Knowledge Production Between Popular Culture and Scientific Culture

  • David A. KirbyEmail author


The increasing fusion of science and entertainment has led to concerns amongst scientists and policy makers about how entertainment depictions might impact public perceptions of science and, thus, influence various arenas of society including science itself. Anxiety over Hollywood science has led many scientists and scientific organizations to become consultants for movie productions in order to influence how stories about science are told through this medium. In this chapter I explore how Hollywood filmmakers have utilized science consultants to examine scripts, participate in pre-production meetings and advise during production. I demonstrate how cinematic science does not merely focus on scientific facts but also incorporates the entirety of the “systems of science”, which includes the visual cultures of science. In addition, I elaborate upon how filmmakers’ growing use of science consultants is linked to an increased desire for cinematic realism over the last 20 years. But I also show how the concept of “accuracy” is not a stable category when applied to movie science because of issues related to fantastical science, scientific controversies, natural variability, and the constraints filmmakers face when attempting to incorporate science into their film texts. In the end I demonstrate how popular cultural images and narratives can have a significant impact on the public’s conceptions of science by provoking reactions from encouraging enthusiasm for the scientific endeavour to instilling fear about science and technology and often both.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the History of Science, Technology and MedicineUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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