In which I SEE the light

In which I SEE the light

In which I SEE the light

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
May 25 2012 1:00 PM

In which I SEE the light

The Science and Entertainment Exchange is a program run by the National Academy of Sciences (!) to hook up entertainment professionals and scientists. The idea is to get better science in movies, and a better portrayal of scientists themselves. The win for science is obvious, but it also means better movies - a lot of folks in Hollywood want the science in their movies to be better - and better stories. Everyone wins!

Marty Perreault, the SEE Director, asked me to write an article for SEE's blog, and not being a fool I agreed. I figured I'd write about how I used to be kindof a nitpicky science accuracy Nazi when it came to movies, but then figured out (with some help) that maybe there's more to movie-making than educating people about science.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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The article -- "How I Stopped Worrying (About Science) and Learned to Love the Story" -- is now online. It's relatively short, but I think you'll like it. Here's a brief excerpt:

Movie after movie came and went, and I watched each in the darkened theater, off to the side, hunched over my notepad with my pen clicked and ready, and – literally – a flexible red-filtered flashlight wrapped around my neck like a scarf to illuminate my writing in case the scene I was destroying was too dark for me to see my own words.

Then, one day, I had an epiphany. Well, actually, the epiphany was forced on me...

Head on over there and see the rest!

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I'll add that I was on a panel sponsored by SEE recently called A Night of Total Destruction, where several scientists talked about apocalyptic scenerios to a room packed with writers and directors. That was fun -- apparently, they were very impressed with gamma-ray bursts -- and I had a great time chatting with them afterwards.

I'm enjoying working with SEE, and the folks in Hollywood. It's something I've always wanted to be involved in, so this really is a dream come true.



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