Scientists didn’t exactly rejoice when The Big Bang Theory got picked up by CBS a few years ago. Actually, they probably weren’t paying attention and may still be unaware of the show’s existence, even though it’s now become a major hit for the network. During the three seasons Big Bang has been on the air, it’s been pretty easy to dismiss as just another silly TV show with no mission other than to entertain. Never mind that most people spend a lot of time being entertained by watching TV.
As a result, TV is where most people learn whatever it is they know about science. But not from watching PBS or one of the Discovery networks, which have relatively small audiences. They’re far more likely to be viewing entertainment programming, including sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory.
The annual PRISM Awards are given out by the Entertainment Industries Council to honor the creative community for accurate portrayals of substance abuse and mental health in entertainment. The list of supporters for this program and awards ceremony span over many of the top names in Washington and Hollywood and the event has been celebrating entertainment's ability to educate through art for the past fourteen years.
The Awards, held this year on April 22nd at the Beverly Hills Hotel, truly highlight film and television's ability to get it right and to teach. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi summed it up nicely when she praised, "[the PRISM awards recognize] imperative topics to explore creatively, and [the Entertainment Industries Council] have truly helped raise the consciousness of the American people."
Audiences flocked to to the futuristic thriller Minority Report when it debuted in 2002, impressed not just with thefilm noir mystery, but also the visually stunning futuristic world depicted onscreen. So naturally there was a packed house at the Hammer Museum on April 22 to hear a talk called "Beautiful Tools" by artist/scientist John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries -- part of a series of lectures sponsored by 5D on the future of immersive design. Underkoffler (who is an advisory board member of the Science & Entertainment Exchange) consulted on Minority Report, and drew on some of his own groundbreaking research at MIT while doing so. (He's also consulted on The Hulk, Aeon Flux, Stranger Than Fiction, and Iron Man.)