Saturday, January 20, 2007

Biologists as Mad Scientists

Emory University Physics Professor Sidney Perkowitz writes about physics (and physicists)in the movies ("Hollywood Physics"), and notes the stereotypical scientist-as-bad-guy may no longer be a physicist willing to blow up the world:
With new fears awakened in the public's mind by developments in biology - cloning, pandemic diseases, exotic viruses and biological weapons - the villains have become the bioscientists, in films like The Boys from Brazil (1978), Outbreak (1995) and The Island (2005). Meanwhile, some physicists are now even depicted as helping humanity. For example, in The Manhattan Project (1986), physicist John Mathewson (John Lithgow) abandons his method for making weapons-grade plutonium using laser separation after seeing how badly the government treats teenage scientific genius Paul Stephens (Christopher Collet). And in Chain Reaction (1996) and The Saint (1997), physicists and an electrochemist develop limitless, non-polluting fusion power and give the technology freely to the world.
I'm not sure if it's such a good thing that biologists are starting to get their props as mad scientists.

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