Public perception of chemistry

Public perception of chemistry

This project will explore the public perception of chemistry. Each participating student will analyze a movie. Movies may be selected from the list on the following page or the student may find analyze any other academically acceptable movie with a chemist or chemical theme. All reviews will use academically acceptable language, spelling, and grammar and be 400 words minimum.

For each movie, the student will post the following in the Chemistry in the Movies folder on Blackboard.

* Summary: Write a summary (20 words minimum) of the movie’s chemical theme.

* Most Important Scene: Write a description of the most important chemical scene, or scene about chemistry, from the movie (40 words minimum).

* The Chemistry Involved: Write a short evaluation of the chemistry, economics, or environmental impact involved in the scene.

* Is the Science Possible?: How realistic is the movie? Is the science possible? Research this and provide references. This is the most important part of the project.

* Portrayal of Chemistry and Chemists: Write a short evaluation of how this movie portrays chemistry and chemists.

* Three Facts that Prove I saw the Movie: Identify 3 key facts from the movie to prove that you actually watched the movie.

* Viewer Rating: Provide a viewer rating for other classmates to aid in their movie selection. Use the following scale: 1- Avoid at all cost, 2- Watch when you can’t sleep, 3– Worth renting, and 4- Must see.

Example: “The Invisible Man,” 1933, Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart. Chemist Jack Griffin takes monocaine, becomes invisible, goes mad, fails to develop reversion formula, wreaks havoc and is killed by the chief detective.

Summary: Dr. Jack Griffin was an assistant food preservation chemist. Dr Jack Griffin, an assistant food preservation chemist, is a brilliant scientist who used monocaine as the primary component of a concoction of chemicals to render himself invisible.

Most Important Scene: To me the most important chemistry set-up was when the laboratory manager was using a centrifuge with the test tubes circling in the air. The centrifuges that I have seen contain the test tubes in case they shatter. The most important only chemistry scene involved the discussion of the properties of monocaine by the laboratory manager.

The Chemistry Involved: Monocaine, the most important chemical in the formula, removes the color of anything it touches. In a human, it removes coloring from compounds that make up the body, leaving it so transparent that it appears to be invisible.

Is the Science Possible?: Owen (2005) reports that plasmodic covers may keep light from scattering and reduce the visibility of an object. Fox (2006) reported advances in invisibility theory. New metamaterials may be able to hide objects from visible light by bending light around the object and meeting at the opposite end. This makes the object appear to be invisible.

Fox suggested that “science-fiction portrayals of invisibility, such as the cloaking devices used to hide space ships in Star Trek, might be truly possible.” Owen (2006) asserted that a chemical route to human invisibility (as used in The Invisible Man) is unlikely because the biomolecules necessary for human life require the absorption and scattering of light. He observed that hiding objects by curving space itself is also unlikely. According to Owens, the most likely method that would work for rendering an object invisible would be bending light around the object.

In conclusion, the science of ingesting a chemical to become invisible is not likely, however, cloaking an object by bending light around the object may be possible in the future.

Portrayal of Chemistry and Chemists: The chemist originally has both a strong interest in chemistry and an interest in becoming an important scientist. His own desires and the chemical that he consumes drive him mad and eventually lead him to his own destruction. Science is seen as strong, powerful, and dangerous.

Three Facts that Prove I saw the Movie:
1. The centrifuge used in the movie spun the test tubes around in the air like a helicopter.
2. The owner of the hotel was named Mac.
3. The “stone” wall flopped when Dr. Griffin leaned on it.

Viewer Rating: I rate this move as a 1 out of 4. It was very long and very slow. I recommend students try a different movie unless they like old black and white movies.

References:
Fox, M. 2006. Invisibility device possible, in theory. News in Science. Friday, 26 May 2006 Retrieved on July 2007 from http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1648328.htm

Owen, J. 2005. Invisibility Shields Planned by Engineers. National Geographic. 28 Feb 2005 Retrieved on July 2007 from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0228_050228_invisibility.html

Smith, D.R. 2006. Blueprint for Invisibility. Novel Electromagnetic Materials. 28 May 2006 Retrieved on July 2007 from http://www.ee.duke.edu/~drsmith/cloaking.html

Laemmle .C. Jr.(Producer), & Whale, J. (Director). (1933). “The Invisible Man”. United States of America: New Universal.

Movie List

Choose from the Movie List or Suggest a Title to your Instructor.

Note – Make sure to use APA within text citations and References. You will need more information than is given in the movie list to cite the movie properly. All information should be available on the movie package or online. The APA format for a film is:

Producer, P. P. (Producer), & Director, D.D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio or distributor.

Suggested Movies

“Fantastic Four”, 2005, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis. Genius Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) is involve in research into human DNA. When a powerful force interacts with human DNA, humans are genetically transformed superheroes with superhuman powers.

“Equlibrium,” 2002. Christian Bale, David Barrash. Prozium is a mind-altering drug that suppresses human emotions.

“Spiderman”, 2002, Stanley Anderson, Gerry Becker, Jack Betts, Tobey Maguire, and Bruce Campbell. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is bitten by a genetically-altered spider and his DNA mutates so that he gains superhuman strength and the ability to cling to any surface.

“The Sum of All Fears,” 2002, Ben Affleck. The origin of the nuclear bomb was determined by tracing the atomic signature of bomb fragments found near the blast site.

“Formula 51,” 2001, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle. L.A. street chemist Elmo McElroy is in Liverpool to sell his latest creation, 51 a new drug made of completely legal ingredients is invented that is 51 times more powerful
than any other drug.

“Erin Brockovich,” 2000, Julia Roberts. Erin lands a job at the Pacific Gas & Electric Company and she discovers that it is trying to buy land contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste.

“True Lies,” 1999, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis. Harry Tasker is a secret agent working undercover as a spy to capture a terrorist who is planning on destroying a U.S. state each week unless a ransom is paid.

“The Serpent and the Rainbow,” 1988, Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson. Scientist Dennis Alan investigates chemical basis for zombiism in Haiti in hopes it may become an anesthetic. Based on a true story.

“Batman & Robin.” 1997, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney. Mr. Freeze is a molecular biologist (also known as a biochemist) who wants to cure his wife of a deadly genetic disease.

“The Rock.” 1997, Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage. The chemical scene takes place in the discussion to prevent VX Gas from killing about 60,000-70,000 people in San Francisco.

“The Saint.” 1997, Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue. Simon Templar is an international thief who plans to steal the formula for cold-fusion from Dr. Emma Russel, an electrochemist working at Oxford, and deliver it to a Russian billionaire.

“Love Potion #9,” 1992. Sandra Bullock, Tate Donovan. Tate Donovan stars as a geek biochemist who cant talk to women, is persuaded by his friends to visit a gypsy, Madame Ruth.

“Silkwood,” 1983. Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, and Cher. Dramatization of the story of Karen Silkwood, the Oklahoma nuclear-plant worker who blew the whistle on dangerous practices at the Kerr-McGee plant and who died under circumstances which are still under debate.

“Fantastic Voyage”, 1966, Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch. A brilliant scientist falls into a coma with an inoperable blood clot in the brain, A surgical team journeys to the center of his mind in a submarine shrunk to microscopic dimensions.

“The Nutty Professor,” 1963, Stella Stevens, Jerry Lewis wrote, directed and starred. Nerdy chemistry professor Julius Kelp creates elixir that transforms him into swinger Buddy Love.

“The Absent-Minded Professor,” 1961, Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson, Keenan Wynn. Chemistry professor Ned Brainard creates flying rubber called flubber.

“Monkey Business,” 1952, Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe. Chemist Barnaby Fulton tests youth formula on himself. Monkey creates better formula and puts it in water cooler.

“The Man in the White Suit,” 1951, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood. Chemist Sidney Stratton develops a fabric that never gets dirty or wears out. Garment industry owners and workers try to suppress.

“Madame Curie,” 1943, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon. Biography of Madame Curie and husband Pierre, who co-discovered radioactive elements.

“Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet,” 1940, Edward G Robinson, Ruth Gordon. Biography of Paul Ehrlich, who discovered a drug cure for syphilis despite opposition from colleagues.

“Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” 1931, Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins. Jekyll discovers a chemical that can separate the good and evil sides of someone’s personality and tries some.

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