The End of an Era…

As a final blog post, I thought it might be fun to recap the semester and reflect on what I learned in this course. Although the course focused on science in films, we also spent a good deal of time talking about natural disasters. It was somewhat ironic that we missed our first week of class due to inclement weather since a lot of our discussion turned to global warming. It certainly served as a good segue to the films Absolute Zero and Day After Tomorrow.

When we were finally able to meet for class (I believe it wasn’t until the third week of school!) we began to select a natural disaster of our choice to research. We also divided into teams of two to select and critically analyze a film that involved science. Thankfully, there was a wide range of variety that was chosen. During the natural disasters unit we covered volcanic eruptions, limnic eruptions, plagues, viruses, fires, floods, and several other interesting topics. Each presentation was well delivered and very informative.

The list of movies that we watched included Children of Men, Idiocracy, The Happening, Sunshine, and Outbreak just to name a few. Some of the movies were quite enjoyable while others were difficult to watch, but at the end of each we were able to identify several different scientific inconsistencies. I had seen many of the movies prior to the class, but I hadn’t realized how scientifically inaccurate some of them were.

As our final class project, we visited a 5th grade class to pass on the critical thinking skills we learned throughout the semester. We showed the class movie clips from Indiana Jones, Dante’s Peak, and The Core and asked them to analyze them from a scientific perspective. The kids did an excellent job with the exercise. It was a great way to end the semester.

This class has changed the way I watch movies and television shows. No longer will I subscribe to the Absolute Zero adage “Science is never wrong!” I am now able to identify inconsistencies and understand why a director may have chosen to present information in a particular way.

On a final note, I want to thank Dr. Pillar and the rest of the students in the class for making it an enjoyable experience! It was certainly one of the most enjoyable honors courses that I have ever taken. I looked forward to coming to class each week and I was able to enjoy science which is not my academic discipline of choice. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention our article in the Charlotte Observer as one of the highlights of the semester! Have a great summer break everyone!

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