Saturday, February 06, 2010

Mad, Bad and dangerous

I have just finished reading "Mad, Bad and dangerous --the scientist and the cinema", by Christopher Frayling. In my first draft of the post I had a sentence of the form: "Among us hard science types we don't much like media studies type degrees". When I thought about I couldn't remember actually having a discussion about "media studies" with anyone, and in fact I have no idea what the field of media studies actually involves. The tabloid press (via google news) are always complaining about the number of people taking degrees in media studies.

Anyway I thought Frayling's book was a great study of the scientist portrayed in the cinema. He discusses both the mad scientist film and the biopic (of Madame Curie for example). Given that some attempts to do outreach of research can be misrepresented by the press, it is important to understand how science is portrayed in the media. (Of course I can't blame the media for talking about the "God particle", that is bullshit from certain section of the physics community).

The end of the book is now slightly out of date, because of shows like: CSI, big bang theory, and num3ers, show scientists in a slightly more realistic light.