This week’s “Ask a scienceblogger” is more pop culture than actual science:
What movie do you think does something admirable (though not necessarily accurate) regarding science? Bonus points for answering whether the chosen movie is any good generally.
Thoughts after the jump…
I’m one of those people who forgets about 90% of the movies I watch, so I welcome suggestions from y’all in the comments about other good answers to the question. As for me, along the lines of coturnix’s post on making science–and scientists–cool, one of my favorite movies ever is Real Genius. Val Kilmer plays Chris, a genius/slacker at a MIT-type institution, filled to the brim with science prodigies. He’s lost his inspiration until a younger genius, Mitch, arrives at the college and ends up as his roomate. Along the way, Chris teaches Mitch how to relax a bit, and Mitch reignites Chris’s passion for science.
Sure, along the way they find out that the laser they’re working on for Chris’s boss (Dr. Hathaway) is actually intended to be used for nefarious military purposes, and Hathaway’s other student is a suck-up that Chris and Mitch mentally torture, but the movie makes science nerds look cool. They even create a temporary indoor ice skating rink–could your business major buddies do that?
Now, sure, much of this isn’t plausible or accurate, and a bit of the mad/bad scientist is on display via Dr. Hathaway’s character. But score one for the sci/tech nerds winning in the end, without having to be tortured by frat boys as in some other nerd hero movies.
If you haven’t seen the movie, rent it. It’s a moral imperative.