Eureka! Hollywood's being SCIENCED (sort of)


What can scientists do about Hollywood's ongoing inability to depict science in a realistic manner, as depicted by xkcd? If you're interested in this question (or still angry that Scully was somehow able to complete a Southern blot on trace alien DNA over her lunch hour), you may be interested in tomorrow's Armed with Science guests: blogger Jen Ouellette, who's heading up NAS' Science and Entertainment Exchange, and the executive producer of SyFy's EUREKA.

Jennifer Ouellette, director of the National Academy of Sciences' Science and Entertainment Exchange, and Jamie Paglia, co-creator and executive producer of the SyFy Channel's EUREKA, will discuss their experiences connecting the entertainment industry with top scientists and engineers to bring the reality of cutting-edge science to engaging storylines.

The portrayal of science has often posed a challenge to the entertainment community. Likewise, the scientific community has struggled to find an effective conduit through which it can communicate its story accurately and effectively. Though many of the world's biggest problems require scientific solutions, finding a way to translate and depict scientific findings so that reach a wide audience has required a sounding board that has often been missing.

Ok, but my question is, who gave the Science and Entertainment Exchange the acronym SEEX?* Is that pronounced "Sex"? Is John obligated to say "You've been SCIENCED - by SEEX!" at the close of the podcast? I guess you'll have to tune in (2 PM EST Wednesday) to find out!

*In seriousness, I think they call it "The X-Change," because the acronym is plainly unusable without inducing giggles. (Sorry, Jen.)

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"(or still angry that Scully was somehow able to complete a Southern blot on trace alien DNA over her lunch hour)"

Glad to know that I wasn't the only one who noticed that...aliens I can deal with, but they push me too far with their improbably quick Southern blots!

It would be nice if the entertainment industry was better at presenting science, sadly even when their intentions are good they seem to fall short of an accurate description of what happens. I fear this upcoming movie will be another example of the facts being outgunned by a sexier story

In all fairness it's not just science that's incorrectly portrayed by the media. Lawyers, housewives, doctors, even archeologists (I'm thinking Indiana Jones mostly with that one) all seem to behave in ways that I'm sure their jobs would never allow them too in real life.

I'm guessing it annoyes other professions just as much. My partner (doctor) almost walked out the cinema once when they electo-shocked a flatlining James Bond and brought him back to life.

I agree completely. A couple of notes:
1. It seems that if scientists aren't the evil genuis bad guys who ultimately display a great lack of intelligence or foresight, they are action heroes who are more known for how well they fight, shoot or are able to combine magic with science to get the right answer.
2. Anytime some basic principle is violated in the name of the story it is really distracting.
3. Advanced tech without our current foresight. Two examples, both the same story really. "War of the Worlds," they are smart enough to travel across great interstellar differences but not smart enough to wear a space suit and protect themselves from our bacteria and viruses? "Independance Day," Same situation but it is our current computer virus that wipes out their invasion plans. BTW, I found these things annoying but was stil able to enjoy both movies in different ways. The sound those tripods made absolutely gave me chills when combined with the visuals of intense overwhelming helplessness....

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 13 Jan 2010 #permalink