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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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Time Flies: The Psychology of Time

It’s almost time for another year to roll around, and with the New Year right around the corner, this is a great time to talk about time. Maybe 2011 went by in a flash for you or maybe it dragged on slowly – but have you ever stopped to wonder why time can feel as though it’s sped up or slowed down? 

The Exchange December Update: Look What We've Been Up To!

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The season of giving is upon us, and in the spirit of the holidays we would like to thank our volunteer consultants who give their knowledge and time to The Exchange. As screenwriter Samantha Corbin-Miller put it:

The Exchange has proven to be an invaluable resource for me as a writer. I am constantly blown away by their ability to find knowledgeable, engaging medical professionals who are willing to take time out from their life-saving work to help make my scripts more authentic and accurate.

- Samantha Corbin-Miller, Writer/Producer

Creative Science

Imagine you’ve been working on a problem for days, maybe even weeks, but you can’t seem to figure it out. Your brain is working over solutions constantly but you feel stumped. So, you take a break. You walk down the street to the nearest coffee shop but as you’re walking home, sipping your drink and watching cars drive by, the solution rushes into your brain. That’s it!

Holiday Gift Guide for Science-Lovers

It’s that time of year again, and if you’re scratching your head without a clue as to what to get that science-loving person on your list, have no fear! The Exchange has rounded up some gift ideas perfect for that chemistry student, physics professor, or your favorite science consultant (hint, hint). This year, The Exchange staff will be rocking “Stand Back, I’m Going to Try Science” t-shirts, trimming our office space with Petri dish ornaments and sipping hot cocoa out of a caffeine molecule mug. From mathematicians to physicists, we’ve got a gift idea for everyone. Plus, if you're in the Washington, DC area, you can stop by the National Academies bookstore for an Einstein finger puppet or virus necktie! Let us know which science-themed gift you’d love to get this holiday season in the comments!

Light-Up Neurons Are Fireworks in Your Brain

File this under “science we’d love to see onscreen.” Researchers at Harvard University genetically altered neurons to light up as they fire. Imagine, for a minute, your brain covered in bursts of light, like a fireworks show under your skull. 

The researchers altered brain cells with a virus containing a gene from a Dead Sea organism. The gene produces a protein that, when exposed to an electrical signal, fluoresces. The virus introduces the gene to the brain cells, which are cultured in a lab, causing the cells to produce the protein, which lights up as the neurons fire.

Scientific Movement: The Art of Science and Dance

It is time to put your dancing shoes on, get on the dance floor, and pretend to be a hydrogen atom. Or would you rather be a carbon atom? Those were the two choices at the 1939 American Chemical Society meeting in Baltimore where a group of Maryland chemists decided to stage a “chemical ballet.” The performance told the story of a scientist who tries to synthesize radioactive benzene from acetylene with the aid of an atom-smasher complete with four hydrogen atom dancers, two carbon atom dancers, and the dance of ethyl alcohol. You cannot deny the allure of dancing atoms, which is perhaps why science and dance tend to collaborate. 

"The Matter of Origins" performed by Dance Exchange.

Gaming for Science Solutions

Gamers, we have a solution for anyone who nags you about the hours you spend glued to your computer or TV screen. Just tell them, “It’s for science!” Okay, maybe that tactic is far-fetched for World of Warcraft or Call of Duty, but if you are playing Foldit, an online game where players compete to build protein structures, you might be legitimately contributing to science.

Science Helps You Cook the Perfect Turkey

Let’s talk turkey, science lovers. We’ve already showed you how to incorporate science into Halloween but now it’s time to “science up” Thanksgiving. No, we are not suggesting something along the lines of Schrodinger’s Turkey. Instead, we’ve rounded up ideas on how to cook the big, tasty bird with the help of chemistry!

Whether you are a fan of dark meat or light meat, you have to agree that turkey is delicious – and not easy to cook. How many movies and TV episodes feature a turkey mishap? More than we can count. Think of the turkey burning to a crisp when the Friends gang accidentally locked themselves out of the apartment, or the shuffling of the turkey from oven to oven in 2003’s Pieces of April. The bird is the word, and you can't have it run “afowl.”

The Exchange November Update: Look What We've Been Up To!

While the weather is turning cooler outside, business is hot at The Exchange! We completed our 350th consult in September, and we are quickly moving toward number 400. As art director François Audouy put it:

"It was a wonderful resource to have access to top scientists provided by The Exchange on Green Lantern. Always a pleasure for me, and Green Lantern was no exception. I hope we can find another opportunity on a future film.

— François Audouy, Art Director, Green Lantern

Thanks to everyone who continues to use our services and of course a HUGE thank you to our volunteer consultants – we could not do it without you!

National Academy of Sciences Awards GameDesk $225,000 Grant

National Academy of Sciences Awards GameDesk $225,000 Grant to Develop Science Based Interactive Game for Classrooms

As part of its Science & Entertainment Exchange, the National Academy of Sciences today announced that the GameDesk Institute will be awarded $225,000 to develop its Science in Motion project, an "embodied" game that provides a learning experience that actively engages students physically and mentally in difficult science topics.