Lab Coats in Hollywood by David A. Kirby
Science, Scientists, and Cinema

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Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968, is
perhaps the most scientifically accurate film ever produced. The film presented such a plausible,
realistic vision of space flight that many moon hoax proponents believe that Kubrick staged the 1969
moon landing using the same studios and techniques. Kubrick's scientific verisimilitude in
2001 came courtesy of his science consultants -- including two former NASA
scientists -- and the more than sixty-five companies, research organizations, and government
agencies that offered technical advice. Although most filmmakers don't consult experts as
extensively as Kubrick did, films ranging from A Beautiful Mind and
Contact to Finding Nemo and The Hulk have
achieved some degree of scientific credibility because of science consultants. I n Lab
Coats in Hollywood
, David Kirby examines the interaction of science and cinema: how
science consultants make movie science plausible, how filmmakers negotiate scientific accuracy
within production constraints, and how movies affect popular perceptions of science. Drawing on
interviews and archival material, Kirby examines such science consulting tasks as fact checking and
shaping visual iconography. Kirby finds that cinema can influence science as well: Depictions of
science in popular films can promote research agendas, stimulate technological development, and even
stir citizens into political action.


About David A. Kirby

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David A. Kirby is Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Manchester, England.
Published February 4, 2011 by The MIT Press. 280 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Hollywood's employment of scientific advisors is more complex than mere verisimilitude—it's an intricate dance with risks and rewards for both parties, argues Kirby in his first book, a history of Hollywood's relationship with science.

Apr 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Lab Coats in Hollywood: Scien...


Kirby’s thesis in Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema, which argues that plausible science can help a film be successful, while a well-done film broaching scientific topics can do much to increase public awareness and appreciation for science.

Jun 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Lab Coats in Hollywood: Scien...

Project MUSE

Scholarly books dealing with the role of science or scientists in Hollywood film have, historically, been hit-or-miss.

| Read Full Review of Lab Coats in Hollywood: Scien...

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