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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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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.

Event Recap: A Night of Total Destruction

Bringing about the apocalypse is easier than you think.

On April 4, The Exchange hosted A Night of Total Destruction at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. The event brought together four leading experts and a packed audience of filmmakers to discuss a variety of exciting (but very real) ways to trigger the end of our civilization. Of course, for filmmaking purposes only.

Jon Spaihts (writer of The Darkest Hour and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus) led an evening of lively, entertaining, yet thoroughly unnerving, discussions on topics ranging from neuro-weapons that can influence the human brain to the imminent danger we face with natural disasters.

Five Things That Surprised Me Most About Being A Hollywood Boundary Spanner (Nee Science Adviser) Part 2

In Part 1, Kevin Grazier shared three of his top surprises about being a science adviser in Hollywood.  Let the conversation continue --

Whenever I do a public talk/panel/convention, it is almost a certainty that I will be asked, “So how does your job work? You just get a script and tell them what they did wrong?” It is nearly always phrased that way, or quite similar, every time. It’s true that for episodes for which I was not included from the onset, I receive a copy of the script and a window of time in which I can submit notes to the writers and showrunners. But if all I did was point out what was wrong, what purpose would that serve? Let’s use a real example from the last season of Eureka.

Five Things that Surprised Me Most About Being a Hollywood Boundary Spanner (Nee Science Adviser)- Part 1

I found out moments ago that my boss on Eureka, Executive Producer and co-creator Jaime Paglia, delivered our final episode to the network within the past hour. Everybody involved with the show is disappointed, feeling the series ended a little early, but nevertheless it was a fantastic run of five seasons.

All About the Science

The internet is buzzing over the trailer for War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film about a horse sold to the cavalry during World War I. Here at The Exchange, we’re excited Spielberg is (once again) filming a movie with science. No, we aren’t talking about engineering weapons, the physics of warfare or the trajectories of bullets in a battlefield – it’s the horse that caught our attention.

Small Town Science

The Science and Entertainment Exchange found itself in Berkeley last week for Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's first-ever Science Cafe. The event featured Jaime Paglia, co-creator and showrunner for SyFy's hit TV series, Eureka, with a special Skype appearance by Colin Ferguson, who plays Sheriff Jack Carter on the show.

If There Were No Science Consultants...

Watching the latest episode of House last night, we were struck by the impressive use of medical terminology throughout. It reminded us of just how hard writers and their staff on such shows work to bring plausibility to their fictional world. Sure, people love to joke about the constant parade of obscure, rare diseases encountered by House and his cohorts, and how the disease of the week never seems to be lupus, but the writers have certainly done their homework.

If you're wondering what House, Grey's Anatomy, Mercy, orTrauma would be like without that army of staffers and science consultants, check out this hilarious sketch by British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb:

I Would Like to Thank the Academy - Squared!

It began, as do many tales of travel, adventure, and triumph, with a librarian.

In June 2007, I was in Denver for the national meeting of the Special Librarians Association, to give a talk on my efforts using superhero comic books to teach physics. There I met a librarian from the National Academy of Sciences. Upon returning to DC, she passed my name along to Ann Merchant, who was in the early stages of setting up The Science & Entertainment Exchange program.

I Have Another Idea

Well, The Science & Entertainment Exchange has been up and running for almost a year now. And so far, The Exchange has done a remarkable job of connecting the great minds of science with the great minds of TV and film! Of course, that “great minds of TV and film” list isn’t exactly phonebook length. So having pretty much exhausted that pool, The Exchange has now begun pairing brilliant scientists with the “reasonably competent” minds of TV and film, and will soon move on to the “mildly unstable” minds of TV and film. Or so they’ve promised me.

A Response to Jerry

Well Jerry, you’ve done it again. And not just in bringing to light Jessica Alba’s groundbreaking work, most of which was conducted in between takes on Fantastic Four 2: the search for a spin-off. No, what you have proposed is much bigger than Miss Alba’s theories into time and space. Using the fool-proof Hollywood studio method of nurturing creativity and ingenuity and applying it to the science community? Brilliant! I was such a fan of this idea that after reading your blog I quickly jumped in my car, made sure my precious dogs were strapped in, remembered I had forgotten my BlackBerry, hurried to my office only stopping off at the gym, the coffee shop on Montana Avenue, a few boutiques, a breakfast meeting at Urth Café, back to the gym to see if my BlackBerry was there (it wasn’t), then to my office. There was no time to spare; I was inspired and my work was about to begin. As soon as I could find my blackberry that is!

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