Categories: Cori Wilbur, THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: Science is Getting ‘Reel’ for the Month of May

The Martian

By Cori Wilbur

May 15, 2019

Sci-fi junkies unite! Going into week three of the REEL Science Film Series, this Friday’s science-themed feature will be World War Z.

The series, put on by the San Diego Natural History Museum and Digital Gym Cinema, brings in a different scientist each week to discuss (and debunk) various topics addressed in the films. With each presentation, the scientists give the audience some food for thought to muse while watching the respective film. This makes for a more active and engaging viewing experience all around. Whether or not you have seen the film before, it is worth attending for an additional perspective.

The series opened up with a showing of The Fly and commentary by Eric Leonardis, a Cognitive Scientist and Jeff Goldblum enthusiast, who gave a lively presentation about the possibilities of teleportation. The second film to be featured was Oscar-nominated The Martian, before which Dr. Brian Shotwell considered the viability of growing potatoes on Mars.

Dr. Meredith Frie, a UCSD research associate, enjoys sharing facts about science that many may not know. When choosing the film she wanted to present before, she looked for which one complemented her background in Biology–ultimately deciding upon World War Z. She noted that the zombie subgenre uses viruses to commentate on society’s (very real) fear of a large epidemic.

In many films, science is “negatively portrayed” and “often depicted as the villain,” commented Dr. Frie. Albeit, she did praise World War Z for painting science in a more positive light. Generally, the films highlighted in the series display optimism toward science–except for the Brundlefly mishap.

In light of the recent measles outbreak, a showing of a film about the pervasive spread of a zombie virus may evoke panic, especially if you are prone to hypochondriac tendencies. But Dr. Frie reassures a pandemic of such extreme proportions is not feasible.

World War Z does paint some realistic points,” she said. However, “this isn’t something [we] need to be afraid of.”

Come to the San Diego Natural History Museum this Friday, May 17, to watch this special presentation of World War Z and hear Dr. Meredith Frie speak. The film series will wrap up May 24 with a showing of Damnation Alley at the Digital Gym.

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