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$400K federally-funded nano-comedy film available

From Popular Science, an article by Sarah Webb on a humorous educational nanotech video called When Things Get Small, “an irreverant, madcap, comically corny romp into the world of things ‘nano’ “:

“The 30-minute flick—a collaboration between physicist Ivan Schuller of the University of California at San Diego and producer Rich Wargo—is a corny romp through Schuller’s research into building the world’s smallest magnet. Before becoming a scientist, Schuller studied theater in college, an avocation that sparked his passion for changing the way scientists communicate with the public. His shtick is science as entertainment, and When Things Get Small is his first film effort. It may not be high art, but it smoothly introduces physics concepts while poking fun at stuffy science stereotypes—kind of like Beakman’s World for nanotech…

“He could have just published his findings on nanotech in a prestigious journal and called it a day (which he’s been doing over a 30-year career in science). Instead he spent three years and $400,000 dollars, underwritten by the National Science Foundation, UCSD and others, to make a funny movie about his project.”

Maybe this is a good use of tax money, and maybe not. Comments? —Christine

One Response to “$400K federally-funded nano-comedy film available”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    No, not a waste of money at all. Science as a whole has a problem. Image! Ask the average Joe Soap to name a famous scientist and if you are lucky you will get Einstein. The image conjured up of Einstein is of when he was an old man with scraggy grey hair, etc. This was not when he did his greatest work; He came up with his theories while he was a young man. Yet, we have this stereotypical image of scientists being old, male and having crazy unkempt hair, beards and wearing glasses. To put it in blunt terms, science is not sexy!

    The general public have a vision of scientists working away in their labs, on issues that have absolutely no relevance to their daily lives. If however, science can be explained simply, with the emphasis on real world applications, people become interested, and want to participate. Then, everyone benefits. I work in the field of nanotechnology, but also learned something for the movie. Ivan Schuller’s efforts should be applauded!

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