Public Release: 

NAS announces initiative to connect entertainment industry with top experts

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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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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

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

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