Chemistry in the Movies

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  • Topic: The Invisible Man, Invisibility, Griffin
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  • Published : February 13, 2013
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Chemistry in the Movies Assignment
(25 Points Extra Credit)

This project will explore the public perception of chemistry. Each participating student will analyze a movie. Movies may be selected from the list on the following page or the student may find analyze any other academically acceptable movie with a chemist or chemical theme. All reviews will use academically acceptable language, spelling, and grammar and be 400 words minimum.

For each movie, the student will post the following in the Chemistry in the Movies folder on Blackboard.

* Summary: Write a summary (20 words minimum) of the movie's chemical theme.

* Most Important Scene: Write a description of the most important chemical scene, or scene about chemistry, from the movie (40 words minimum).

* The Chemistry Involved: Write a short evaluation of the chemistry, economics, or environmental impact involved in the scene.

* Is the Science Possible?: How realistic is the movie? Is the science possible? Research this and provide references. This is the most important part of the project.

* Portrayal of Chemistry and Chemists: Write a short evaluation of how this movie portrays chemistry and chemists.

* Three Facts that Prove I saw the Movie: Identify 3 key facts from the movie to prove that you actually watched the movie.

* Viewer Rating: Provide a viewer rating for other classmates to aid in their movie selection. Use the following scale: 1- Avoid at all cost, 2- Watch when you can’t sleep, 3– Worth renting, and 4- Must see.

Example: "The Invisible Man," 1933, Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart. Chemist Jack Griffin takes monocaine, becomes invisible, goes mad, fails to develop reversion formula, wreaks havoc and is killed by the chief detective.

Summary: Dr. Jack Griffin was an assistant food preservation chemist. Dr Jack Griffin, an assistant food preservation chemist, is a brilliant scientist who used monocaine as the primary component of a concoction of chemicals to render himself invisible.

Most Important Scene: To me the most important chemistry set-up was when the laboratory manager was using a centrifuge with the test tubes circling in the air. The centrifuges that I have seen contain the test tubes in case they shatter. The most important only chemistry scene involved the discussion of the properties of monocaine by the laboratory manager.

The Chemistry Involved: Monocaine, the most important chemical in the formula, removes the color of anything it touches. In a human, it removes coloring from compounds that make up the body, leaving it so transparent that it appears to be invisible.

Is the Science Possible?: Owen (2005) reports that plasmodic covers may keep light from scattering and reduce the visibility of an object. Fox (2006) reported advances in invisibility theory. New metamaterials may be able to hide objects from visible light by bending light around the object and meeting at the opposite end. This makes the object appear to be invisible. Fox suggested that “science-fiction portrayals of invisibility, such as the cloaking devices used to hide space ships in Star Trek, might be truly possible.” Owen (2006) asserted that a chemical route to human invisibility (as used in The Invisible Man) is unlikely because the biomolecules necessary for human life require the absorption and scattering of light. He observed that hiding objects by curving space itself is also unlikely. According to Owens, the most likely method that would work for rendering an object invisible would be bending light around the object.

In conclusion, the science of ingesting a chemical to become invisible is not likely, however, cloaking an object by bending light around the object may be possible in the future.

Portrayal of Chemistry and Chemists: The chemist originally has both a strong interest in chemistry and an interest in becoming an important scientist. His own desires and the...
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