For those of you who couldn’t make it to San Diego last week, Discovermagazine.com and the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange present our panel discussion on “Mad Science,” featuring Jaime Paglia (co-Executive Producer of Eureka), Kevin Grazier (Battlestar Galactica and Eureka science adviser), Jane Espenson (Dollhouse, Battlestar, Caprica, and lots more), Ricardo Gil da Costa (science adviser for Fringe), and Rob Chiappetta and Glenn Whitman (writers for Fringe).
Big thanks to Jennifer at SEE, to all of our panelists, and to the Bad Astronomer, who found time to moderate our panel while he wasn’t partying with Hollywood starlets (Phil – we kid because we love).
The geniuses of Eureka are inspired by a pretty good source: the geniuses of Cambridge, Mass.
Before his TV writing career took off, Jaime Paglia, co-creator of SyFy’s number-one-rated show, had a part-time gig as a program director of a science and technology public radio show called Cambridge Forum.
“It was this rare opportunity to be in Cambridge, Massachusetts where literally you have some of the greatest minds in science and technology,” Paglia told me in an interview recently. “Tim Berners-Lee, who literally invented the Internet, and Rodney Brooks, head of MIT robotics lab, the guy who made Sojourner, and who invented the Roomba in his spare time. Those guys, they see the world differently. There’s a unique way their brains work that allows them to be as creative as they are.”
These Cambridge geniuses eventually found their way into the show, if not as Nathan Stark or Douglas Fargo (Did you know he had a first name? I had to look it up), then at least as Walter Perkins or Carl Carlson. And Paglia also has another inspiration for scientific heroes: Dr. Donald Paglia, UCLA medical professor emeritus and Jaime’s dad.
I have been laid low for the last few days by some dreadful lurgy I caught on the plane back from San Diego, but people have been hard at work behind the scenes putting together this edit of the video of our “Science Behind Science Fiction Panel” at this year’s Comic-con. From left to right you have Kevin Grazier (science advisor to Eureka and Battlestar Galactica), Jaime Paglia (co-creater and executive producer of Eureka), Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy blogger) and myself. We talked about how science makes its way into a script, how scientific accuracy is maintained (or not) and the value of retconning. Enjoy!
We had a great panel yesterday chewing over how great science can make science fiction. Thanks to Jaime Paglia, co-creater and executive producer of Eureka (Eureka‘s third season premieres on the SCIFI channel on Tuesday), Kevin Grazier (science advisor to Eureka and Battlestar Galactica), and our very own Bad Astronomy blogger, Phil Plait.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to have some video from the panel before long: what’s clear is that on Battlestar and Eureka, while making a good show that people will want to watch is obviously their first priority, the producers and writers really do care about getting the science right — which means lots of grist for Science Not Fiction to blog about in the months to come. Yay!