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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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3-D: Seeing It From All Sides

3-D Conversion of Movie Poster by 3-D Revolution Productions.It seems 3-D technology is everywhere these days. From 3-D films to 3-D television sets, the technology appears to be catching on as the latest entertainment craze. But you might be surprised to learn 3-D technology was pioneered in the early 1900s. The first 3-D film, The Power of Love, was shown in 1922, nearly 88 years ago. Remarkable, right? 

Science: As Easy a Riding a Bike

What is your first memory of science? If your first thought is a classroom, think farther back. What about a visit to an aquarium or a zoo? Or the first time your parents explained why or how something works? Think back to your Easy-Bake Oven – chemistry! – or collecting fireflies – biology! – and you’ll start to see the hidden signs of science all around you.

Sport Science: There’s a lesson behind every play

Who is better at hitting a target’s bull’s-eye? Super Bowl–winning quarterback Drew Brees or an Olympic archery competitor? The answer will probably surprise you.

Monday’s collegiate championship game featured lots of action on the basketball court. But none of those actions included a player breaking a backboard with a dunk shot. Not long ago a shattered backboard brought an extra element of excitement to the game, but is that now a thing of the past? Believe it or not, a piano helps determine the answer to that question, and not in a musical way.

Cooking Up Science

If you’ve ever watched Bravo’s Top Chef or any show on the Food Network, you know cooking is an art form. It’s a dance in the kitchen, a painting on a plate – it’s making the mere sight of food part of the joy of eating. And if you’ve ever tried your hand at a recipe and something went horribly, horribly wrong, you know cooking is a science. Well, now there’s a new television show that brings together the art and science of cooking: Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen.

The Kiss

Eyes meet as both characters move in. After an hour of longing, flirting, fighting, and reconciliation—of which you’ve spent the last 20 minutes on the edge of your seat—it happens…. That out-of-the-ballpark, incredibly satisfying, perfect first kiss. Fireworks ensue.

It’s the stuff of movie magic, the moment we’re always waiting for, and the climax of every great love story. Even when we know it’s coming, we still feel exhilarated watching two characters we care about finally lock lips. And fortunately, the feelings associated are not a cinematic special effect or the result of mood lighting set to a romantic score. When there’s real chemistry involved, the right kiss can be even more spectacular than the movies portray, thanks to a cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters that course through our brains and bodies as a result.

The unlikely suspect: How geophysics revolutionized the recording industry

Chances are, when you think of Cher, the iconic recording artist, you also think of geophysics. Okay, maybe you don’t. But you should. Cher and geophysics revolutionized the recording industry – together.

It started in 1998, when Cher released her single “Believe.” The song was a major success, sitting at #1 on the Billboard charts for four straight weeks. It also featured a new, and peculiar, effect on Cher’s vocals: at key moments, her voice wobbled uncontrollably, like a robot attempting karaoke. The description sounds cringe-inducing, but combined with the song’s fast-paced beat, it sounds, well, good. Good enough to be adopted by Madonna, Janet Jackson – even rappers T. Pain and Kanye West. The “Cher effect” (as it became known) was soon a staple of the recording industry, a distortion process reinvented as an artistic choice.

Science of Iron Man 2

The Science of Iron Man 2" was held on October 13th, 2010 at CaltechSuperheroes aren’t the likeliest scientists, but according to Caltech physicist Mark Wise, Tony Stark’s science is accurate. During “The Science of Iron Man 2,” a panel presented by The Exchange and Caltech, Wise pointed to an extended scene from the Iron Man 2 Blu-ray as a depiction of hard science. The scene, which Wise consulted on, depicts Tony Stark building a particle accelerator from scratch. Wise gave the scene an “A” for scientific accuracy, stating “That could be a real accelerator.”

Tony Stark's Science

If you're one of the millions of people who flocked to the cinema this weekend to see Iron Man 2, you're no doubt wondering how much of the plot is based in fact, and how much is pure science fiction.

The Technology Behind 'Minority Report'

Audiences flocked to to the futuristic thriller Minority Report when it debuted in 2002, impressed not just with thefilm noir mystery, but also the visually stunning futuristic world depicted onscreen. So naturally there was a packed house at the Hammer Museum on April 22 to hear a talk called "Beautiful Tools" by artist/scientist John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries -- part of a series of lectures sponsored by 5D on the future of immersive design. Underkoffler (who is an advisory board member of the Science & Entertainment Exchange) consulted on Minority Report, and drew on some of his own groundbreaking research at MIT while doing so. (He's also consulted on The Hulk, Aeon Flux, Stranger Than Fiction, and Iron Man.)

Zap! Or, Where Would Science Fiction Be Without Lasers?

It’s hard to believe, but 2010 is the 50th anniversary of the laser. In 1960, Theodore Maiman, at the Hughes Research Labs in California, first applied a 40 year-old theoretical insight from Einstein to produce an intense beam of red light from a chunk of solid ruby. Einstein’s idea was used in the 1950s to make powerful microwaves with a device called a maser, for “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” When Maiman similarly made visible light, his device became the laser, with “light” replacing “microwave.”

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