About the Program

About The Science & Entertainment Exchange

The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences, connects the entertainment industry with experts in science, technology, and medicine in order to enhance the portrayal of science and scientists in film, television, and new media, and to make science more accessible and inspiring for all audiences.

From a quick fact check to a special briefing, The Exchange provides quick and easy access to experts from all the scientific disciplines. The goal of The Exchange is to use the vehicle of popular entertainment media to deliver sometimes subtle, but nevertheless powerful, messages about science.

Chartered by Congress in 1863 under an Act signed by Abraham Lincoln to provide scientific advice to the nation, the National Academy of Sciences, a private, nonprofit institution, is uniquely positioned to draw on the expertise of thousands of men and women who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields. Relying on the uncommon connections available to the NAS and its partner organizations, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Research Council (collectively known as the National Academies), The Exchange can quickly and easily identify and contact the ideal expert for each consultation.

Bringing Science to Storylines

“We want writers and directors to feel comfortable and to know exploring science will only open up the number of creative possibilities for their storytelling.” – Janet Zucker, Producer, Vice-Chair, The Exchange Advisory Board

Science is imaginative, and creative; it brings new possibilities to light. At its best, science is an adventure, an ongoing search for what is new and engaging. And in both film and television, the compelling nature of science is shaping storylines. Science is allowing filmmakers to sharpen narrative focus, build new realities and portray the astounding capacity of our existence, without dulling credibility.

The Exchange assists the entertainment industry in harnessing science as a creative means. By connecting industry professionals with scientists and engineers, The Exchange can help bring the reality of engaging science to the creative arts.

Based on Research

The Science & Entertainment Exchange relies on research like that which is conducted by our friends at the Geena Davis Institute to guide our work. Their large body of research on gender prevalence in family entertainment spans almost three decades. As we consider how our own activities can inspire new stories and new characters that push back on stale and outdated stereotypes, the data they collect is invaluable to us. We encourage you to check it out here!

Making a Difference Through Collaboration

“Hollywood had a tremendous influence on me. It’s always certain people whose lectures I went to, individuals I met, and third, even more importantly, movies I saw.” – V.S. Ramachandran, Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego

The benefits of a collaborative relationship are clear. For filmmakers, science advisers add a sense of realism and legitimacy to their creative vision. But perhaps even more important, scientists provide a window into the clear array of real-life science stories that are happening around us every day – all of which have the capacity to provide the inspiration for fresh, unique, and compelling narratives.

And for scientists, The Exchange offers an opportunity to expand the reach of their work, moving their research out of the lab and into the public eye, offering the promise to improve attitudes toward science and galvanizing interest in further discovery.