This edition: Episode #104: "Kingsman: The Secret Service" & "Particle Fever"Tweet
Original tape date: March 12, 2015.
First aired: May 27, 2015.
In episode #104 of Science Goes to the Movies, co-hosts Faith Salie and Dr. Heather Berlin continue a conversation with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson – Director of The American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium – for Part II on how scientists, and science itself, are depicted in Kingsman: The Secret Service, the 2013 documentary Particle Fever, and our culture generally.
Kingsman: The Secret Service leads to a conversation about our fascination with gadgets and gizmos, and how they transcend the usual fear of science among non-scientists. The control we exert over gadgets like our smartphones is contrasted with the powerlessness we face when considering science like that depicted in Particle Fever, which looks at the first experiments conducted using the Large Hadron Collider, a machine some feared could create a Black Hole.
Tyson also breaks down a pattern he’s observed: a scientific discovery is followed by negative depictions of what the discovery might precipitate. The neuroscience of what makes people consider a worst-case outcome is discussed, and Tyson and the hosts share what in today’s scientific landscape is genuinely frightening to them. Tyson also registers problems with Stephen Hawking’s claim that we ought to work on becoming a multiple-planet species.
Next they take on depictions of women and black people in scientific contexts, and how seeing them in such roles helps to dissolve subconscious biases. Finally, Tyson shares the plot of a movie he’d like to make, as well as his choice of who would play him in his biopic.
Science Goes to the Movies is made possible by generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Director, Hayden Planetarium, The American Museum of Natural History
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