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The Media's View on Science

In: Science

Submitted By noniesponies
Words 1253
Pages 6
Social Media’s Views on Science
Naomi Acevedo
SC250-Science for Everyday Life
July 18, 2016

Social Media’s Views on Science The way the media depicts scientist has not been proven to be 100% true in regards to how they actually are in the real world. Although we know this, most people still see scientist in the same manner when asked to describe what a scientist looks like. Media usually depicts the scientist as geeky, nerdy, unattractive, crazy or mad, and even at times evil, but this does not rule out scientist being the hero. (Meredith, D.). When I hear the word scientist, the image that comes to mind is that of a male or female in a knee-length white lab coat, gloves and those clear experimental goggles we were all told to wear in grade school. This person might have a calculator and/or thermometer in their left breast pocket or even black plastic frame glasses as a finishing touch to give them that intelligent look that people associate the with smarter than average people. Some of the characters from television and films that comes to mind are the scientist Dr. Emmit Brown from the movie Back to the Future, Steve Urkel from a comedy television series called Family Matters and Temperance Brennan from the television series Bones. All three of these characters wore the white coat when in the essence of portraying a scientist. I’d like to think of the white coat as a sort of uniform for the job, just as a police officer and a firefighter have a certain uniform that helps to identify them. During grade school, I attended a health and science magnet school in Texas. One of my professors once told us that reason for scientist wearing white coats traced back to older times. Generations before use to hear the word scientist and they would automatically picture an individual in their original black coat. Once science showed that not being able to see how dirty their clothes were served as an issue, they switched over to the white coats that we all see in our vision today.
Just like generations before us, I myself do believe that over the years my view on what a scientist should look like have changed dramatically. I now know that a white coat stands for more than just a scientist, it also identifies doctors of all practices among a few other professions. There are a couple of current shows that show a different depiction of scientist and how they are to look, talk and act. A few of the shows that are included are The Arrow and The Flash. Both series has a modern depictions of a scientist, and shows us that a scientist can look like and be just about anyone that you may cross paths with. In both series, the characters that are considered scientist who are young adult with the mind capabilities to solve any problem and invent any tool that is needed. Both of the show series has a lead female role of a smart, determined scientist. At the same time, the females that were casted were very attractive. In the show The Flash, the lead female is a young lady known as Mrs. Snow who shows that a scientist is not the nerdy unattractive person that we imagine. The Arrow recognizes this labeling of a sort with their lead female role named Felicity. In the show there are a few comedy inserts that have the male roles making notice of this smart, beautiful female is smarter than most and recognizing that beauty and brains work as a great combination. Lipps states, “Scientist are commonly regarded as nerds, weirdoes, or evil-doers by the general public, Actually, they are ordinary people with ordinary concerns, emotions, and fears, who have learned to use their critical skills and evidential reasoning to understand their surroundings (Lipps, J.). I do not think that there is just one depiction of scientist in media. Not all of the scientist are heroes, and not all of them are villains. In movies such as Jurassic Park and The Terminator, both of the scientist are being portrayed as villains, however by the end of the movie they turn into the hero. In movies such as The Nutty Professor and Honey I Shrunk the Kids both show scientist who are not considered to be either a hero or a villain (Meredith, D.). Older characters such as Dr. Jekyll make us think that scientist will only do evil with the things that they are able to create.
Fictional Media has us looking as science as an exciting, yet dangerous thing to play with. We see science everywhere from the magazines in the grocery check-out lane to the television shows that are streaming daily on the television. While some science is shown with a little reference to reality, such as the television show Bones and the Crime Scene Investigation shows, others give people the wrong impression of science such as the movie collection of Harry Potter that shows that magic is real and the television show The Flash tells us that humans can have super powers and faster than lightning speed a direct result from science gone wrong, even though the results were intentional. Mr. Lipps states, “A fundamental misunderstanding everywhere in the world is that material in the mass media presented in a scientific Manner is real science. Unfortunately, is seldom is. It is largely pseudoscience, anti-science, superstition, and dogma” (Lipps, J.). I would have to agree that the majority of what we are shown is not indeed true. When I was younger, I use to think that by the time I was an adult, there would be flying cars as in Back to the Future. I was under the impression that if these things could be thought up for a movie, eventually these inventions would be in our reality.
I think that the things that we see on television, read in the magazine or see in a theater in regards to scientist and science does play a heavy role in how we think of science as humans. We know that the magic is not real, and cars cannot fly, however I think that there are some people who wonder. Real science has shown us that there is, in fact, other planets that can host living life, however we have yet to hear about new life discoveries in relation. For scientist, we have characters such as Walter White from Breaking Bad who shows us how easy it can be to use science for evil.
Although science can scientist are not depicted in the correct way they appear in reality, we can see that the views on both are improving over the years. Just as we are told that not everything you read on the internet is true, everything that we see on television, read in books and view in media are not always what they appear to be. Science is expanding each and every day, however we need to remember that there is a fine line between fiction and non-fiction.

References:
Meredith, D. (2007). Dennis Meredith: Research Communication Consultant, Science Thriller Author. Scientist Heroes. Retrieved from http://dennismeredith.com/scientist-heroes_279.html
Snyder, L. (2004). Strange Horizons. The Portrayal of Scientist in Science Fiction. Retrieved from http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20040524/portrayal.shtml

Lipps, J. (1996). Beyond Reason: Science in the Media. Retrieved from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/people/jlipps/Beyond.html…...

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