Bad Astronomy

Scientists in the movies

Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen
Scientists are multiplying in movies.
My old bud Dan Vergano wrote a great article in USA Today, um, today, about how scientists are portrayed in the movies. He talked to a lot of people who make movies, and others who do science, and… me. Hey, cool! I’m in an article with Ron Howard!

Also in there is Jennifer Ouellette – blogger, author, TAM 7 speaker, and person in charge of The Science and Entertainment Exchange, and fellow Hive Overmind blogger (and Jennifer’s hubby) Sean Carroll.

The article is entertaining, and does a good job of talking about how scientists are seen in flicks, how that image has changed (imagine the coldly logical scientists from the original version of The Thing from Another World, for example, or Bernard Quatermass from the 1950s/60s British serials, compared to scientists in recent movies who have families and lives), and why producers care more about that now than they used to. I’m glad to hear it. I think movies have a powerful influence on how we see both science and scientists. I’m glad Hollywood understands that and wants to take care of that legacy, too, and I know that with Jennifer at the helm the SEE will help that happen.