History and Philosophy Of Science | Scientists and the Cinema-War Films
X100 | 4043 | Laura Seger


What is the scientist’s role in times of war?  To develop weapons of
mass destruction?  To research a way to save the world?  To ignore
the war entirely and attempt to continue previous work?  Have the
movies affected the way you view scientists in war?

In this course we’ll attempt to answer these questions by exploring
the portrayal of scientists in war films.  We will identify the
major archetypes presented, such as the "mad scientist" and
the "scientist as savior", and we’ll examine how historical events –
namely, wars – reinforced this imagery.  We will also discuss
whether the cinematic stereotype of the scientist – nerdy, socially
awkward, physically weak – applies to scientists featured in war
films.

Required Text:
Christopher Frayling (2006). Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist
and the Cinema. Reaktion Books.  ISBN: 1861892853.