Science and the Cinema - SCIF1004

Faculty: Faculty of Science

School: School of Chemistry

Course Outline:

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3.5

CSS Contribution Charge: 2 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

Available for General Education: Yes (more info)

View course information for previous years.


Imagine Keanu Reeves, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Shue or Kate Winslet as scientists. Well Hollywood has, in a series of movies which use real scientific concepts as an integral part of the plot. Often the script writers stretch these concepts beyond the realms of reality to make the movies even more exciting. In this general education elective you will view twelve movies which deal with a range of scientific issues (and we don't just mean science fiction here!).

This intensive course will run at the start of Summer. The first five movies will each be preceeded by a guest lecture from a suitable expert in the scientific field featured in the movie. They will discuss how faithfully the movies portray the science and look at some of the social and ethical issues related to the science that are explored in the films. For the following five (complementary) movies, you will be expected to watch these movies online during a 'virtual week', in which you will use the skills and science taught in the preceding week to independently delve even deeper into both the science and its dramatised representation in the movie.

There will be an opportunity to debate scientific and ethical issues raised by the movies. Not only that but you will get to meet some of the movies stars currently masquerading as chemists in the School of Chemistry. Movies you will see include Gattica (starring Ethan Hawke, Jude Law and Uma Thurman), Jurassic Park (Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern), Day After Tomorrow (Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum) and more. So come along, see some movies and you might learn some basic stuff about how to make your own genetically modified organism, alternative sources of energy and how science could save the world if only the world wanted saving.


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