Blog Category

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

Science in TV/Film

Subscribe to Science in TV/Film

Hollywood Inspired Science

While Hollywood has been known to use ideas from the great minds of science as a springboard for its storytelling, scientists have also been enlivened by what they have seen on screen to think about their research in different ways.

"Movies blow the lid off of imagination and creativity and we need to do this in science," says Steve Ramirez, a neuroscientist and junior fellow at Harvard University.

Ramirez explains that many of the ideas that he explores in his research have been influenced by films that he watched. "I really love Chris Nolan movies, specifically, Inception," says Ramirez. "At the movie's core, Nolan is really asking a neuroscience question: How do we alter the contents of a memory?"

Marvel's THOR: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure Takes STEM to Hollywood

Superheroes, a movie premier, science, and Natalie Portman – four things that make our teenage hearts swoon! And that’s exactly the reaction we were looking for when we teamed up with the brilliant minds at Marvel, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), Dolby Laboratories, and Girl Scouts USA, to roll out Marvel’s THOR: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure! 

Marvel’s THOR: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure aims to empower high school aged girls to discover their vast potential in the world of STEM. Throughout the adventure we hope to excite, inspire and reveal the exciting possibilities that a career in a STEM field holds. Girls will have a chance to ask successful women in STEM fields about what they do, how they got where they are…and how others can follow in their footsteps.

Watch My Shorts

Installment 1: Accidental Painting, Flatland: the Movie, and Flatland 2: Sphereland

People love science fiction and Hollywood loves the piles of money these films make. The record holder for worldwide box office proceeds among all films is James Cameron’s science fiction epic Avatar (2009), coming in at a cool $2.8 billion. Other science fiction films have also done well. When paired with the related category of superhero films, the science fiction genre makes up nearly a third of the 60 all-time highest grossing movies, with The Hunger Games (2012) number 60 at $691 million.

Plextronics - Is The Next Big Thing Flat?

What’s the next big thing in light?  Well, it just may be an array of products that will revolutionize the way we look at our phones and even how we watch television. The innovative new products will use an energy efficient technology that’s a perfect example of what can go right when academia, industry, and the government collaborate.

Opinion Exchange: The Best show You’re Probably Not Watching

If you watch nothing else on television – not that I recommend that you do that – you should be watching CBS Sunday Morning.  This long-running series – it’s been on the air nearly 35 years -- even won an Emmy a few weeks ago for outstanding morning program, an award long overdue, in my opinion.

Science Rules on Big Brother 14

Can studying science help win a TV reality show competition?  Just ask Ian Terry.  We did. 

Ian Terry spent last summer being watched by millions on TV; that was enough to put him on our list of notable scientists even though he’s not quite finished with school.

Big Brother, a worldwide phenomenon, and a staple of summer television on CBS for more than a decade, will premiere June 26, its 15th season.  So, now is a good time to catch up with Ian Terry, last year’s surprise winner of the show.  

How a Drawing Could Cure Cancer: Physics Diagrams as Modern Hieroglyphs

If you’re a fan of the TV series, The Big Bang Theory you're probably used to laughing at Penny and Sheldon's interactions, especially when Dr. Cooper tries to explain physics to his loveable blonde neighbor.
One such instance is captured in the picture below.  If you look at it, you could easily imagine Sheldon saying something like: “See, Penny, this equation accounts for the branching ratio of a top quark decaying into a W boson and bottom quark, as depicted by the upper-left diagram.”

Do you think Sheldon took up drawing simply so he could flirt with Penny?

To The Moon and Beyond, We Are The Explorers

What do you get when you mix NASA, Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, historical footage, a group of passionate advocates and a crowdfunding campaign? Most likely, a really fantastic 30 second clip that will now be shown across the country.

The Aerospace Industries Association first set out to raise enough money to pay for the clip to air before Star Trek Into Darkness in a few select major markets. When they were greeted with unexpected enthusiasm and generosity, they soon set their sights on a bigger goal, 50 cities across the country.

Dan Hendrickson, of AIA, was at the helm of this innovative campaign, see what he has to say about the project and the future of space exploration!

Story Behind The Story: Argo

Unusual tales in Hollywood usually aren’t so unusual.  But this particular story caught our attention because it’s about science; it’s about entertainment; and, most of all, it’s unusual.

The story begins with the highly successful movie Argo, the darling of the award show circuit, eventually winning the Oscar for best picture of 2012.  

For those who haven’t seen it, Argo takes the audience through the steps leading up to the daring rescue of diplomats trapped in Iran after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979.   Most of us weren’t aware of this footnote in recent history, including the imagination and heroism of CIA operative Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck in the movie. That was, until Mr. Affleck made Argo.  

De-extinction: Bringing Back the Dodo?

Science fiction fans and movie-goers might be counting down the days until the 3D re-release of Jurrassic Park hits theaters on April 5th, but scientists and conservationists are now counting the ways that they could make the movie’s premise – in which the DNA of dinosaurs’ blood is preserved in a mosquito fossilized in amber – come to life.

It’s called “de-extinction,” and it already happened for the first time ten years ago. 

When the last bucardo, a subspecies of the Spanish Ibex, died in 2000, it would be natural to believe that this was the end of the species. But thanks to an intrepid group of wildlife veterinarians, the DNA from the last remaining burcado, a female named Celia, had already been preserved.