Science on Film

As scientists we get a pretty hard time of it.  If we’re not struggling for publishable results, or being misquoted in the press about our research; then we’re being portrayed as über-geeks in The Big Bang Theory or with cinema-screen foreheads and clipboards in adverts (I’m looking at you Tefal).  Some of my non-science friends still call me boffin. If that isn’t enough, our subject matter, our interest, nae, our passion can be treated with such cavalier contempt in films.

As I see it, there are several issues to address here.  There is a fair amount (as you might expect) of bad science in movies; however there is also some good science (or at least the director has made an attempt to grasp some basics).  Quite often the scientist is the voice of reason (though the incidence of anyone paying them any attention is rather less); more often than not however, the mad scientist is the preferred flavour.  Finally I shall give some thought to the stereotypes that are perpetuated in the movies and whether there is any likelihood that it may change.

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Everest (2015)

Directed by Icelander Baltasar Kormákur, Everest is the account of the 1996 disaster on the world’s highest mountain.  Based on Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” the film is a faithful interpretation, thankfully never straying into either Cliffhanger or Vertical Limit territory.

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Sanctum (2011)

I don’t think that you would ever catch me caving, at least not beyond having a peek into one you happen upon on a walk.  Not least because being cold and wet isn’t my idea of fun, couple that to squeezing through tight underwater spaces and you may have discovered one of the thing I would least like to do in life.  Having said all that, I quite enjoyed Sanctum.

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