Posts Tagged 'Science in Popular Culture'

Saturday Salute to Scientists…The Science and Entertainment Exchange

At the Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas, we got to see Jennifer Ouellette, a science writer and director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), speak about the quality of the science that’s portrayed in popular culture (from Wikipedia):

The Science & Entertainment Exchange (the Exchange) is a program of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) developed to increase public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of science through its representation in television, film, and other media. The Exchange provides entertainment industry professionals with access to appropriate scientists and engineers who help to encourage effective representations of science and scientists in storylines, special effects, contextual background, and other elements in popular media. The Exchange also helps the science community understand the needs and requirements of the entertainment industry.

Officially launched in November 2008, the Exchange arranges direct consultations between scientists and entertainment professionals who develop science-themed content; it also provides a variety of other services, including scheduling briefings, brainstorming sessions, screenings, and salons. The Exchange is based in Los Angeles, California.

So often, movies and television shows get the science so wrong, and they perpetuate certain myths and untruths about how our universe really works. But there are an increasing amount of shows that are making an effort to get it right, and the Science and Entertainment Exchange is making it easier for writers to have access to scientists in several fields that can inform the scientific aspect of the script.

SEE, I salute you!

Science and Entertainment Exchange

Creation, the Movie Trailer is Here!

Here’s something for science enthusiasts to get excited about, they finally made a movie about Charles Darwin!

For some reason it’s called Creation, but it looks good…click here to see the trailer. IMDB has a release date of September 29, 2009 for a few European countries, but no dates listed for Canada or the US yet. Hopefully we’ll get to see it in September as well.


What Would You Say to the Aliens?

The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute wants to know!

If SETI detects a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization, what would you want to say to them? Or should we even reply?

EarthSpeaksClick here to let SETI know what you think we should say to the aliens!

The Science Behind Angels & Demons

I just got back from a very interesting talk on the science behind the movie Angels & Demons, held at the Manitoba Museum, with speakers Dr. Jeff Martin (U of Winnipeg), Dr. G. Gwinner (U of Manitoba), and Dr. K Sharma (U of Manitoba):

Angels & Demons is an action-packed thriller that opens in Manitoba theatres later this month. It is based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novel that focuses on an apparent plot to destroy the Vatican using a small amount of antimatter. In the book and the movie, that antimatter is made using the Large Hadron Collider and is stolen from the European particle physics laboratory CERN. Parts of the movie were actually filmed at CERN.

AngelsDemonsThese lectures are being held across North America, so I recommend you go to one of them because they’re a great way for somebody who’s not a scientist, but a science-enthusiast, to learn about anti-matter, to learn about colliders like the Large Hadron Collider, and to learn about particle physics.

If you’re not able to attend a lecture or if there’s not one in the area, here’s a little synopsis of whether what happened in the movie is true:

In the movie,  the Vatican is threatened by 1/4 gram of anti-matter, that will flatten it when the battery in its container dies. In reality the Large Hadron Colliders and physics labs around the world do produce anti-matter, but in very small amounts. If I remember correctly from the lecture, the amount that’s produced is usually about 1 billionth the size of the amount used in the movie. It would take 190 million years to produce 1/4 gram of anti-matter, so don’t worry. We’ll be destroyed by an asteroid before we destroy ourselves with anti-matter.

The lecture was also talking about the Higgs Boson Particle, which is referred to in the movie by the unfortunate name of “the god particle”. The Higgs Boson is a theorized particle that would help explain the origin of mass in the universe. It hasn’t yet been observed, so one of the goals of the Large Hadron Collider is to provide evidence either for or against its existence. Wikipedia, as always, has an excellent summary of the Higgs Boson, so I recommend looking there for more accurate information than I can give.

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