Science in Hollywood:
Content and Communication

January 11th, 2003


A number of the best- as well as least-known scientists have advised movies, TV shows, and increasingly video games on their technical content. These collaborations frequently come about through ad-hoc if not accidental introductions, but are one of the most effecitve channels for the public communication of scientific information. Their importance is growing over time; as scientific advances become ever more remarkable, promising, and threatening it becomes more and more important to explain and discuss them, and they also provide increasingly compelling material for storytelling.

This exploratory meeting will bring together distinguished scientists who both have and have not worked with Hollywood, and representatives from all sides of the industry, to review how scientific expertise has influenced creative content in some well-known examples from the past, and consider how this process might work in the future. It is being run by MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms and USC's Institute for Creative Technologies in association with the National Academy of Sciences' Office on Public Understanding of Science; the goal is to consider whether this dialog could and should grow into a larger process to bring these communities together.

Neil Gershenfeld


13274 Fiji Way
Marina del Rey, CA

10:00-10:30 Introduction
    Neil Gershenfeld (CBA)
    Suzanne Woolsey (NAS)
    Richard Lindheim (ICT)
10:30-12:00 Case studies
    old movie: Marvin Minsky (2001)
    recent movie: John Underkoffler (Minority Report)
    TV show: Andre Bormanis (Star Trek)
    video game: Robert Gehorsam (There Inc, CBS, Sony)
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:45 Creative process
    Priscilla Cohen
    Michael B. Johnson
    Alex McDowell
    workflow, economics, sociology, intellectual property, ...
1:45-2:30 Next steps
    offices, advisors, agencies, studios, ...


Gregory Benford

Andre Bormanis

Priscilla Cohen

Alan Dressler
The Carnegie Observatories
813 Santa Barbara Street
Pasadena, California 91101
(626) 304-0245

Baruch Fischhoff
University Professor
Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Department of Engineering and Public Policy
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
412+268-3246 (ph) 6938 (fax)
(unable to attend on Jan 11)

Fred Fuchs
7 Riverside Trail
Toronto, Ontario M6S 1G6
416 427 7433 cell
416 964 3987 fax
(unable to attend on Jan 11)

Sawyer Buckminster Fuller

Robert Gehorsam
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
There Inc.
99 John Street, #1702
New York, NY 10038-2903
212.964.0986 (fax)

Neil Gershenfeld
Director, Center for Bits and Atoms
Room E15-411
20 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA  02139

Martin Gundersen

Karen Hein, MD
William T Grant Foundation
570 Lexington Avenue (18th Floor)
New York, NY 10022-6837
phone: 212 752-0071
fax: 212 752-1398

Michael B. Johnson

Daniel Kubat

Richard Lindheim
Executive Director
Institute for Creative Technologies
13274 Fiji Way, Suite 600
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: (310) 574-5700
Fax: (310) 574-5725

Alex McDowell
2288 Earl Street
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Marvin Minsky

Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
Professor of E.E. and C.S., M.I.T
Media Lab and AI Lab

 Joe F. Moore
Former President and Chief Executive Officer
Bonner & Moore Associates, Inc.
Former Chairman
100 Radney Road
Houston 77024
713 780 1913
FAX 713 780 3521
(unable to attend on Jan 11)

Jacquelyn Morie

Randy Olson

Celia Pearce
Research and External Relations Manager
Cal-(IT)2 Media Arts Layer
UC Irvine
416 Engineering Tower (Zot Code 2800)
Irvine, CA 92697-2800
Phone (Tue, Thu): +1 949 824-9804
Mobile: +1 310 390-8014

Melvin I. Simon
Biaggini Professor of Biology
Division of Biology 147-75
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. California Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91125
(626) 395-3944 telephone
(626) 796-7066 fax
(unable to attend on Jan 11)

Alexander Singer

William Swartout
Director of Technology
USC Institute for Creative Technologies
13274 Fiji Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

John Underkoffler

Inder M. Verma
American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology
Laboratory of Genetics
The Salk Institute
10010 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA  92037
tel. 858-453-4100 x1462
fax. 858-558-7454

Curtis Wong
Manager, Next Media Research Group
(unable to attend on Jan 11)

Suzanne Woolsey
Chief Communications Officer of The National Academies


Gregory Benford

Gregory Benford is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and was Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University. and in 1995 received the Lord Prize for contributions to science. His research encompasses both theory and experiments in the fields of astrophysics and plasma physics. His fiction has won many awards, including the Nebula Award for his novel Timescape. Dr. Benford makes his home in Laguna Beach, California.

Andre Bormanis

Andre Bormanis currently works as the Story Editor for the Paramount / UPN television series Enterprise.

He received his B.S. in Physics (minors in Mathematics and English) in 1981 from the University of Arizona.  In 1989 and 1990 he studied screenwriting at Arizona State University with Stephen Geller.  He received his M.A. in Science, Technology, and Public Policy in 1994 from The George Washington University.  His master's thesis was entitled A Program in Transition: Policy Aspects of U.S. Planetary Exploration. 

Mr. Bormanis is a writer, policy analyst, and consultant; he has assisted in research in planetary science and astronomy; has taught physics, mathematics, and microcomputer application software at the undergraduate level; has written teaching materials and workbooks for microcomputer application software courses; has written policy papers, popular science articles, and teleplays; and directed the design and development of an interactive astronomy education microcomputer program, Discover Space, published by Broderbund software. 

From 1993 through 2001 he served as science consultant to the Star Trek television and feature film series.  During this period he wrote a number of stories and teleplays for the Star Trek: Voyager television show.  From 1993 through 1998 he also assisted in program development for the San Juan Institute, a non-profit planetary research science laboratory in San Juan Capistrano, California.  He is also a long-time volunteer at The Planetary Society, and helped organize the highly successful Planetfest '97 and Planetfest '99 space science meetings for the general public.

Priscilla Cohen

Priscilla Cohen is currently developing X-LAB, a children's television reality show, in conjunction with The Exploratorium. As a Literary Manager at Michael Siegel & Associates, she represents a high- profile roster of writers, including Michael Cunningham ("The Hours), Douglas Coupland ("Generation X") and Robert Olen Butler ("Good Scent of a Strange Mountain"). She is currently co-producing an adaptation of Mark Salzman's latest novel "Lying Awake" with Fred Fuchs. Priscilla began her feature film work as a story editor for Ray Stark, and then joined Robert Redford's Wildwood Productions as Vice President of development overseeing A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. She went on to Geffen Pictures as VP of Production, overseeing INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and MICHAEL COLLINS. While at Miramax, she co-produced SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE and developed THE CIDERHOUSE RULES. Educated at Vassar, Priscilla began her career as an actress at The Eugene O'Neill Theater. Her history with The Exploratorium originated as the Director of the Performing Arts programs under her mentor, Frank Oppenheimer.

Alan Dressler

Alan Dressler is an astronomer at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. Dressler's principal area of research is the formation and evolution of galaxies. In particular, his research relies on directly observing galaxy evolution by making observations of galaxies so distant that they are seen as they appeared billions of years ago. Dressler was also a principal contributor to a team study of the expansion field of the local universe that discovered a remarkably large anisotropy in the Hubble flow, commonly called the "Great Attractor." In 1994-5 he led a study "HST & Beyond" that helped create the NASA Origins Program and set directions for space science in the coming decades. Dressler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and presently Chair of the Astronomical Search for Origins subcommittee that advises NASA on such projects as the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and the future Terrestrial Planet Finder.

Dressler is a frequent public lecturer and contributer to popular magazines on science. His 1994 book "Voyage to the Great Attractor" tells about the discovery process of mapping the large-scale structure of the universe and explores the wider implications of our scientific enterprise for the human experience.

Baruch Fischoff

    BARUCH FISCHHOFF is University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University.  He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Wayne State University and a MA and Ph.D. in psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research includes risk communication and management, adolescent and heath decision making, and environmental protection.  He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and has served on some two dozen NAS/NRC/IOM committees.  He has co-authored or edited four books, Acceptable Risk (1981), A Two-State Solution in the Middle East (1993), Preference Elicitation (1999), and Risk Communication: The Mental Models Approach (2001).

Fred Fuchs

1/3/01 – 9/1/02	VERITAS MEDIA


After producing several movies for Francis Coppola on a free-lance basis I
was asked to take over as President of Coppola’s San Francisco based production
company. While there I continued to work as his producer and also oversaw
operations and management of the company. Other responsibilities and
accomplishments while I was at Zoetrope include:
o Helped develop and produce 7 feature films, 6 of which were
directed by Mr. Coppola
o Created television division in 1995 that produced two Emmy
nominated mini-series and helped create, finance, and produce
a successful 66 episode syndicated TV series
o Supervised creation of a new award winning short fiction magazine,
which also launched interactive web site
o Administrated Zoetrope’s innovative production and post-production
facility. Helped develop electronic cinema applications
o Supervised distribution and sales agreements for international
distribution of small film library including Apocalypse Now
o Board member involved in supervision of successful winery and
food product division of Coppola Companies

Feature Film Credits

Director: Stephen Metcalfe Stars: Sharon Stone, Billy Connelly
THE THIRD MIRACLE (Franchise Pictures, Sony Picture Classics) PRODUCER
Director: Agnieska Holland Stars: Ed Harris, Anne Heche
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (Canal Plus, Paramount Classics) EXEC.PROD
Director: Sofia Coppola Stars: James Woods, Kirsten Dunst
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Matt Damon, Danny Devito, John Voight
Director Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, Diane Lane
Director: Caroline Thompson Stars: Rene Russo, Alan Cummings
Director: Jeremy Levin Stars: Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp
Director: Greg Nava Stars: Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Lewis Gilbert Stars: Aiden Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, John Guilguid
Director: Kenneth Branaugh Stars: Robert DeNiro, Ken Branaugh, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Agnieska Holland Stars: Maggie Smith, John Lynch, Kate Maberly
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Winnona Ryder, Gary Oldman
WIND (TriStar Filmlink) EXEC. PROD.
Director: Carrot Ballard Stars: Matthew Modine, Stellan Skarrsgard
THE SPIRIT OF '76 (Castle Rock) EXEC.PROD.
Director: Lucas Reiner Stars: David Cassidy, Olivia Adabo
Director: George Hickenlooper/Eleanor Coppola
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Al Pacino, Dianne Keaton, Andy Garcia
NEW YORK STORIES (Life Without Zoe) (Touchstone) PRODUCER
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Giancarlo Gianni, Talia Shire
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Stars: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landeau

Television credits (all as Executive Producer)

MOBYDICK 4 Hour mini-series (USA Networks/Hallmark)
OUTRAGE 2 Hour MOW (ABC/Polygram)
FIRST WAVE 22 Hour Syndicated Series (Pearson/Viditron)
THE ODYSSEY 4 Hour mini-series (NBC/Hallmark)
TITANIC 4 Hour mini-series (CBS)
DARK ANGEL 2 Hour MOW (Pilot) (FOX/Tri-Star)
KIDNAPPED 4 Hour –mini-series (FAMILY CHAN.)
WHITE DWARF 2 Hour MOW (Pilot) (FOX)
VIETNAM WAR STORIES 13 Show 1/2 hour Anthology Series (HBO)
TALLTALES & LEGENDS 13 Show 1hour Anthology Series (SHOWTIME)
FAERIE TALE THEATRE 26 Show 1 hour Anthology Series (SHOWTIME)


Emmy Award Nomination Best mini-series MOBY DICK
Emmy Award Nomination Best mini-series THE ODYSSEY
Golden Globe Nomination Best mini-series THE ODYSSEY
Saturn Award Winner Best Feature Film BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA
Academy Award Nomination Best Picture THE GODFATHER PART III
Golden Globe Nomination Best Picture THE GODFATHER PART III
ACE Award Winner Best Dramatic Series VIETNAM WAR STORIES
ACE Award Winner Best Dramatic Series FAERIE TALE THEATRE
ACE Award Winner Best Children's Program FAERIE TALE THEATRE
Peabody Award Winner FAERIE TALE THEATRE

Sawyer Buckminster Fuller

Sawyer Buckminster Fuller (no relation to R. Buckminster Fuller), originally from San Luis Obispo, California, was an undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT and is now a master's student in the same department. He placed 2nd in MIT's famous "2.70" robotics competition and fared well in the international follow-on contest, "Robocon", televised nationally in Japan. He has built a jumping robot for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (a project that was "robot of the month" in Discover Magazine) and invented a desktop printer for making electrical circuitry
with Prof. Joe Jacobson at the Media Lab (featured in the cover article of the November 2000 issue of Technology Review Magazine, "Print Your Next PC"). Nowadays he is interested in biological systems, so he is developing techniques to pattern networks of nerve cells in culture to do cellular-level studies of the operation of the brain, with Dr. Shuguang Zhang and Prof. H. Sebastian Seung of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Robert Gehorsam

Robert Gehorsam, VP, Strategic Initiatives, has seventeen years of management experience in the online games and entertainment world. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President, Programming and Production at Viacom's CBS Internet Group, where he was responsible for content, creative, production and operations for, and related wholly-owned CBS internet properties. Prior to joining Viacom, he was Senior Vice President for Programming and Production at Sony Online Entertainment, the leading online entertainment and games company. In addition to being part of the team that created the business plan forming SOE, he was directly responsible for all operations, product acquisition and development, and technology for The, one of the world's most popular game destinations on the Internet. He oversaw the creation of a robust, highly scalable game platform that supports millions of customers of dozens of online games, including the online phenomenon, Everquest, along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Online. In addition to acquiring Verant, the development team that produced Everquest, he also led the acquisition of the rights of Star Wars Galaxies, the upcoming persistent-world game SOE is developing with Lucasarts. From 1985-1992 he founded and led Prodigy's games and educational divisions, launching the first large-scale subscription based sports simulations and nearly two dozen other online titles. He has also held management positions at Scholastic Inc. and consulted on entertainment and broadband strategy to Microsoft, America Online, CNET, Ziff-Davis and Children's Television Workshop. Earlier in his career he was an editor at Simon & Schuster, where he helped found its Electronic Publishing Division and published some of the first consumer applications for Macintosh. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Literature and Religious Studies from Grinnell College.

Neil Gershenfeld

Professor Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, an interdisciplinary initiative that is broadly exploring how the content of information relates to its physical representation, from atomic nuclei to global networks. CBA's intellectual community and research resources cut across traditional divisions of inquiry by disciplines and length scales in order to bring together the best features of the bits of new digital worlds with the atoms of the physical world. Dr. Gershenfeld has also led the Media Lab's Things That Think industrial research consortium, which pioneered moving computation out of conventional computers and into the rest of the world, and works with the Media Lab Asia on coordinating the technical guidance for this ambitious international effort based in India that is investigating technology for global development.

His own laboratory studies fundamental mechanisms for manipulating information (which led to the development of molecular logic used to implement the first complete quantum computation and to analog circuits that can efficiently perform optimal digital operations), the integration of these ideas into everyday objects such as furniture (seen in the Museum of Modern Art and used in automobile safety systems), and applications with partners ranging from developing a computerized cello for Yo-Yo Ma and stage for the Flying Karamazov Brothers to instrumentation used by rural Indian villagers and nomadic reindeer herders.

Beyond his many technical publications and patents, he is the author of best-selling books including "When Things Start To Think" and the texts "The Nature of Mathematical Modeling" and "The Physics of Information Technology." His work has been featured by the White House and Smithsonian Institution in their Millennium celebrations, and been the subject of print, radio, and TV programs in media including the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and PBS.

Dr. Gershenfeld has a B.A. in Physics with High Honors from Swarthmore College, was a member of the research staff at Bell Labs where he studied laser interactions with atomic and nuclear systems, received a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University for experimental tests of order in complex condensed matter systems, and was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows where he ran an international study on prediction techniques.

Martin Gundersen

Martin Gundersen is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics and Astronomy and Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering-Electrophysics at the University of Southern California. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1986-1987), Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1986-1987, and 1989), Visiting Scientist at CERN (1987), and Visiting Associate at the California Institute of Technology (1993-94). His research interests include lasers, semiconductor devices, pulsed power, applied plasma physics in areas that include combustion and pollution abatement, and in the application of nanosecond pulsed fields to biological cells (processes that include field-induced apoptosis). He is a co-founder of a new entrepreneurial effort to address therapeutic applications of field-induced apoptosis to cancer (`Ultra-Pulse Inc.'). He currently teaches `Applied Quantum Mechanics'. He has published over 200 technical papers, holds patents in pulsed power switch technology, and is a Fellow of the IEEE and the OSA. He received the 2000 Germeshausen award `for contributions to power modulator and radar transmitter technologies';. He consults occasionally for entertainment and has worked on verisimilitude for films and television, including "Congo", and in `Real Genius', where he had a bit role. He has worked with the American Film Institute on issues related to the telling of science in scripts for film and television, and conducted a one-day workshop at USC in 1999 on the issues of science and entertainment (`Science and Entertainment -- Making Contact'). He was Chair for the 1980 Topical Meeting on IR Lasers, the 1985 Workshop on Power Conditioning, several ONR meetings, Director of a 1989 NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Technical Program Chairman of the 1990 and the 2000 IEEE Power Modulator Symposium, and Chair of the Executive Committee for the 2002 combined High Voltage Workshop and Power Modulator Conference.

Karen Hein

Karen Hein, M.D., became President of the William T. Grant Foundation on September 8, 1998. Dr. Hein was the Executive Officer of the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences) from December 30, 1994 to June 30, 1998. Dr. Hein is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. From l993-l994 she worked on health care reform as a member of the Senate Finance Committee staff in Washington, D.C., drafting legislation related to health benefits, workforce, and financing medical education and academic health centers.

Dr. Hein graduated from the University of Wisconsin (l966), attended Dartmouth Medical School (l966-l968) and received her medical degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in l970. She was one of the founding members of the Dartmouth Medical School Board of Overseers (1973-1978).

During the past 30 years, Dr. Hein has assumed a variety of roles related to health policy through her activities in program development, teaching and clinical research. She directed a model program for health care of juvenile detainees. In l987, she founded the nation's first adolescent HIV/AIDS program. She worked closely with the Board of Education to expand AIDS education to the million students in the New York City public school system. She has written over l50 articles, chapters and abstracts related to adolescent health, particularly focusing on high risk youth. Her book entitled, AIDS: Trading Fears for Facts, has sold over 100,000 volumes.

As President of the William T. Grant Foundation, she has shaped the current focus of the Foundation's efforts to "help create a society that values young people and enables them to reach their full potential." With assets of over $250 million, the Foundation pursues this goal by investing in research and in people and projects that use evidence-based approaches. Under her leadership, the Foundation has celebrated the appointment of the 100th W.T. Grant Scholar in 2002 and will institute the W.T. Grant Prize for collaboration among scholars, practitioners and others in 2003.

Dr. Hein has served as a consultant or advisor to many city, state and federal health organizations. She was President of the Society for Adolescent Medicine in l992. She has been a recipient of several awards including an Assistant Secretary for Health Award (DHHS) in l989, Health Care Financing Administrator's Award (HCFA) in l993 and Stewart B. McKinney Foundation in l994 for leadership in the HIV epidemic. She is currently on the editorial advisory boards of 3 journals, a member of the Board of Directors of 7 national organizations, including the National Board of Medical Examiners and Consumer's Union, and is Chair of the Board of the Center for Health Care Strategies.

Michael B. Johnson

Michael B. Johnson is a Media Arts Technologist at Pixar Animation Studios, where he currently heads up the Film On Line Group. He received his BS from the University of IL, U-C, and his SMVS and PhD from the MIT Media Lab. While at the U of I he was part of the Visualization Program at NCSA, and while at the Media Lab he was a consultant at Thinking Machines in the Graphics Group. While at the Media Lab he worked on a variety of systems involving parallelism, active objects, digital cameras, and behavior based animation.

He's been affiliated with Pixar for almost a decade, where he was the New York office for a few years, and also the Chicago Office for a few years - he's currently at the studio in Emeryville. At Pixar he has worked on tools for almost all facets of the production workflow, from writing new tools for directors, story board artists, lighters, shaders, set dressers, animators, as well as working on the overall production system Pixar uses to make all of its feature films.

Daniel Kubat

Daniel Kubat is a science and technology consultant for films and television. He has worked with the art department for James Cameron's "Mars IMAX:3D" project designing equipment for Mars exploration and as a nuclear reactor adviser on Kathryn Bigelow's "K-19: The Widowmaker." Daniel holds two degrees from MIT in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. Daniel made his television debut in 2002 as a participant on Junkyard Wars where his team, The Geeks, placed third.

Richard Lindheim

With nearly four decades of television experience, Richard D. Lindheim brings a programming perspective to his work as executive director of the Institute for Creative Technologies. Among his key responsibilities for ICT, he supervises virtual reality training projects developed for the U.S. Army, and oversees outreach to USC's participating schools as well as the entertainment, computer game and computer technology industries at large.

Lindheim most recently spent seven years as executive vice president of Paramount Television Group, where he launched the Digital Entertainment division. Previously he graduated through the ranks of Universal and MCA, beginning as a producer for Universal Television in 1979 and progressing through four posts with MCA Television Group/Universal Studios. They include vice president, current programming, senior vice president series programming, executive vice president, creative affairs and, finally, executive vice president, program strategy. During his tenure with Universal, Lindheim also served as a producer on several television series, and co-created the popular Universal/CBS program "The Equalizer" (1985-89).

Transitioning to MCA/Universal from NBC, Lindheim served as vice president, dramatic programs following a nine-year post as vice president, program research for the network. Prior to work in audience studies, he began his entertainment career in 1962 as an administrative assistant in the story department of CBS. Lindheim earned a B.S. in electronic engineering from the University of Redlands, with postgraduate studies in telecommunications and engineering at the University of Southern California.

A member of the Writers Guild of America, Lindheim is the author of several publications including two textbooks on television, PrimeTime: Network Television Programming and Inside Television Producing.

Alex McDowell

Alex McDowell, for 20 years a design leader in several pop culture fields, is currently most fully employed as a production designer in Feature Films.

In the late 1970's Alex McDowell honed his visual tools while studying as a painter at Central School of Art in London. With the eruption of the punk movement in London, he founded the design group, Rocking Russian, to produce record sleeve graphics for the burgeoning punk music industry (The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Clash, Iggy Pop, amongst many). Concurrently, he experimented with primitive digital graphics as Art Director for video magazine Rewind, and collaborated with famed British designer, Terry Jones on the early issues of I-D fashion magazine.

In the 1980's, with the emergence of MTV he teamed up with director Tim Pope to design some of the earliest music videos. He moved to Los Angeles in 1986, having designed over a hundred music videos, and began a new career as production designer for many of the most cutting-edge young directors in commercials.

In 1991, McDowell was called upon to production design the virtual reality cult film The Lawnmower Man, followed by The Crow; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with director Terry Gilliam, Fight Club with director David Fincher, and Minority Report with director Steven Spielberg. He is currently designing a Seussian universe for The Cat in the Hat with Director, Bo Welch.

For Minority Report, McDowell established the first fully integrated digital design department in the film industry, enabling the strands of 2D and 3D design, set construction, camera, prop manufacturing and post-production VFX to be efficiently linked and managed by the Design Team.

McDowell is the founder and an active member of the revolutionary design and engineering think tank known as matter.

McDowell works wherever in the world a project takes him, but his home is in Los Angeles with his wife, painter Kirsten Everberg, and their two children.

Marvin Minsky

Marvin Minsky is Professor of Computer Science and Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has led to major advances in computer science, artificial intelligence, physics, psychology, and mathematics. He invented the Confocal Scanning Microscope, now a widely used optical instrument.

Professor Minsky is a members of the NAS and NAE, and has been awarded the Japan Prize, the Franklin Medal. the Rank Prize of the Royal Society, and the R.W. Wood Prize of the Optical Soc. of America.

Joe F. Moore

Mr. Moore's career began as an engineer, process designer, and economic analyst at the Texas refinery of The Humble Oil & Refining Company - now EXXON-Mobil Corporation. In 1956 he co-founded one of the world's first computer consulting companies -- Bonner & Moore Associates Inc. Bonner & Moore was a Houston firm with offices in Germany and Russia. Its business was providing consultation and computer software for the management and operation of petroleum refineries, chemical plants and other industrial enterprises. The company was sold in 1999 and Mr. Moore retired from full-time management although he continues to consult with long time Bonner & Moore clients. He has long been heavily involved with his University -- MIT. In 1978 and 79 Mr. Moore served as President of the MIT Alumni Association. He was a member of the MIT Corporation, which is the MIT board of Trustees, for 11 years. For 20 years Mr. Moore served on the MIT Visiting Committee for the Department of Humanities which represented a record tenure for that Committee. For most of these years he chaired various sections of the Visiting Committee. He has long been, and remains, a member of the MIT Energy Laboratory External Research Advisory Committee, serving as Chair for the past several years. In Houston he has been active in the arts serving as Executive Committee member and Board Chairman for the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He also served as a Board member of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for the Performing Arts. He has served for many years as a Trustee for several Houston private education institutions. Mr. Moore's career as a consultant involved him with oil and chemical industry clients in the US, Asia, Mexico, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Russia. He played a key role in developing the downstream business plan and organization for the largest Russian oil company -- LUKOIL. Mr. Moore received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1952. From that time he and his wife Glenna have lived in Houston.

Jacquelyn Morie

Jacquelyn Ford Morie is an artist, scientist and educator. She spent many years in the animation and effects industry at studios including Disney Feature Animation, Blue Sky|VIFX and the award winning Rhythm & Hues, creating specialized training programs for both traditional and digital aspects of production. From 1990 to 1994, Morie worked as a researcher and educator at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. While there, her Virtual Reality work at the Institute for Simulation and Training's Visual Systems Lab involved creating scenarios and environments designed to evoke emotional responses from their participants. She also helped lead a group of after-hours students called the "Toy Scouts" who created full-body immersive VR games using technology developed for the Army. In addition, she served as a Visiting Assistant Professor for UCF's new Film and Animation Program, developing a complete Computer Animation degree specialization. In 1988 Morie helped create the Computer Animation program at the prestigious Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida.

For the past three years Jacki she has been part of the core team at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies and serves not only as Associate Director for Creative Development but also as Project Lead for the Sensory Environments Evaluation (SE Project) which explores the creation of emotionally evocative virtual environments.

She holds two Masters degrees from the University of Florida: one in Fine Art, for which she studied Photography with premier photographer Jerry Ueslmann, and the second in Computer Science, studying with John Staudhammer. She is an member of the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Council and served as Chair of the 1994 SIGGRAPH emerging technology venue "The Edge". She is a member of IEEE and the Visual Effects Society. Her interest besides creating art include neurobiology, marine biology, the sources of emotions and doing things that have never been done before.

Randy Olson

Randy Olson is a scientist and a filmmaker. As a scientist, he earned his Ph.D. in marine biology (Harvard University, 1984) and spent nearly twenty years studying coral reef ecology. He spent the 1980's traveling through the world of marine biology -- living on an island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef for a year, diving under the ice in Antarctica, spending a week living in an undersea habitat in the Caribbean, and diving a half mile down in the sea. He published twenty research papers and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II, and Smithsonian postdoctoral fellowships. As a professor of Zoology at the University of New Hampshire he received grants from the National Science
Foundation and National Geographic. After receiving tenure in 1994 he resigned from his professorship to attend film school.

As a filmmaker, Randy Olson wrote and directed the humorous short films "Lobstahs," "Barnacles Tell No Lies," and "Scrump!" in the early 90's which earned over twenty film festival awards. In 1997 he graduated from the Film Production Program of the U.S.C. School of Cinema and Television. His short film, the musical comedy, "You Ruined My Career," earned seven film festival awards and was selected for the "Filmmakers of Tomorrow" session at the Telluride Film Festival sponsored by Steven Spielberg.

Following film school, Randy Olson began a series of collaborations with former science colleagues, utilizing the narrative skills he learned in film
school to convey science in new ways. These include "Talking Science: the elusive art of the science talk," with Dr. Tony Michaels of the U.S.C. Wrigley Institute, "Ocean Science in the COOLroom" with Dr. Fred Grassle of Rutgers
University, "Growing Up Cold and Hungry" with Dr. Donal Manahan of U.S.C., and "Rediagnosing the Oceans," with Dr. Jeremy Jackson of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (review in Science, 3/8/02).

The collaboration with Jeremy Jackson continues this fall with "The Shifting Baselines Media Campaign" sponsored by The Ocean Conservancy. It will include a Public Service Announcement for television which Dr. Olson will direct and a
website ( he will help create.

Celia Pearce

Celia Pearce is a game designer, artist, researcher, teacher and author of The Interactive Book: A Guide to the Interactive Revolution (Macmillan), as well as several other papers and articles on game design and culture. She currently holds a position at UC Irvine as Research and External Relations Manager for the CAL(IT)2 Arts Layer and Associate Direct of Game Research. Previously, while at University of Southern California, she produced "Entertainment in the Interactive Age," a highly acclaimed conference on game design produced by the Annenberg Center for Communication and sponsored by the IDSA (Interactive Digital Software Association); helped to develop an MFA Program in Interactive Media for the School of Cinema-Television, and served as a guest artist/researcher in the AI lab at the Information Sciences Institute. Ms. Pearce's 18-year career as interactive media designer includes: Iwerks and Evans & Sutherland's award-winning Virtual Adventures: The Loch Ness Expedition, a 24-player virtual reality attraction, the lounge@siggraph and The VR Gallery, SIGGRAPH '95, and Purple Moon Friendship Adventure Cards for Girls. Other clients have included Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Parks, and LEGO Media and Electronic Arts. She was panels chair of SIGGRAPH 1998, and currently serves on the Executive Board of DiGRA, the Digital Games Research Association. Cal-(IT)2:, personal web site:

Melvin I. Simon

    Dr. Melvin I. Simon received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1959 from the City College of New York, and his Ph.D. degree in 1963 from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.  After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University in 1965, he joined the University of California, San Diego.  In 1982 he moved to the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology, where he currently serves as the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences.

    Dr. Simon has worked on the mechanism of site specific recombination in bacteria and on the mechanism of bacterial movement and chemotaxis.  He and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate that bacterial flagella were driven by a rotary motor.  They uncovered the mechanism of phase variation showing that the specific inversion of a segment of DNA that carries a flagellin promoter region controlled the ability of the organism to switch from one flagellar antigen type to another.  Dr. Simon's laboratory helped characterize the components involved in sensory transduction in bacteria.  They were the first to show that the process involved protein-histidine phosphorylation and helped define the nature of "two component" sensory systems in bacteria.  They subsequently determined the three-dimensional atomic structure of the protein histidine kinase that plays a central role in this process.

    Dr. Simon's most recent contributions have advanced our understanding of signal transduction and intracellular signaling in animal cells.  He is currently working on the mechanisms involved in G protein function.  G-protein subunits play a crucial role in transmitting signals from cell surface receptors resulting in changes in intracellular metabolism.  They are central to the visual, gustatory, olfactory and nervous systems function in complex organisms.  Dr. Simon's laboratory played a major role in the characterization of the genes that encode the subunit proteins that make up the G protein family.  He and his co-workers have generated a variety of mutant mice deficient in components of the G-protein signaling cascade.  Their work on the visual system together with Dr. Denis Baylor's laboratory at Stanford has helped to define the in vivo function of elements of the G-protein mediated phototransduction cascade, and the molecular mechanisms involved in retinal degeneration.  More recently Dr. Simon has been working on G-protein receptors that are involved in nociception.

    Dr. Simon's group has also played an important role in the Human Genome Project.  They invented the Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) vector and built many of the initial libraries that provided the basic material for the Human Genome Project.  They played an integral role in developing the maps of human chromosomes 16 and 22.  Their work was the basis for determination of the complete sequence of chromosome 22.

    In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Simon received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1978.  He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986 and received the Selman Waxman award from the National Academy of Sciences in 1991.  He has chaired a variety of national and international meetings and has presented many special named lectures.  Dr. Simon served as Chairman of the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology from 1995-2000.

    Dr. Simon has been involved in a variety of capacities with philanthropic and commercial organizations.  He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Agouron Institute and he was a founding member of Agouron Pharmaceuticals.  He is also a founder and a member of the Board of Directors of Diversa Corporation and serves as consultant and member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of a number of biotechnology companies.  Dr. Simon has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the advisory board of the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), the Hutchinson Institute, the Board of Governors of the American Society of Microbiology, and as a member of a variety of advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. 

    Dr. Simon also serves on the Editorial Board of a number of journals and is co-editor-in-chief with Dr. John Abelson of the Methods in Enzymology series.

Alexander Singer

Alex Singer is a film director based in Los Angeles. In his ongoing 40-year career he has directed over 280 television shows, in all forms and 5 theatrical features. The body of work includes some of the best dramatic TV series: Profiles in Courage, The Fugitive, The Bold Ones, Police Story, Lou Grant, Cagney and Lacy, Hill Street Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

Among Alex's awards are an Emmy and a Humanitas Award. He has lectured and taught film production and directing at a number of universities including UCLA and USC, private institutions and the Directors Guild of America.

He is a member of the DGA's Committee on the Future of Directing. The group's function is to examine and prepare for the consequences of the transformations in film making arts and commerce arising from Information Technology.

In 1968, he was instrumental in obtaining a grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity for a school where film production crafts were taught to disadvantaged young people, many of whom entered the mainstream.

Under contract to MCA/Universal Studios in 1990/91, he headed a task force assigned to integrate established motion picture technologies with computer mediated forms of entertainment at the Orlando Florida theme park. Continued with MCA as principal consultant on the development of the entertainment applications of advanced forms of Virtual Reality technologies.

In 1993/94, he worked with the National Research Councils' project on the convergence of computers, telecommunications, and entertainment. In 1996/97, he worked on the NRC's project examining possible synergies between the Defense Modeling and Simulation Organization and the entertainment industry.

He is a longtime Network member of Global Business Network, a business think tank whose particular strength is in developing scenario building strategic planning skills within organizations.

At the University of Southern California Engineering Schools' Integrated Media Systems Center, he held the title of Senior Research Scholar and is now on their Science Advisory Board. The Center's faculty and laboratories are devoted to developing the basic technologies that underlie the revolution in communication.

He is on the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Creative Technologies, a joint U.S. Army and USC effort to explore and meld the creative resources of the cinema arts and communication technologies towards improving training and planning for the military.

In 1999 he was part of a DARPA sponsored ISAT (Information Science and Technology) study group on "Building a (digital) Time Machine". Through 2000 he was a member of a second .ISA T study group on "Total Recall: Combining Human and Digital Memory".

In the Spring semester of 2001 Singer taught a full credit 17 week course at USC's School of Electrical Engineering entitled; ENHANCING POWERS OF EXPRESSION FOR ENGINEERS: Effective communication for engineers at the intersection of technology, the arts and multimedia.

Last August, as part of an annual "Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence" Conference in Seattle, Microsoft Research asked him to give a banquet address on aspects of Uncertainty in both the actual production of films and as it occurs within a films' intrinsic form.

William Swartout

William Swartout is Director of Technology at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies and one of its founding employees. Dr. Swartout has been involved in artificial intelligence research for over 25 years. His particular research interests include intelligent agents, immersive virtual reality, knowledge-based systems, knowledge representation, knowledge acquisition and natural language generation. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from MIT and his bachelor's degree from Stanford University.

At the Institute for Creative Technologies, he leads the Mission Rehearsal Exercise project, which is creating an immersive virtual reality environment in which trainees interact with computer generated virtual humans, who play the part of local civilians and friendly and opposing forces.  The behavior of the virtual humans is not pre-scripted, instead they use artificial intelligence to reason about the events as they unfold and react appropriately. This project received awards in 2001 for outstanding innovation in modeling and simulation from the NTSA and took first place for innovative application of agent technology at the 2001 International Conference on Autonomous Agents.

Dr. Swartout is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), has been elected to the Board of Councilors of the AAAI and is past chair of the Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGART) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  He has served as program co-chair for national and international conferences on artificial intelligence, including the Eighth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-90) and the Third International Conference on Principles of Knowledge and Reasoning (KR-92).

John Underkoffler

John Underkoffler serves as science & technology advisor to willing film productions, including Minority Report; The Hulk; and the miniseries Taken. Interstitially he pursues non-fictional science and engineering work, engaging in projects for the entertainment industry; for the music industry; in lingering association with academia; and to his own fevered ends. All this, at the moment, takes place in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

A nation's width earlier, John was a researcher and student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which after fifteen years he emerged mildly scathed but with three degrees. During that interval he was associated with the Spatial Imaging Group, in which he was responsible for innovations in both optical and electronic holography; and then subsequently with the Tangible Media Group, in which he developed the I/O Bulb concept and prototypes. An application built on this latter system, an Urban Planning simulation workbench called Urp, is in ongoing use as a teaching and research tool in MIT's School of Architecture & Planning.

His technology-based art- and design-works have been exhibited on several continents and have received various awards. He is one-third the founder of the self-scripting performance troupe Hoist Point Orchestra. He is a lapsed member of the U.S. Bobsled Federation but has also fallen from the top of a four-story building. He finally insists that the English language's greatest living (or recently so) authors must include Toby Olson, Nicholas Mosley, D.F. Wallace, Don DeLillo, Alasdair Gray, and William Gaddis.

Inder Verma

Dr. Verma is an American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology in the Laboratory of Genetics at The Salk Institute, and Adjunct Professor, Dept. Biology, UCSD.  Major research interests are oncogenes and tumor suppressors, normal genes whose alteration can cause cancer. A second component of his research is the development of techniques for gene therapy.

Dr. Verma was born in India, received a master's degree from Lucknow University, and a Ph.D. from The Weizmann Institute of Science. After postdoctoral study at MIT, he joined The Salk Institute. In 1995 he was elected to The Third World Academy of Sciences. In 1997, Dr. Verma was selected to be one of the first three March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Franklin D. Roosevelt Investigators and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.  In 1999 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and in 2000 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Curtis Wong

BA, Environmental Science, UCLA; MBA, California State Univ., Los Angeles
Predicting the next big thing is more than idle speculation for Curtis Wong, as he's made a career out of building the first great examples of media to come. Wong is responsible for envisioning where Microsoft's future interactive media technologies can enhance the consumer media experience. His group has worked on a variety of future television technologies for Microsoft along with outside collaborations with PBS/WGBH to pioneer the first enhanced broadband streamed documentary series: The Commanding Heights. Other collaborations include working with the Seattle Art Museum to create a virtual dig for their Treasures from a Lost Civilization exhibition. Past Experience: His entire career has been at the intersection of media and technology. Previously, Wong was director of Intel Productions, where he created, the first broadband art musuem exhibition network on the Internet, with shows from the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum. Wong also managed the creation of the Poetry of Structure accompanying the first enhanced digital television broadcast in the US of Ken Burns' film Frank Lloyd Wright. He was also the founding Director of Corbis Productions (Bill Gates' digital image company). As an Executive Producer there, he was responsible for a number of critically acclaimed CD-ROM titles including A Passion for Art and Leonardo da Vinci. Prior to his work at Corbis, Wong produced award winning enhanced laserdiscs for feature films such as The Great Escape, Jason and the Argonauts and Goldfinger, among others for the Voyager Company, a pioneer in multimedia CD-ROMs. His CD-ROM credits include Pedro Meyer's I Photograph to Remember.

Suzanne Woolsey

Dr. Woolsey has been active at the intersection of government policy, private industry, and the science community for many years. She began her professional career as a systems and policy analyst in the office of Elliott Richardson, then Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1977 she became the Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, overseeing 52% of the federal budget. In 1980 she joined the editorial board of the Washington Post, writing editorials and op-ed pieces on domestic policy. At the end of that year she joined Coopers and Lybrand as a consulting partner, managing strategic work with universities and research institutes. In 1989 she joined The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to direct their work in behavioral and social sciences and education. After three years she became the Academies' first Chief Operating Officer, a position she held until May of 2000. She is presently serving as the Chief Communications Officer of The National Academies, spearheading a major initiative to improve engagement between the scientific community and a wide range of the public. She is also serving on a range of boards, including the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Van Kampen Mutual Funds, the Colorado College, Neurogen and Genevention Corporations and the Institute for Defense Analyses. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a BA with honors from Stanford in history and psychology and MA and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard in clinical and social psychology.


Julia Kim
(310) 448-0349
Sherry Lassiter
(617) 253-4651
Erika Shugart
(202) 334-3864