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Education

Can Movies Inspire Kids To Be Future Scientists? 298

Hugh Pickens writes "MSNBC reports on a recent panel that discussed studies showing that people, especially children, often model their behavior on what they see on the big (or small) screen and science shows up in many Hollywood films. In fact, 22 of the 60 top-grossing movies of all time are science-fiction or superhero flicks, including history's No. 1 box office hit, Avatar. The movie science doesn't even have to be entirely accurate, some of the panelists added when asked to consider the role and impact of science in cinema. As long as it plants a seed of curiosity in viewers, it may spur them to investigate scientific issues on their own — and perhaps consider a career in science down the road. 'It's not an educational medium, it's an emotional medium,' says Seth Shostak, an astronomer with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. 'Kids get turned on by the emotion.' Interestingly enough although movies work hard to get the science right, many make errors ranging from the understandable to the egregious, but that's ok, say the panelists. 'Even if a film or media product is not very accurate, that becomes a teaching moment,' says Arvind Singhal. 'So there's room for everything.'"

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