BPS Panel on Science and Entertainment

BPS_panel_1Yes, I’ve been panelling again, down at the LA Convention Center. It was a fun conversation, moderated by Rick Loverd the Program Director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, entitled “The Science of Hollywood” as part of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society*. With me were Amy Berg, who is a Film/TV Writer and Executive Producer, Jessica Cail, Professor of Psychopharmacology, Pepperdine University, and Mike Ireland, Senior Vice President, Production, 20th Century Fox.

Despite the title, we were not trying to put observations of, experiments done on, or theories constructed about Hollywood on any firm scientific footing! We did engage in a lot of discussion about the connections we work on between science and Film and TV. We spoke about why we do it, how we try to do it, and what we hope to achieve, and answered quite a few questions from the audience. We covered several topics, from how (with telling a good entertaining story still being the main focus) to inspire and inform members of the general public about science, to trying to help show more of the world as it really is opposed to how it is usually depicted in those media (e.g. fewer crazy-haired older gentlemen as lazy stand-in for scientist characters, etc). We talked a bit about some of the story-telling opportunities that science can provide to people in the industry. And of course we talked a bit about some of the recent shows and films we’ve worked on. For more about some of this, look at the recent Wall Street Journal article I posted about here.

Remarkably, the bulk of the several people who came stayed for the full hour and a half (and a bit more) that we took, and remained quite engaged throughout. There were several fans of some of the shows we talked about that we worked on or admired. I must say a big thank you the many Agent Carter fans who came up to enthuse about the show and let me know they were enjoying the science a lot! That was really encouraging actually!

It was great to meet everyone (fellow panellists and audience members who came up afterwards), to have such an excellent and stimulating conversation, and maybe to have given some ideas to members of the BioPhysics community about getting involved in engaging the public with their science activity in various ways.


(*That’s where the BPS part comes from, theoretical physicists. Not the other BPS – Everybody calm down.)

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