ACM - Computers in Entertainment

A Hollywood Premiere for the S.E.T. Awards

By John Davison

R to l: Brian Dyak, EIC; Rick Stephens, The Boeing Company; Leland Melvin, NASA; Nolan Bushnell

R to l: Brian Dyak, EIC; Rick Stephens, The Boeing Company; Leland Melvin, NASA; Nolan Bushnell

The inaugural Science, Engineering and Technology (S.E.T) Awards were presented last November at the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel. The SET Awards are a program of the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), a group whose goal is to bring the power and influence of the entertainment industry to bear on health and social issues.

The S.E.T Awards are designed to encourage students to get involved in science, engineering, and technology. Trophies are presented to feature films, television programs, and other media that portray these fields in an accurate, impactful, and entertaining way.

No less than Nolan Bushnell himself presented the Technology Award to the producers of “The Social Network.” Bushnell proclaimed, “Everyone views what you do in the entertainment industry as being a creative process. But many people, young people in particular, don't realize how much creativity is involved in the worlds of science, engineering, and technology. We have amazing minds in this country, capable of amazing discoveries. But that potential—their potential—won't be realized if we don't show kids how exciting that spark of inspiration can be!" Other films and programs honored Included “Avatar,” “Star Trek,” “Iron Man 2,” “CSI,” and “Bones.” 

Leland Melvin is a former astronaut who currently serves as the Associate Administrator of Education for NASA.  He understands young people sometimes perceive quantitative fields to be difficult and therefore less desirable; he explained to the audience that the S.E.T Awards "are changing the future of our children.” He continued, “Your influence is staggering and I cannot stress enough how we need world-class scientists and engineers to provide for economic growth and our nation’s well being."

The awards were made possible by support from Boeing. Rick Stephens, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, shared "this is just the beginning of the relationship between Hollywood and those of us who are dedicated to promoting science, engineering, and technology education. The entertainment industry is not only an ideal but a vital partner to reach young people, their parents, their teachers and their mentors."

Brian Dyak, the President and CEO of the EIC, said “the entertainment industry is magical in reaching within the popular culture, and accurate depictions are key to having young people be entertained and informed about the wonders of science, engineering, and technology and how to
make the world a better place.” 

For more information, including a full listing of the awards and winners, check out: