Initiative aims to connect science, entertainment

By providing experts, exchange hopes to dispel 'fear'

Reflecting the role of science and technology in entertainment from TV series like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" to features like "Iron Man," the National Academy of Sciences has launched the Science and Entertainment Exchange, an initiative that aims to provide the entertainment community with a resource for scientific information by connecting filmmakers with science, medical and engineering experts.

"We are very hopeful that it's going to give the general public better access to science through entertainment, whether factual or fun," said NAS president Ralph Cicerone, who will chair the exchange's advisory board. Director Jerry Zucker, producer Janet Zucker and Abraxis Bioscience CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong will serve as vice chairs.

"We would love to use the power of Hollywood storytellers to educate," Jerry Zucker said. "There is a fear of science, and that is what we would like to dispel. I want people to embrace science, to be excited about science."

"Entertainment has an enormous amount to do with what excites the next generation," added Seth MacFarlane, who joins an advisory board with members including Frank Darabont, Sid Ganis, Dustin Hoffman, Sherry Lansing and Rob Reiner. The exchange is endorsed by the DGA, the Producers Guild of America, the WGA and Women in Film.

Started through private donations and sponsorship, the group held its first symposium Wednesday, which was hosted by MacFarlane and attended by about 300. Topics included 3-D, climate change, rare and infectious diseases, genomics, and artificial intelligence and robotics. Demos included a method for converting 2-D to 3-D, presented by 3dh, which showed a clip of classic TV series "The Munsters" converted to the format.