Welcome to the Science and Entertainment Laboratory! Amongst the glowing test tubes, bubbling beakers and trusty lab assistants we will be discussing the interactions between science and entertainment media in all its forms such as movies, television shows, graphic novels, comic books and video games.
Why have we decided to conduct our “experiments” on this topic? Because science and entertainment represent two of the most powerful cultural institutions that humans have developed to understand and explain their world. Most people are not scientists and their encounters with science come through media especially entertainment media. In this blog we will explore how science shapes the stories that are told through entertainment media, but we will also examine the ways in which entertainment influences science. Although we are university scholars, we are also fans of both science and popular culture. So, we are also aiming for the blog to be fun in addition to being (hopefully) insightful.
The Playing God Project group in the Centre for the History of Science at the University of Manchester runs the blog. The Playing God Project is part of a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award aimed at exploring the intersection between the biosciences, religion and entertainment media. Some of our posts will reflect our ongoing research into this topic.
We welcome your comments, feedback and questions, so we have included a comment box at the foot of every blog post. But for the blog to be useful we need to make sure that all comments relate to the subject of the blog post. Keep in mind that you are responsible for what you post, and you should not post anything inappropriate or that violates or infringes on someone else’s rights. We will screen comments. Any off-topic comments and any comment that we deem inappropriate will be deleted.
Meet the laboratory’s mad scientists:
Dr David A. Kirby, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies
David is Principal Investigator for the Playing God project. He was a practicing evolutionary geneticist who left bench science in order to explore how entertainment media serve as vehicles for science communication. His book Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists and Cinema (MIT Press, 2011) examines collaborations between scientists and the entertainment industry. He is currently writing a book entitled “Indecent Science: Film Censorship and Science, 1930-1968” that will explore how movies served as a battleground over science’s role in influencing morality.
Click below to learn more about David’s research and role on the project.
Dr Amy C. Chambers, MA (Hons), PhD (Film Studies & Contemporary History)
Amy is a research assistant on the Playing God Project and brings a film studies and cultural history perspective to the team. Amy will be using her interdisciplinary research experience in science fiction cinema and American history to explore the exciting connections between science and entertainment.
Listen to Amy’s introduction below for more information.
Dr William R. Macauley, BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc (Hons) and PhD History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Ray is a research associate with the Playing God project. He has an academic background and research experience in psychology and the history of science, technology, and medicine (HSTM). His current research on the interplay between science, religion, and entertainment media incorporates methods and analytical frames drawn from a variety of academic disciplines and fields of study.
Listen to Ray’s introduction below for more about his research and interests.