Why is it so important to get the science correct in TV and film? Ask that question to organic chemist Donna Nelson, particle physicist David Saltzberg, and physician John Sotos and you'll get valuable insight into why they serve as science advisers to some of the hottest science/medical TV shows on the air today.
Meet these science celebrities and hear their viewpoints as they participate in "Getting the Science Right in Hollywood", a revealing and insightful panel discussion moderated by Mariette DiChristina, who oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American Mind and all newsstand special editions.
John Sotos, M.D. – He’s both a physician (who wrote the definitive book on mysterious medical diagnoses) and a noted computer scientist – which makes him admirably suited for his role as medical technical advisor to the hit TV series, House, MD, and science advisor to the sci-fi show, Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Donna Nelson, professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, serves as science advisor to AMC's popular show, Breaking Bad. She was selected for the program after reading an article in Chemical and Engineering News about how the show's producer was seeking ongoing chemistry advice involving the program's main character, Walt (an organic chemistry high school teacher). Says Donna: "I thought, 'I can do this!' Chemists and other scientists are always complaining about poor, inaccurate science that appears in movies and television shows. This is an opportunity to do something about it."
David Saltzberg, a world-renowned particle physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles, serves as science consultant for CBS TV's The Big Bang Theory, which boasts 12 million viewers each week. David is known for his attention to getting the science right without detracting from the mood and direction of the sitcom. In enhancing the show's script, he says: "I often choose something new, so people can learn about recent science discoveries." For example, he adds, "I've put in references to the CERN super-collider and to recent discoveries relating to dark matter."