Science Rules on Big Brother 14

Can studying science help win a TV reality show competition?  Just ask Ian Terry.  We did. 

Ian Terry spent last summer being watched by millions on TV; that was enough to put him on our list of notable scientists even though he’s not quite finished with school.

Big Brother, a worldwide phenomenon, and a staple of summer television on CBS for more than a decade, will premiere June 26, its 15th season.  So, now is a good time to catch up with Ian Terry, last year’s surprise winner of the show.  

How a Drawing Could Cure Cancer: Physics Diagrams as Modern Hieroglyphs

If you’re a fan of the TV series, The Big Bang Theory you're probably used to laughing at Penny and Sheldon's interactions, especially when Dr. Cooper tries to explain physics to his loveable blonde neighbor.
One such instance is captured in the picture below.  If you look at it, you could easily imagine Sheldon saying something like: “See, Penny, this equation accounts for the branching ratio of a top quark decaying into a W boson and bottom quark, as depicted by the upper-left diagram.”
 

Do you think Sheldon took up drawing simply so he could flirt with Penny?

To The Moon and Beyond, We Are The Explorers

What do you get when you mix NASA, Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, historical footage, a group of passionate advocates and a crowdfunding campaign? Most likely, a really fantastic 30 second clip that will now be shown across the country.

The Aerospace Industries Association first set out to raise enough money to pay for the clip to air before Star Trek Into Darkness in a few select major markets. When they were greeted with unexpected enthusiasm and generosity, they soon set their sights on a bigger goal, 50 cities across the country.

Dan Hendrickson, of AIA, was at the helm of this innovative campaign, see what he has to say about the project and the future of space exploration!

Story Behind The Story: Argo

Unusual tales in Hollywood usually aren’t so unusual.  But this particular story caught our attention because it’s about science; it’s about entertainment; and, most of all, it’s unusual.

The story begins with the highly successful movie Argo, the darling of the award show circuit, eventually winning the Oscar for best picture of 2012.  

For those who haven’t seen it, Argo takes the audience through the steps leading up to the daring rescue of diplomats trapped in Iran after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979.   Most of us weren’t aware of this footnote in recent history, including the imagination and heroism of CIA operative Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck in the movie. That was, until Mr. Affleck made Argo.  

Event Recap: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Science

Magic flying carpets, how to obliterate your enemy and the ability to see through walls; sound like something from your favorite science fiction movie? What if we told you that all of those things were technically possible? 

According to Neil Gershenfeld, it’s true! All of the aforementioned technologies may be possible in the future, and the future may not be as far off as you may think. 

The Science & Entertainment Exchange hosted an informal evening of science, snacks, and conversation last month, featuring esteemed professor, Neil Gershenfeld. Our gracious hosts, Janet and Jerry Zucker, opened their home to entertainers and science geeks alike, to talk about technology of the future. 

De-extinction: Bringing Back the Dodo?

Science fiction fans and movie-goers might be counting down the days until the 3D re-release of Jurrassic Park hits theaters on April 5th, but scientists and conservationists are now counting the ways that they could make the movie’s premise – in which the DNA of dinosaurs’ blood is preserved in a mosquito fossilized in amber – come to life.

It’s called “de-extinction,” and it already happened for the first time ten years ago. 

When the last bucardo, a subspecies of the Spanish Ibex, died in 2000, it would be natural to believe that this was the end of the species. But thanks to an intrepid group of wildlife veterinarians, the DNA from the last remaining burcado, a female named Celia, had already been preserved. 

Robots, Aliens and Pilot Season, Oh My!

It’s pilot season, that time of the year when first episodes are filmed and TV network executives make crucial decisions as they place bets on which new series are likely to attract large audiences. Of course, the number of new shows that make it past the pilot stage is extremely small. Only a select few will receive a network order for additional episodes. Nevertheless, it’s fun to read about new ideas and see who’s been cast to play lovable, smarmy, smart, dumb -- or just plain evil – on the small screen.

Every year the Exchange takes a look at the Complete Guide to TV Pilots on a quest to discover which of these potential new shows may incorporate science (or maybe even math) in their story-telling.  

Lincoln V. Lincoln

More than 148 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, he continues to make his mark on American society, with this year being no exception. Here at the Science & Entertainment Exchange, we have a particular affinity for good old Abe, and this week our pride swells even more than usual. March 3, 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, which was signed into existence by none other, than Abraham Lincoln, himself!

 

In honor of Abraham Lincoln in all forms, both historical and theatrical, we thought we’d bring your attention to a few interesting facts about man, the myth and the legend in the stovepipe hat. Try to guess if we’re being truthful, or if we’re pulling your (possibly wooden) leg! 

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. 

Valentine's Day Science Showdown: Gift Edition

February 14, 2013 – We’ve all been there, standing in front of a Valentine’s Day display at the shop on the corner, you can feel a cold sweat coming on. The barrage of pink and red is almost too much for your brain to process! You have to make it out of this situation with the perfect gift for your valentine, and of course, you’ve waited until the last possible second to pick something up. The candy seems too sweet. What happens if they have an aversion to nougat? A giant card, perhaps? You decide against it after picturing yourself lugging it home on the bus, plus, it would be too hard to get it past the front door without detection. 

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