Just the facts
My response as an educator to much of the outrageous science depicted in so many of the recent blockbuster hits is very different from that of many of the scientists quoted (“What’s Wrong with This Picture?” SN: 10/16/04, p. 250: What’s Wrong with This Picture?). The films provide a wonderful source of science projects that students actually relish. The more outrageous the science, the greater they delight in debunking it. They’re learning to view the world with an analytical eye, and that’s the beginning of learning to do science.
San Francisco, Calif.
A comment about the article’s references to The Day After Tomorrow. The filmmakers’ commentaries on the DVD make it clear that the time frames in the movie were artistic license. But the film correctly identifies serious scientific issues and their impacts on the real world. Perhaps we could say (as others have) that good science fiction should not be taken literally but that it should be taken seriously.
Your coverage of the classic film A Trip to the Moon was informative, but you failed to cover the first science fiction film about spaceflight that made the effort to be technically accurate. If you can find the 1949 film Destination Moon, watch it. It still is the pioneering film on space travel.
It’s hard to believe that a feature article on the influences of movies and TV on science education could be written without mentioning Star Trek. The series stirred the interest of a generation of astronauts, physicists, astronomers, and others.