One effort, announced at the meeting, will recruit Hollywood to help scientists tell their stories. NSF and the University of Southern California will team up to draw on USC’s expertise in film, TV, websites, and video games. The partnership will be the first between a federal agency and a film school.
“Entertainment media has been pretty much untapped as far as science literacy goes,” Dr. Fink says. A huge portion of the public doesn’t go to science museums or watch science programming on TV, she says. “Those are the eyeballs we’re trying to capture.”
Feature films such as “Apollo 13” and “Contact” show that movies can be both box-office successes and inspire careers in science, says Elizabeth Daley, dean of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, whose graduates are used to winning Oscars, not Nobel Prizes. She hopes the program will provide screenwriters, producers, and directors with knowledgeable science sources to advise them.