why is it important to study animal behavior?

Under The Microscope: Covert Affairs

Kevin Crowley admits it is a struggle to express things in layman’s terms due to primarily working in scientific environments where shorthand technical terms are the norm, but he was more than happy to help the writers of USA Network’s Covert Affairs. Covert Affairs is a one-hour spy drama television series with writers Chris Ord and Matt Corman at the helm.

Scientist Spotlight: Paul Weiss

Interested in science from an early age, Paul Weiss’ interest in chemistry started with a bang. His advice to the next generation is to find something that you enjoy so much that you cannot wait to get up in the morning to get going.  He’s the director of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, home of The Exchange. 

Tell us about your background. Were you interested in science as a kid?

Under the Microscope: Terra Nova

Sometimes science isn’t the solution. That’s the reality of science consulting and something Kevin Grazier, Planetary Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and one of The Exchange’s consultants, knows well. “Until a story starts shooting, and often times even after, the script is a living document,” he explained. “Over time, different story elements can either increase or wane in their importance.”

Under the Microscope: Fringe

How much science can you fit into an hour-long television show? When you talk to Glen Whitman and Rob Chiappetta, executive story editors on the hit Fox series Fringe, it almost seems like the answer is “an unlimited amount.” Science seems to be crammed into every nook and cranny of Fringe, so much, in fact, that Fox offers high school lesson plans that explore the science of specific episodes.

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