The Making of Manhattan: Melding Science and Storytelling on the Road to Trinity

The Making of Manhattan: Melding Science and Storytelling on the Road to Trinity

Media is an important tool for communicating science. Popular media (film, television, etc.) plays a central role, providing not only a framework for our understanding of scientific concepts, but also a sociocultural context in which science and scientists are portrayed. Working side-by-side with talented writers, scientists have become increasingly involved in this process by serving as scientific consultants. Take, for example, the critically-acclaimed scientific drama Manhattan, which recently ran two seasons on WGN America. More than a fictional retelling about a famous scientific event, Manhattan is a story about the lives of the scientists responsible for building the world's first nuclear weapon in Los Alamos, New Mexico during WWII. We recently sat down with Sam Shaw (creator/executive producer/writer of Manhattan) and Dr. David Saltzberg (particle physicist at UCLA and science consultant for Manhattan and The Big Bang Theory) to learn more about what it's like to produce a television show which portrays both science and scientists.

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Art and Life in the Subatomic Realm

Art and Life in the Subatomic Realm

My workspace has some unusual supplies for an artist’s studio. Pinned to my idea board I have a list of subatomic particles, quotes from popular physics books, the names of inspiring physicists, and a picture of Nobel Laureate Marie Curie. I use my art to explore and explain how particle physics underpins all of life. As Fermilab’s first Artist-In-Residence, I found making art about physics was an act of discovery. Using science and art together not only energized my studio practice, it changed the way I see our universe.

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