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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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To Mars and Beyond

'Twas the evening of Mars, with experts discussing space exploratory clout, as Hollywood and science met, at the SoHo House.

The Science & Entertainment Exchange met at the beautiful SoHo House in West Hollywood, for an affable evening of science and conversation.

Acclaimed scientists and Hollywood’s elite attended the event held above the twinkling City of Stars. Yet, as the night drew on another luminous region was explored - Space.

A visit to Mars may no longer be science-fiction. According to Phil Plait, author and astronomer, as well as Jennifer Trosper, JPL’s Mars Mission Manager, the journey to our neighboring planet is more like science-reality

Body Hacking: Exploring The Quantified Self

"You have walked 3,343 steps today," according to the FitBit Flex around your wrist. But why do you feel so sluggish? A quick peek at your daily data suggests that it could be due to your 10 periods of restlessness the night before. 

The Quantified Self movement elicits a vision of futuristic self improvements that would allow us unprecedented access to our own daily "data" in ways that we have never had before. 

Stories From Google New York

A treasure hidden in plain view, the expansive Google New York building engulfs an entire square block of the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. But, while the building is hard to miss, gaining access to what lies within those four concrete walls is a much more difficult feat. 

On the surface, the 2,900,000 square foot building boasts all of the amenities that we have come to expect of a Google campus. Free artisan snacks stand beside your corner store favorites in micro-kitchens, chill pods can be found behind hidden walls, and a healthy dose of whimsy runs throughout it all. 

Dive Into the Ocean and Learn the Secrets of the Brain

The Exchange played cruise director for a diverse group of entertainers who gathered together in La Jolla, California, to tour the Salk Institute of Biological Studies and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Among their ranks were producers, writers, directors, and educators who came together to learn about the newest and most exciting scientific innovations that southern California has to offer.

The group was split in two after breakfast. Much like a movie where twins are separated at birth, both groups went on similar tours throughout the day, mirroring the other’s experience. While one group toured the Salk Institute, the other half went to explore what lies deep below the ocean surface.

At the Salk Institute, head scientist, Ricardo Gil da Costa, led the group around the expansive and beautiful campus that is perched right on the shoreline. Established in 1959 by Jonas Salk, the Salk Institute boasts an impressive array of scientific innovations. 

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.   

Hollywood: Through The Google Glass

Imagine taking the ultimate leap of faith, jumping out of an airplane with only a parachute to regulate your fall. Now, imagine that your descent could be captured on film, from your exact point of view. 

We'll let you in on a little secret, it’s possible.

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

Event Recap: Losing Control

What happens when a scientist becomes a filmmaker? In the case of Valerie Weiss, a filmmaker with a Ph.D. in Biophysics, she finds herself “losing control.” Weiss’s film Losing Control is a quirky romantic comedy about a female scientist who needs empirical proof that her boyfriend is “the one.” The film was viewed at a special advanced screening on October 25, 2011, at the E Street Cinema in Washington, DC, courtesy of The Exchange and the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS). A thought-provoking discussion of the film’s portrayal of science, scientists, and the general topic of women in science followed the screening, featuring Weiss; actor John Billingsley; two female scientists, Barbara Arial Cohen and Leslie Zebrowitz; and moderator Anne-Marie Mazza, director of the Science, Technology, and Law (STL) Program at the National Academies. 

Event Recap: Flatliners and The Science of Near-Death

Is there an afterlife? In the 1990 thriller Flatliners, five medical students attempt to find the answer through near-death experiences. Four of the students undergo a process of death (“flatlining”) and resuscitation. The film is a dark meditation on what happens when the living try to navigate the space between life and death, as the students’ past sins are brought back to haunt them. 

The film, director Joel Schumacher stated at a screening at the Imagine Science Film Festival on October 19, is about amends. The characters, he pointed out, need to find grace, like Kevin Bacon’s character who apologizes to a woman he taunted in grade school. Joining Schumacher for a panel discussion of the film and the science of death were moderator Jad Abumrad, RadioLab host; Benjamin Abella, MD, from the Center for Resuscitation Science; and Christian Macedonia, MD, a U.S. Army surgeon. 

Event Recap: Bioterrorism, Science & Security

In 1993, bioterrorists in Japan attempted an aerosol dissemination of B. anthrasis, the Anthrax pathogen. But Japanese authorities did not discover the attack until 1999. After neighbors reported a foul, gassy substance spewing from a nearby building, samples of the substance were collected… then stored in a lab until 1999. Cultures of the substance revealed it to be B. anthrasis, but thankfully, it was also revealed to be the vaccine strain, which is harmless to humans. Still, the scenario is frightening. “Here is an instance where an organization had the resources and the expertise, and utilized them,” said Stephen Pagagiotas, a Public Health/Emergency Coordinator with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and one of four speakers at The Exchange’s “Bioterrorism: Science & Security” event in Los Angeles.

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