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Illinois researchers help Hollywood get the science right


Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

mad scientist
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two University of Illinois researchers are among a national group of scientists selected to help leaders in the entertainment industry improve the accuracy of the scientific content of their productions.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, which led the initiative, the newly formed Science & Entertainment Exchange will connect those in the entertainment industry to “some of the nation’s leading scientists, engineers and health professionals. The Exchange will facilitate a dialogue and foster deeper connectivity between science and entertainment.”

Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum is on the advisory committee of The Exchange, and Illinois entomology professor and neuroscience program director Gene Robinson will participate in an inaugural event for the initiative on Wednesday (Nov. 19) in Los Angeles.

Robinson, who said he is eager to participate in the project, said he hopes that this leads to “better portrayals of science and scientists in the mass media.”

“This is the most positive development for depictions of science in the movies in decades,” Berenbaum said. “I wouldn’t mind if mad scientists ultimately become an endangered species.”

Editor’s note: To reach May Berenbaum, call: 217-333-7784; email:

Gene Robinson, 217-265-0309;