Public Release: 

Teaching Science Through Science Fiction

Temple University

Session: Science for the Naked Eye or the Physics of Everyday Experience, XXIV (PHY) Sunday, Feb. 15, 3-6 p.m.

Dr. Dubeck has extensively used science fiction films to teach science courses at the college and precollege levels. The use of these films seems to heighten the interest of the students in the subject matters and to debunk pseudo-science. The actual scientific principles illustrated or violated in the films are better understood by the students than if they are learned from more traditional approaches. Screening and discussing the films significantly enhanced the understanding of science as a discovery process for over half of 40 high school classes taught science using science fiction films. This understanding is critically important in distinguishing between scientific and pseudoscientific approaches to issues.

Film segments from four science fiction or television series will be screened and the scientific principles which they illustrate or violate will be discussed. The films are Them! (mutation of ants into giant insects), Star Wars (outer space sequences), Star Trek: the Next Generation (the Greenhouse Effect) and 2010 (outer space transfer of astronauts between space ships). These films also illustrate the interdisciplinary nature of science and technology.

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