SFU faculty members set sights on Hollywood North

November 27, 2018
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A group of scientists has launched a consulting service in hopes of changing the science depicted in film, tv and video games from cringe-worthy to plausible.

SFU professor, volcanologist and co-founder Glyn Williams-Jones says, “Scientists have the knowledge to provide factual advice on sets, equipment and science, and to help actors portray real scientists in a field setting.”

He adds, “We live out many of these scenarios every day in real life.”

Their recently launched company, Eggheads Consulting, serves two goals.

First and foremost, Williams-Jones says, is to engender good science communication and boost the level of reality in movies and games that require some scientific authenticity.

The second is to provide employment to MSc/PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows who often need to seek alternative employment beyond academia.

Williams-Jones says the gig economy is a reality for many young academics and Eggheads is one way for them to support themselves and broaden their skill set.

He and co-founder Jeffrey Zurek, an SFU Earth scientist, have amassed a team of 24 scientists from a variety of occupations, including chemists, marine biologists, nurses, archaeologists, astrophysicists and particle physicists.

“All of us have vast networks of colleagues and students,” says Williams-Jones. “If one of us is too busy with our day jobs, we can pass along these opportunities to others who may be even more knowledgeable about niche areas.”

He hopes to capitalize on B.C.’s strong reputation as Hollywood North but says he isn’t quitting his day job any time soon.

“I’m having way too much fun running around on active volcanoes,” he says.

Most of Eggheads’ experts are employed in the university environment and are active in research.

“Really,” Williams-Jones, “we’re a bunch of science nerds who have the expertise to help make a story scientifically plausible.”