fiction

Films and Science: quantification and analysis of the use of Science Fiction films in scientific papers

Luciano Guillermo Levin, Daniela De Filippo

The purpose of this study is to quantify the use of science fiction films in academic papers as well as to analyse the patterns of use of those films indexed in international databases, using the ISI Web of Science database. Twenty films were selected from recognised sources. Films referenced in the scientific literature were detected and, with quantitative methodologies, we classified their genres, the journals of publication and the disciplines they belong to. Finally, we performed a detailed study of each paper in which selected films were found, to observe and categorise specifically the ways such film references are used.

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The evolution and extinction of science fiction

Steven Hrotic

Science fiction literature reflects our constantly evolving attitudes towards science and technological innovations, and the kinds of societal impacts believed possible. The newly popular subgenre ‘steampunk’ shows that these attitudes have significantly shifted. Examined from a cognitive anthropological perspective, science fiction reveals the cultural evolution of the genre as intelligently designed, and implies a cognitive mechanism of group membership reliant on implicit memory. However, such an analysis also suggests that genre science fiction as it was in the 20th century may no longer exist.

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From the wizard to the doubter: Prototypes of scientists and engineers in fiction and non-fiction media aimed at Dutch children and teenagers

Baldwin Van Gorp, Els Rommes, Pascale Emons

The aim of this paper is to gain insight into the prototypical scientists as they appear in fiction and non-fiction media consumed by children and teenagers in the Netherlands. A qualitative-interpretive content analysis is used to identify seven prototypes and the associated characteristics in a systematic way. The results show that the element of risk is given more attention in fiction than in non-fiction. Also, eccentric scientists appear more often in fiction. In non-fiction, the dimension useful/useless is more important. Furthermore, fictional scientists are loners, although in practice scientists more often work in a team. In both fiction and non-fiction, the final product of the scientific process gets more attention than the process itself. The prototype of the doubter is introduced as an alternative to the dominant representations because it represents scientists and engineers in a more nuanced way.

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