A Hollywood Producer and a Scientist Talk Disasters Part 2: Respond

Mass panic and overturned cars in the streets are fun in movies, but is that how people really act during disasters? In Part 2 of our team up with the Science and Entertainment Exchange and their Ask A Scientist series, Hollywood producer Diana Williams talks with disasterologist Dr. Samantha Montano about the number one myth surrounding disasters and how more than 50 years of research may make you think twice the next time you watch a disaster movie.

You can watch Part 1 here.


Diana Williams is the Executive Vice President of Creative at Madison Wells Media (MWM), a diversified entertainment media company concentrated on premium content creation in film, television, immersive media and live entertainment. Before joining MWM, Diana worked with Lucasfilm Story Group, the team charged with developing the narrative cohesion and connectivity with the Star Wars universe.

Dr. Samantha Montano became interested in disasters following a trip to New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina and the Levee Failure. She holds a BS in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans and an MS and PhD in Emergency Management from North Dakota State University. Dr. Montano is currently an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy where she has taught a variety of courses including disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation, vulnerable populations in disaster, and disaster communications.

#AskAScientist is a down-and-dirty, shot-at-home, short video series of uncertain duration and frequency in which friends of the Science and Entertainment Exchange talk to scientists who answer their most pressing questions about the state of the state in science.

If you are interested in disasters, you may like our Extreme Event game!  Take a look at the trailer below, then learn how to bring the Extreme Event Game to your group, community, or classroom by downloading our free game materials.

If you have run the Extreme Event Game in your group or classroom, we would love to feature a story about you! Send an email to labx@nas.edu.