Learning with Laughter: Late Night Talk Shows & Science

Where do you get your daily dose of science? Online? Reading a magazine or newspaper? From a comedian?

If that last suggestion sounded a bit off, trust us, it’s not. David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert – these are the comedians who keep you laughing late into the night. And every so often, they are the comedians entertaining you with science.

Because Dreams Need Doing

What does an engineer do? If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer, you aren’t alone. In a study of K-12 graders, the majority believed engineers build buildings and fix cars; 10% of the students confused engineers with train operators. Another study asked teachers “What kinds of work do engineers do for their jobs?” Between 25 and 35% of the surveyed teachers selected clean teeth, arrange flowers, sell food and make pizza.

The studies’ results are startling, but what does this have to do with film? The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recently launched a new website (www.engineeringmessages.org) devoted to changing the conversation about engineering. The NAE worked with a market research and brand development company to create new messages and taglines that challenge common misperceptions of engineering. Which got us thinking, what films support positive messages about engineering?

Film in 2011: Robots, Aliens, Heroes and Everything Else You Could Ever Want

In 2011, aliens will invade, robots will battle for the moon, and superheroes will save us. No, we aren’t predicting the end of the world. We’re talking movies! The silver screen in 2011 will be buzzing with science-fiction plots and comic book heroes.

Girls Just Want to Have Sums: Mathematically-Gifted Women in Television/Film

Girls just want to have sums. Or is it fun? Actually, why can’t it be both? Stereotypes plague math – difficult, boring - and girls who love math – they don’t exist. But several female television and film characters are defying both stereotypes.