In which I SEE and agree with Dustin Hoffman

By Phil Plait | June 17, 2009 11:21 am

I’ve written a lot about science and scientists in movies. I have long hoped that real science would find its place in Hollywood, with TV shows and movies doing more to promote actual science and try to get it right. There’s been a lot of progress lately, with science advisors becoming more common in the script-writing process, and then — gasp — actually being listened to!

This has taken a giant leap forward with the creation of the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), a project of the distinguished National Academies of Science to encourage and foster a relationship between scientists and Hollywood. The cast of characters involved is impressive: Jerry Zucker (cripes, he wrote "Airplane!"), Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy"), and Dustin Hoffman among many others on the entertainment side, and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, science writer Lawrence Krauss, and John Rennie (Scientific American editor-in-chief) advocating science. My pal (and TAM 7 speaker!) Jennifer Ouellette from Cocktail Party Physics is running the shebang, too.

SEE logo

They have a blog which is both very entertaining an informative… which I suppose makes sense, given the two fields we’re dealing with here. I particularly liked this entry written by Jerry Zucker. It looks to me that he Gets It, and it’s extremely cool to see someone highly placed in Hollywood who does.

Dustin Hoffman does, too. He’ll be hosting events for SEE to try to get more folks involved. I love Hoffman, despite some, um, not-so-scientifically accurate movies he’s been in (cough cough "Sphere" cough "Outbreak" cough cough), and I’m really happy he’s involved.

In fact, I just think that overall I’m really happy SEE exists. It’s already producing results, and I fully plan on getting more involved with them as time goes on. The portrayal of science and scientists in movies is important to me, so I heartily stand behind SEE’s efforts.


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