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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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Model Transformers

Variety and oi9 have both posted articles in the last few days about the unique relationship between the film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Updating Those Classic Science Fiction Films

Hi everybody. This is my first posting here, and I’m excited to write about science in film, a topic important for both scientists and film people. I’m a physicist who’s also a lifelong science fiction and movie fan. That helped when I wrote a book about science in film called Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, & the End of the World. In the process I watched a lot of films and that has given me plenty to write about. 

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.

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)

Science Channel Goes to the Movies

There's a lot of science that goes on behind the scenes of film and television, not just what appears on-screen. Earlier this year, the National Academy of Science's Science and Entertainment Exchange assisted the producers of a new Discovery/Science Channel series called Science of the Movies with finding scientists in a wide range of fields to explore what goes into making a blockbuster movie or hit TV series.

Science Fiction and Future Predictions

With Terminator Salvation - a film on which The Science & Entertainment Exchange did a consult - hitting theaters this weekend, it’s hard not to get excited about watching John Connor staving off the impending destruction of humanity in the fourth installment of the franchise. But, let's not completely take this action film at face-value. The latest Terminator movie releases in a very different era than did its predecessors. Starting in 2007, robots actually did start carrying guns in Iraq. More and more, we are outsourcing risky combat assignments to machines.

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