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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: Gerry Griffin

Gerry Griffin is not only a pioneer in human space flight, he is also an actor. The former director of the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston starred in both Contact and Deep Impact as a mission control team member. Off-screen, Griffin starred as the technical advisor for both films, not to mention his work on Apollo 13 and the recently released science-fiction thriller Apollo 18.

Scientist Spotlight: David Epstein

His day job may not be nearly as dramatic as it is portrayed on television and film, but as David Epstein, MD, explains, the non-fiction version of the medical field is still intriguing. Which is why Epstein brings his knowledge to the small and silver screen as a consultant for The Exchange. We caught up with him recently to ask him a few questions about his background in pediatrics, what his average workday looks like, and what, if any, similarities exist between fictional medicine and real medicine.

Scientist Spotlight: Seth Shostak

The Exchange’s science consultants never cease to amaze – and not just in their vast knowledge of science. Take Seth Shostak, for example. The Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute has been in love with astronomy since the age of 8, but he also harbors a strong interest in television and film – which explains his guest appearances on The Dating Game!

Scientist Spotlight: Sidney Perkowitz

Physicist Sidney Perkowitz has a long, and impressive, résumé. The Charles Howard Candler Professor of Physics at Emory University is not only the published author of more than 100 scientific papers, he is also the author of four popular science books, (with the fifth to be available in August 2011) a playwright, an Advisory Board member for the Exchange, and, hilariously enough, a YouTube star. Where does he find the time?

Scientist Spotlight: Steven Schlozman

BRRRAAAAINS!!! Steven Schlozman, M.D. isn’t a zombie but he is hungry for brains – zombie brains! An Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Schlozman never dreamed his career would lead to exploring zombie physiology. As luck would have it, a local movie theatre asked Schlozman to give a lecture after a film, leaving the decision of what film up to him. He chose Night of the Living Dead and the rest is history!

Scientist Spotlight: James Kakalios

Sure, we all wish we had superpowers at one time or another, but do we have any clue how to make those superpowers work in the real world? Well have no fear, physicist James Kakalios is here! The University of Minnesota professor, author of The Physics of Superheroes, and Exchange consultant has consulted on not one but three superhero films, including Watchmen, Green Lantern, and a project he can’t tell you about just yet. But what he can tell you is in the interview below.

Scientist Spotlight: May Berenbaum

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … giant flying beetle? This summer’s blockbusters might be all about superheroes but let’s not forget one of the original hallmarks of science-fiction films: insects. Entomologist and Exchange consultant May Berenbaum knows all about insects’ cinematic achievements. Each year, she organizes the Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which highlights the best of Hollywood’s creepy crawlers.

Scientist Spotlight: Ricardo Gil da Costa

As part of the “rapid response” team for the hit TV show Fringe, neurobiologist Ricardo Gil da Costa is “on call” to answer questions for the science-curious Fringe writers. Not an easy task when you’re also researching neuroscience and biology in your laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies – but Ricardo pulls it off with ease. Since joining The Exchange as a science consultant in 2008, he’s consulted on Fringe, as well as a number of film and TV projects to be announced.

Featured Engineer: Malcolm MacIver

Philosophy, robotic fish, Cylons, and a theory on the emergence of consciousness – it’s impossible to be bored when you’re talking to Malcolm MacIver, bioengineer and Science & Entertainment Exchange (The Exchange) consultant. As an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at Northwestern University, MacIver analyzes animal behavior and nervous systems to build better robots (like the robotic ghost knifefish).

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