Courtesy of Edgeworx/A. Cross/J. Dunn for NOVA
 SCIENTIST STAR Brian Greene uses special effects to initiate readers in string theory

ABC Television turned the best-selling book Dinotopia, about a fantasy world where dinosaurs talk and play ping-pong, into a miniseries. The network celebrated by hosting a party at, of all places, the faculty club of the California Institute of Technology. The event featured network executives, celebrities, and an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex. At least one young scientist would have been happy to see the T. rex eat them all. "Mammalian dinosaurs at Caltech? That's just wrong," says a paleontologist featured on "Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt," a documentary presented on cable network A&E.

Televised science fiction and fantasies from "Dinotopia" to "Star Trek" have always elicited groans from the science community. But when television tries to do real science, the pain can be even greater. It's a constant struggle to balance...

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