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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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Prospecting Potter

When we tell you that there are teaching moments in every film that could get a conversation started about science, we really do mean every film. We can prove it too. We’re not afraid to put our money where our mouth is: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here’s a film about magic that takes place in a fantastical land where anything seems possible and Muggle science feels misguided and trivial… or so you thought.

Inspiration in Ice

With Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs hitting theaters this weekend, we have a good example of a film that may play fast and loose with reality, but nonetheless serves to inspire kids to think about science. 

Smashing the Stereotypes

There is a scene that takes place at a math tournament in the 2004 film Mean Girls wherein each team must pick the weakest member from the other team to compete in a tie-breaking “sudden death” round. The boys on one team don’t even need to mull it over: they automatically pick the token female on the opposing team – because everyone knows girls aren’t as good as boys at math. Right?

Goodnight Moon

Last week saw the release of the science fiction/thriller, Moon, starring Sam Rockwell as an astronaut named Sam Bell, who is wrapping up a three-year stint at a mining base on the moon operated by the fictional Lunar Industries. His only companion is a robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), whose facial "expressions" consist of emoticons displayed on a screen. Three weeks before he is scheduled to return home to his wife and three-year-old daughter, Sam discovers that everything at his cozy lunar base is not what it appears to be. Or is the isolation finally messing with his sanity?

Poetry in Motion

What do Happy Feet, Polar Express, the Lord of the Ringstrilogy, Beowulf, and The Strange Case of Benjamin Button have in common? They are all films that employ the latest advances in motion capture technology -- or rather, what was cutting-edge in motion capture back in 2007, when those films were first being made. Scientists continue to come up with breakthrough technologies to make Hollywood's special effects even more magically convincing.

Ripped From the Headlines! (Of Scientific Journals)

There’s one scientific question that rivals all others. Okay, it may be more a philosophical dilemma than a scientific one, but it has kept scientists and thinkers, the world round, busy for millennia. Apparently, it pits Stephen Hawking against Aristotle, if you believe Wikipedia. To know the answer would be to understand existence. I am talking, of course, about the question of the chicken and the egg. Which came first?

The Science of the Hangover

Ah, the hangover. Most of us have had one of these at one time or another after sucking down one too many at a bar or party. But what is this miserable reminder of the dangers of excess and what might we do (besides the most obvious solution: easing up on the sauce) to avoid this unfortunate consequence? With The Hangover’s strong showing at the box office over the weekend, we thought it might be an interesting to look at the science of the hangover.

Where Have All The Good Bees Gone

In November of 2007, Jerry Seinfeld lent his multitude of talents to Bee Movie, in which he played a young bee, wanting more in his life than the dull drone of the hive. Striking out on his own, his spunky character had a series of misadventures including an unlikely relationship with Renee Zellweger. As it turns out, in the real world, worker bees are leaving their homesteads in America at an alarming rate.

Going Up!

Pixar's new movie, UP, raked in a healthy $68 million in ticket sales over the weekend, and seems poised to be another hit for the Oscar-winning animation studio. It's the tale of an elderly curmudgeon named Carl Frederikson (voiced by Ed Asner) who decides to get away from it all via a unique mechanism: he strings an enormous bunch of helium-filled balloons to his house, lifting it high into the air.

Follow the Evidence

The hit TV series C.S.I. coined the catchphrase "follow the evidence," and its popularity helped significantly boost the number of young people keen on studying forensics as a career. But a report by the National Academy of Sciences released earlier this year concluded it was time to put a bit more science in forensic science. (h/t: 3 Quarks Daily)

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