That's Doron Weber's job. And he gives
away millions each year to make it happen.
Doron Weber spends his working life trying to help people
understand science and technology. But he doesn't sit around
gazing at test tubes, building circuits, or measuring fruit fly
Instead, he reads screenplays, TV treatments, plays, and book
As a program director for the $1.4 billion Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation, Weber gives out around $10 million a year to stimulate
compelling works of art dealing with scientific topics, everything
from grants for works in progress to money awarded for works Sloan
didn't back but wants to highlight and congratulate. He's forged
partnerships with leading film schools like the University of
California, the American Film Institute, and Columbia University,
along with Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival and Robert De
Niro's Tribeca Film Festival.
Weber, 50, has funneled Sloan money to support books (among them
Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science,
Faith, and Love and Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies
Choose to Fail or Succeed), PBS programs on topics such as
genetics and string theory, and plays such as David Auburn's
Proof, the Broadway hit that won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer
in 2001. This year, Miramax will release the movie version of
Proof, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins.
Another Sloan-backed project, tentatively titled Face Value,
could hit the big screen next year. It's the story of movie goddess
Hedy Lamarr, who, during World War II, cocreated and patented an
invention intended for a secure, remote-control guidance system for
U.S. torpedoes; since then, her work has helped build today's
wireless-communications infrastructure. "Sex and science have never
been so closely intertwined," says Weber.