The Sciences

Science fiction: the good and the bad

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJan 23, 2010 1:15 AM

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If you're out shopping today and happen to pass your friendly neighborhood newsstand, then may I suggest you pick up a copy of the winter special issue of Discover Magazine? The theme is "Extreme Universe", with articles about the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and lots more. Of course, included in that "lots more " is, well, me. I wrote the introductory essay to the issue, and also have a list of my favorite good and bad science moments in movies. The Hive OvermindDiscover Magazine has a gallery up, too, with pictures and my descriptions of the movies. I was surprised how hard it was to make the list, given a) I've seen almost every science fiction movie ever made, and 2) you'd think examples would abound. But finding specific scenes turned out to be tough, also given the criterion that it has to be in a movie lots of people have actually seen; calling out the lava flow sequence in "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" (1965) won't get you terribly far. But I think I did OK. Got a favorite bad or good scene in a movie? Discuss.

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