There’s a consulting service that helped Arrival’s filmmakers get their science right — and it’s changing what science looks like onscreen.
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Hollywood hasn’t always done a great job of representing the science community onscreen. On one hand, there’s cinema bogus like The Core’s premise that nuking the center of the Earth could reboot our magnetic field (it couldn’t), or the idea on NCIS that two heroes would fight hackers faster by both typing on the keyboard at the same time (they wouldn’t). On the other, there are broader problems with negative representations of science — scientists have been disproportionately written as film villains, and those media depictions have shaped historically negative perceptions of science as a career path. When children are asked to draw images of scientists, they predominantly depict old white men, and typically cite media depictions as their main source of inspiration. But since 2008, access to a scientist script adviser has been one toll-free phone call away for Hollywood professionals.
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