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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

Science in TV/Film

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Valentine's Day Science Showdown: Gift Edition

February 14, 2013 – We’ve all been there, standing in front of a Valentine’s Day display at the shop on the corner, you can feel a cold sweat coming on. The barrage of pink and red is almost too much for your brain to process! You have to make it out of this situation with the perfect gift for your valentine, and of course, you’ve waited until the last possible second to pick something up. The candy seems too sweet. What happens if they have an aversion to nougat? A giant card, perhaps? You decide against it after picturing yourself lugging it home on the bus, plus, it would be too hard to get it past the front door without detection. 

Imagine Science Film Festival: A Marriage of Science and Film

“The most unremarkable of events: Jerome Marrow, Navigator First class, is only days away from a year-long manned mission to Titan. Of course, selection for Jerome was virtually guaranteed at birth.
He is blessed with all the physical and intellectual gifts required for such an arduous undertaking, a genetic quotient second to none. 
No, there is truly nothing remarkable about the progress of Jerome Morrow, except that I am not Jerome Morrow.”
- Gattaca 

The movie Gattaca can easily be classified as one of the best movies to come out of the 1990’s, or at least it can be in the circles we run in. Gattaca pairs an original storyline, a compelling cast of characters and pervasive science themes to create a wonderful marriage of futuristic science principles and entertaining cinema.   

When the far-fetched is no longer fantasy

Back to the Future Part II crashed into our lives almost 23 years ago, complete with hoverboards, facial recognition software, and a baseball team based in Miami.       Back to the Future, Part II Movie Poster

With 2015 not far off on the proverbial horizon, we thought we’d take a look at what Back to the Future Part II got right, and what has not quite made its way into our cultural lexicon.

Event Recap: Medical Miracles: Cutting Edge Health Technology

From cell phone apps that measure blood sugar levels to desktop printers that spit out new body organs, technology has come a long way in its role in health care. On July 25, The Science and Entertainment Exchange hosted Medical Miracles: Cutting Edge Health Technology at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. The evening, which was moderated by humorist and radio commentator Emily Levine, looked at some astonishing recent breakthroughs in medicine that could one day help us all live longer.

Medical Miracles panel: Anthony Atala, Leslie Saxon, Emily Levine, Paul Weiss and Ken Kamler

Representing Robots: Theater First, Film Later

When I made a list of the all-time ten best science fiction films for my book Hollywood Science (2010), I was surprised to find that three of them feature artificial creatures: machine-like robots in Metropolis (1927) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and human-like androids in Blade Runner (1982). Artificial beings are big in other science fiction films too. A keyword search on “robot” in the Internet Movie Database yields hundreds of feature films, from The Master Mystery (1920) through Westworld (1973), RoboCop  (1987) and A. I. (2001) right up to Real Steel (2011) and this year’s Prometheus, with more in production.

Recap: The Science of Science Fiction: Canon Fodder

Phil Plait was the moderator (not shown), and from left to right are Jane Espenson, Kevin Grazier, Ashley Miller, Jaime Paglia, Jon Spaihts, and Zack Stentz.

Oh, Comic Con.

The San Diego Comic Con is the largest pop–culture (scif, fantasy, and so on) convention in America, and one of the largest in the world; over 130,000 people attend. It’s actually a madhouse, with a packed exhibit hall and hundreds of amazing panels and talks.

Space Tourism

Orange streaks of flame obscure the view outside the spacecraft’s small circular window.  Smoke wafts from behind control panels. Loose equipment bounces around the cabin at the thud of Earth impact.

These images, recorded by Richard Garriott from inside the Russian Soyuz TMA-12 capsule as it descended from orbit, feature prominently in Mike Woolf‘s documentary Man on a Mission. Released in January, the film includes about twenty minutes of zero-gravity footage captured by Garriott, who in 2008 became the sixth private citizen to visit the International Space Station. These scenes include eating with crewmates, shaving, juggling tennis balls and performing science experiments. Garriott also takes viewers on an end-to-end tour of the International Space Station from the research labs to crew quarters.

Robots! Aliens! Time travel! Superheroes! SCIENCE!

At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con we’re putting the Sci in SciFi with the return of the popular panel:

The Science of Science Fiction: Canon Fodder

Packed with the names behind some of the biggest science fiction hits in Hollywood and TV, the panel will explore the science behind movies and series including Thor, Eureka, Prometheus, and SyFy’s upcoming blockbuster series Defiance. Keeping the science straight in an ongoing series can be a nightmare for writers, so we’ve tapped some of the best to talk about how it’s done, and how to remain faithful to both reality and story mythology. We’ll be talking prequels, sequels, and creating good stories with good science from the ground up.

It must be true…I saw it in a movie

I can’t say I have a particular aptitude for science, or that I have had years of film experience, but I can proudly say that I was the catalyst for The Science & Entertainment Exchange, or rather my defective pancreas was. When I was eleven I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  It’s all a bit of a fog now, but I do know that that particular day changed my parents’ lives forever.  My parents, Jerry and Janet Zucker spent the first few months after I was diagnosed buying me presents and basically tending to my every need (it was awesome) but they soon realized that this wasn’t going to cure me, and would most likely turn me into a rather inept teenager. They immediately sprung into action and started Cures Now, a non-profit with the goal of finding cures for diseases through stem cell research.

“Anything Is Possible”….which might be the problem

There’s a saying that’s meant a lot to me for quite some time.

It’s nothing new, it doesn’t change your life when you hear it and it’s not a wise observation on the complexity of life or an enlightening insight into our culture.

It’s very simple.

“Anything Is Possible”

I love that saying probably more than any other. 

One of the first movies I remember seeing when I was young was Star Wars.  I was just a kid but I could still appreciate the enormity of the world Lucas created.  Of course I had no clue how he made that world come to life but neither did a lot of people in the room much older than me.  Suddenly, space seemed real, it seemed that this might actually be going on in a galaxy far, far away.   Space finally seemed possible.

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