Welcome to the new Sloan Science and Film! This site is a collaboration between the Sloan Foundation and the Museum of the Moving Image.
In a year when the early word on the Oscar race for Best Actor suggests the final voting might all come down to mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game) versus physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything), it feels like something is in the air around science and movies. There’s been no shortage of scientists on film throughout cinema’s history (1940, just of the top of my head, featured both Edward G. Robinson discovering the powers of penicillin in William Dieterle’s Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet and Spencer Tracy chewing scenery as Edison, the Man), but these days we’re seeing more science and scientists hit the screens, and not just in the form of typical sci-fi filmmaking. There’s now no lack of good science and better films for audiences to choose from. Is this a change in the culture at large? Are audiences today more savvy to science, more conditioned to watch films where the hero might be an egghead in lab coat as opposed to a gun-toting soldier? These are the kinds of questions this site will wrestle with going forward.
Over the new few months, Sloan Science and Film will be expanding its coverage, not just of Sloan activities and funded films (of which there are many—the program has had a terrific run over the past few years), but also of science on film in general. If you want to dive right in, read an interview with Sloan’s VP of Programs Doron Weber, who can catch you up on the philosophy behind his granting process. Then check out Anthony Kaufman’s interview with mathematician S. Barry Cooper about Alan Turing and the Sloan-funded The Imitation Game. A fan of science on television? Kate Patterson wraps up season 2 of BBC America’s cloning drama Orphan Black. And, of course, don’t forget to check out all the terrific Sloan-funded short films we have ready to watch on the site right now.