General Education Courses

For students who would like a sneak-peak into the world of science and scientific thinking.

SCIF1004 - Science and Cinema

Can you imagine Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Sam Neill or Kate Winslet as scientists? Well Hollywood has, in a series of movies which use real scientific concepts as an integral part of the plot. Often the script writers stretch these concepts beyond the realms of reality to make the movies even more exciting. In this general education elective you will view nine movies which deal with a range of scientific issues.

This intensive course will run at the start of summer term. The first five movies will each be preceded by a guest lecture from a suitable expert in the scientific field featured in the movie. They will discuss how faithfully the movies portray the science and look at some of the social and ethical issues related to the science that are explored in the films. For the following four (complementary) movies, you will be expected to watch these movies online during a 'virtual week', in which you will use the skills and science taught in the preceding week to independently delve even deeper into both the science and its dramatized representation in the movie. Movies you will watch include Gattaca (starring Ethan Hawke, Jude Law and Uma Thurman), Jurassic Park (Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern), The Day After Tomorrow (Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum) and more. So come along, see some movies and you might learn enough science to create your own genetically modified organism, alternative source of energy, deep space exploration vehicle or help save the world from a cataclysmic disaster.

This course is run in an online format.