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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, DJ 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 or 310-570-6803, or visit A list of advisory board members follows.


Contact: Maureen O'Leary
National Academy of Sciences

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