Science in Movies: Past, Present, and Future.

The Oscar season is upon us once again (Feb 27th), and so is the buzz about the nominees such as Inception, The Fighter, and Black Swan. Inception, the highest grosser of the three, follows in footsteps of many other highly grossing Academy Award winners such as Star Wars, Avatar, WALL-E, and The Matrix just to name a few.

The fact that these feature films were widely successful isn’t all that’s common about them, they are all also examples of popular sci-fi movies that have played a major role in our everyday lives. These movies, along with hundreds of similar ones, have in the past and continue to inspire the next generation of scientists, from physicists and astronomers to biologists and psychologists.

If the movie is good, that is, it acts as an “emotional medium” that plays a hand in planting a seed of curiosity in the young malleable minds of the youth, not only entertaining them, but also educating them. Even if the science in these movies is wrong, experts agree that they still have a positive influence by simply sprinkling some science into their lives.

This being said, how much positive influence ‘Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus’ (this trailer’s worth watching) has had is beyond me, or the number of scientists the upcoming  ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ will inspire for that matter. Nevertheless, even farfetched flicks like these can act as teaching moments for parents or teachers who can point out the reasons for the impossibility of such things and spark interest in science by those means.  The way I see it, it’s a win-win situation!

It’s no secret that kids are reading less these days; instead they are watching more TV and playing video games, but is that really that bad? I personally don’t think so. All that matters is that the young learn from these alternate sources of media and it is our job, as adults, to design and promote entertaining sci-fi movies both in and outside of classrooms. There’s no reason for why they can’t learn a little something about dreams from Inception or how space-travel-teleportation works from Star Trek. Science is fun, and these movies show exactly that!

The trailer to ‘Serenity,’ one of the most entertaining sci-fi films of our generation is below.

Written by: Jaymin Patel

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