Nav: Home

Scientific education through films?

January 28, 2016

Magic swords, wands, cauldrons and cloaks of invisibility do not exist in reality. In contrast, it is possible that scenarios like crashed aircrafts looming out of the mists of an alien planet, patients being snatched from the jaws of death by a risky medical breakthrough, or smug murderers who are betrayed by a few molecules left at the scene of crime are part of our current or future reality. Those along with other manifestations of science in films may even have greater potential to capture an audience's attention than pure products of our imaginations.

On top of that, could films add to the public's education by giving people an understanding of actual state-of-the-art science and technology? That's the question Kevin R. Grazier and Stephen Cass pursue in their book Hollyweird Science: From Quantum Quirks to the Multiverse.

According to the authors, the portrayal of science in fiction is often grounded in real-world, cutting-edge science and technology. They look at Hollywood depictions science to discover that the film industry is actually doing quite a good job of familiarizing the public with scientific facts. They examine topics such as quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and alien worlds to examine screen science fiction from the sometimes-conflicting vantage points of storytellers, researchers, and viewers. In order to present an authentic and many-voiced survey on the field, the authors include material from interviews with writers, producers, and directors of acclaimed science-themed productions as well as scientists and science fictions authors.

The result is a book that is appealing to all readers from the layperson to the armchair expert to the professional scientist, and will delight all of them equally through its lighthearted and quirky style.
-end-
Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D. was a research scientist for fifteen years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. Still an active researcher, he performs large-scale computer simulations of early Solar System evolution. Grazier served as the science advisor for the film Gravity, and on the television series Eureka, Defiance, Ascension and the Peabody-Award-winning Battlestar Galactica. Stephen Cass is an Irish science and technology journalist based in New York City. He has been an editor at Discover magazine and MIT Technology Review and has written for outlets such as Popular Science and Nautilus. He has also edited several science fiction anthologies and currently works as a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum.

Springer

Related Technology Articles:

Rethinking the role of technology in the classroom
Introducing tablets and laptops to the classroom has certain educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests that tech has its limitations as well.
The science and technology of FAST
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a radio quiet zone, with the targets (e.g., radio pulsars and neutron stars, galactic and extragalactic 21-cm HI emission).
AI technology could help protect water supplies
Progress on new artificial intelligence (AI) technology could make monitoring at water treatment plants cheaper and easier and help safeguard public health.
Transformative technology
UC Davis neuroscientists have developed fluorescence sensors that are opening a new era for the optical recording of dopamine activity in the living brain.
Do the elderly want technology to help them take their medication?
Over 65s say they would find technology to help them take their medications helpful, but need the technology to be familiar, accessible and easy to use, according to research by Queen Mary University of London and University of Cambridge.
Technology detecting RNase activity
A KAIST research team of Professor Hyun Gyu Park at Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering developed a new technology to detect the activity of RNase H, a RNA degrading enzyme.
Taking technology to the next level
Physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) developed a new hybrid integrated platform, promising to be a more advanced alternative to conventional integrated circuits.
How technology use affects at-risk adolescents
More use of technology led to increases in attention, behavior and self-regulation problems over time for adolescents already at risk for mental health issues, a new study from Duke University finds.
Hold-up in ventures for technology transfer
The transfer of technology brings ideas closer to commercialization. The transformation happens in several steps, such as invention, innovation, building prototypes, production, market introduction, market expansion, after sales services.
The ultimate green technology
Imagine patterning and visualizing silicon at the atomic level, something which, if done successfully, will revolutionize the quantum and classical computing industry.
More Technology News and Technology Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.