Physics Colloquium - Friday, Sept. 21th, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200

Hollywood Science: Golden Eagles and Turkeys of Science on

Screen or, Where's the Sci in Sci Fi Films?


Sidney Perkowitz

Physics Department, Emory University






A century after the first science fiction film was made in 1902, these movies have become a cultural force – winning awards, bringing huge financial returns, and entering our daily vocabulary. Some make terrible bloopers as they present pseudoscience along with imaginary disasters and nerdy or evil scientists. Others actually teach some science. From early efforts like Metropolis (1927) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) to modern films like Blade Runner, (1982), Gattaca (1997), and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), we'll have fun picking their all-time best and worst. We'll also ask some serious questions: What do these movies say about science and society? Do they inspire would-be scientists? Can they help us come to terms with global warming, genetic engineering, and other big issues?


Sidney Perkowitz, Emory's Candler Professor of Physics, writes nonfiction, stage plays, and screenplays about science. His books include Empire of Light, Universal Foam, and Digital People. His latest, Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, and the End of the World, will be published in November by Columbia University Press.






        Additional sponsorship for this talk comes from the Science Drama Laboratory Project.