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News from the National Academies

Date:  Nov. 19, 2008

Contacts:  Maureen O'Leary, Director of Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

Ann Merchant, Director of Outreach and Marketing

202-334-3117; e-mail amerchant@nas.edu

Yusef Robb, Griffin Schake

323-384-1789; email yrobb@griffinschake.com

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

NAS Announces Initiative to Connect Entertainment Industry With Top Experts

 

LOS ANGELES -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced today the creation of "The Science and Entertainment Exchange," an initiative designed to connect entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to help the creators of television shows, films, video games, and other productions incorporate science into their work.  The Exchange represents the Academy's first formal effort to reach out to the entertainment community and provide the creative minds of Hollywood with a direct connection to the creative minds of science. 

 

"Television and film can involve the public in the latest advances in science, medicine, and technology," said NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone.  "By building strong connections between the entertainment and science communities, we're hoping to provide an important service to both Hollywood and the viewing public."

 

Director Jerry Zucker and his wife, producer Janet Zucker, actively support the initiative.  "The Exchange will provide filmmakers with an invaluable connection to scientific truth, but more importantly, we will have the ability to invent and explore the unknown with the great visionaries of science," said Jerry.  Janet Zucker added, "The Exchange will provide a place where scientific and artistic minds can come together to inspire each other, building a two-way street for both communities to learn and create."

 

Relying on the special connections available to the NAS, the Exchange can make introductions, schedule briefings, and arrange for consultations for anyone developing science-based entertainment content.  Endorsed by the Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Women in Film, this new resource is being promoted to all levels of writers, directors, producers, and others in the entertainment industry.  Professionals involved in the creative process may contact the Exchange to be connected with scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts for help with their productions and stories.

 

As science and technology have become staples of American television, the bar has been raised for better and more accurate science.  Forensic investigation and medical shows such as CSI, House, and ER routinely incorporate cutting-edge science into their scripts.  Studio films similarly capitalize on science themes.  Movies such as Children of Men, Mission Impossible, Déjà Vu, and A Beautiful Mind enlisted some aspect of science and technology to help tell their stories, while others like Iron Man, Minority Report, Watchmen, and the Star Trek series depend very heavily on a foundation of science.

 

Today, the Exchange was formally introduced to the Hollywood community during a symposium attended by entertainment industry professionals in Los Angeles.  Hosted by writer and producer Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy), the symposium attracted more than 300 participants including writers, directors, producers, production designers and executives, as well as scientists, engineers, and health professionals.  Sessions were divided into six topic areas: climate change and energy; astronomy and cosmology; genomics; artificial intelligence and robotics; rare and infectious diseases; and the brain and mind.  The symposium was funded by the National Academy of Sciences; CuresNow founding members Lucy Fisher, Doug Wick, and Janet and Jerry Zucker; Davis Masten and Christopher Ireland; Bob and Anne James; the California Endowment in partnership with Hollywood, Health & Society; and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 

The director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange is Jennifer Ouellette, an author and science writer.  "Tapping into the NAS' database of experts will be a tremendous resource for Hollywood," she said.  "Our goal is to bridge the gap between engaging content and science."  The Exchange will be based in Los Angeles.  For more information, contact Ouellette at jouellette@nas.edu or 310-570-6803, or visit www.scienceandentertainmentexchange.org.  A list of advisory board members follows.

 

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[ This news release is available at http://national-academies.org ] 

 

THE SCIENCE AND ENTERTAINMENT EXCHANGE

 

ADVISORY BOARD

 

 

Ralph J. Cicerone, Chair

President

National Academy of Sciences

 

Janet Zucker, Vice Chair

Producer

 

Jerry Zucker, Vice Chair

Director

 

Patrick Soon-Shiong, Vice Chair

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Abraxis Bioscience Inc. and

The Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation

 

Len Amato

President

HBO Films

 

Paula Apsell

Senior Executive Producer

NOVA; and

Director

WGBH Science Unit

 

Dave Bartis

Producer

 

Gregory Benford

Professor of Physics

University of California, Irvine

 

May Berenbaum

Professor of Entomology

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

 

Adam Bly

Founder and Publisher

SEED

 

Clark Bunting

President and General Manager

Emerging Networks

Discovery Communications

 

Rick Carter

Production Designer

 

Steve Chu

Director

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Professor of Physics and of Molecular and

Cell Biology

University of California, Berkeley; and

1997 Nobel Prize winner in Physics

 

Frank Darabont

Writer, Producer, and Director

 

Keith Devlin

Executive Director

Center for the Study of Language and Information,

and

Consulting Professor of Mathematics

Stanford University

 

Jon Farhat

Director

VFX

 

Anthony Fauci

Director

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

 

Sid Ganis

Producer

 

Julie Gerberding

Director

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Neil Gershenfeld

Director

Center for Bits and Atoms

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Ronald Graham

Professor of Computer Science and

Engineering

University of California, San Diego; and

Chief Scientist

California Institute for Telecommunications and

Information Technology

 

Brian Greene

Professor of Mathematics and Physics

Columbia University

 

Davis Guggenheim

Director and Producer

 

Robert M. Hazen

Research Scientist

Carnegie Institution for Science’s Geophysical

Laboratory; and

Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science  

George Mason University

 

Dudley Herschbach

Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science

Harvard University; and

1986 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry

 

Marshall Herskovitz

Producer, Writer, and Director

 

Dustin Hoffman

Actor and Producer

 

Marty Kaplan

Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media, and

Society

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Southern California; and

Director

The Norman Lear Center

 

Lawrence Kasdan

Director, Writer, and Producer

 

Jeffrey Koplan

Vice President for Academic Health Affairs

Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Emory University

 

Lawrence Krauss

Professor

School of Earth and Space Exploration

Arizona State University

 

Sherry Lansing

Founder

Sherry Lansing Foundation

 

Leon Lederman

Director Emeritus

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and

Pritzker Professor of Science

Illinois Institute of Technology; and

1988 Nobel Prize winner in Physics

 

Doug Liman

Producer and Director

 

Seth MacFarlane

Writer, Actor, and Producer

 

Alex McDowell

Production Designer

 

Marvin Minsky

Professor of Computer Science and Media Arts and

Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Sidney Perkowitz

Charles Howard Candler Professor of Physics

Emory University

 

Steven Pinker

Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology

Harvard University

 

Stanley Prusiner

Professor of Neurology, and

Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative

Diseases

University of California, San Francisco; and

1997 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine

 

Rob Reiner

Actor, Producer, Writer, and Director

 

John Rennie

Editor in Chief

Scientific American

 

Jay Roach

Director, Writer, and Producer

 

Bruce Joel Rubin

Writer

 

Oliver Sacks

Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry

Columbia University Medical Center

 

Barbara Schaal

Vice President

National Academy of Sciences; and

Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology, and

Director

Schaal Lab

Washington University

 

Tom Schulman

Writer

 

Jeffrey Silver

Producer

 

Anne E. Simon

Professor

Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

University of Maryland, College Park

 

Alex Singer

Director

 

Robert Sproull

Vice President and Sun Fellow

Sun Microsystems Inc.

 

John Underkoffler

Co-Founder

Oblong Industries

 

J. Craig Venter

President

J. Craig Venter Institute

 

Doron Weber

Director for Public Understanding of Science and

Technology and the History of Science and

Technology

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

 

STAFF

 

Ann Merchant

Director of Outreach and Marketing

National Academies Press