Okay, Eureka fans! As promised, here's PART TWO of our exclusive Q & A with science advisor Kevin Grazier!
Q: NATHAN STARK HAD A NOBEL PRIZE IN MATHEMATICS, BUT IN REALITY THERE IS NO NOBEL PRIZE OFFERED IN THE FIELD OF MATHEMATICS. AS SOMEONE WHO LOVES MATH, DOES THIS MAKE YOU ANGRY?
A: “Angry” is such a strong word. Besides, in my mind Stark was actually a chemist first and foremost (and there IS a Nobel Prize for that), as well as a mathematician. Hey, it happens. When my dissertation advisor at UCLA got tenure, he got it in THREE departments at once, one being mathematics. So why can’t Nathan Stark be similarly-blessed intellectually? How else would one come to be in charge of Eureka?
That said, I did make a pain of myself and remind The Powers That Be of this point early and often.Q: KEVIN, YOU WERE ALSO THE SCIENCE ADVISOR ON BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, A SHOW THAT TAKES PLACE ON OTHER WORLDS AND IN OUTER SPACE.
A: That's correct.
Q: DO YOU TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO GAUGING THE SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY IN A SHOW LIKE "BSG" AS OPPOSED TO AN EARTHBOUND SHOW LIKE "EUREKA?" AND IS THERE A DIFFERENT STANDARD EITHER TYPE OF SHOW IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR CONCERNING THE NEED FOR SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY?
A: Great questions! First of all, in addition to BSG, I did also work on the Virtuality pilot, as well as several other yet-to-be-released space-based projects. I’ve also worked on other “land-based” projects, and in all cases my approach is the same: what is the science we’re using/abusing/addressing, and how can we implement that as realistically as possible?
Sometimes the drama dictates that we can’t depict science perfectly accurately, and I get that. You would be surprised, though, how often getting the science correct in a show actually improves the drama. Sometimes one of the difficult parts of my job is selling that point to a writer who is basically happy with the science they’ve already written, have this massive wall of a deadline looming, and are far more interested, for example, in “How do I get Fargo into Section 5 in Act 3 when Stark already revoked his clearance in Act 1?”
Oh. And I made that up, so no it is not a spoiler.
You might think that, on a series about scientists doing science at a large national science laboratory, there would be a higher standard on Eureka, but I was super happy with the degree to which my suggestions were incorporated in the other series I’ve worked on to date.
I’ll also say up front (actually, I’ve been telling anybody who’ll listen) that I’m super excited about the direction that Eureka season four is taking!!!
Q: WHERE DO YOU LEARN ABOUT COOL, CUTTING EDGE SCIENCE? ARE THERE MAGAZINES OR BLOGS YOU READ ON A REGULAR BASIS OR DO YOU GET THE LATEST SCIENCE SCOOPS EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIENDS AND FELLOW SCIENTISTS?
A: I have a “Eureka” section of bookmarks on my browser, and when I’m browsing the Net and happen across something interesting and “out there”, it goes into that folder. I don’t have any web sites that I visit with any regularity.
I do read “Science News” and “Physics Today” pretty regularly and get plenty of ideas there.
While some of the
suggestions I have given on both Eureka (S.A.R.A.H. powered by a spare Cassini RTG) and Battlestar
Galactica (Galactica and the Fleet jump to different points because of
an absent coordinate update) are informed by my day-to-day experiences. For the most part, though, very little
of what I offer up as a science advisor comes from my life. Which is a good thing.
Q: OKAY. ONE LAST QUESTION... IS "42" REALLY THE ANSWER TO THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE?
A: We believe that the Artifact probably… Hang on, that’s Section 5 level information. Do you have the proper clearance?Q: YES.
A: Then you should already know the answer you seek.
We'd like to thank Kevin for taking time out from his busy schedule to help enlighten us! You're the best!