science in the media
Science and Media
Name of the Student
Science and Media
Q1. Whenever I hear the word “Scientist” I relate them as a power of innovation. I view Scientists with great awe and respect. It is because them we are finding solutions to various problems, which exists in this world and this society. Whether it is a field of clinical sciences or technological sciences, scientists have created a revolution, all across the world. Without the innovative power of scientists we could not have even imagined, the “apps” or an “i-phone”. The eradication of small pox and inventions of newer interventions to cure a diseased individual has come from the relentless will power and knowledge of scientists (Bunge, 1998). Without the efforts of renowned scientists, we would not have stepped and adapted to this modern era. Therefore, scientists are similar to “Gods”, the only difference is that we can visualize them and share our concerns.
The image of the scientist, which immediately comes to my mind, from the media, was Dr. Grant, in the movie the Jurassic Park. He was shown in the movie as a famous paleontologist. The profile of his work and his philosophy attracted me very much. The movie showed his character regarding quest for knowledge and harnessing knowledge into the benefit of mankind.
The three characteristics which al scientists have in common include the quest for knowledge and revealing of the truth. They are highly innovative and want to create or discover things which are absolutely new or novel. It may be even addressing such issues of concern in the field of health or technology, which either have been unaddressed or under addressed. Finally, the last attribute which I find in almost all scientists is that they are workaholic. They do not about their family life or personal life and always are dedicated to their field of practice. They are so much workaholic that they are self-motivated towards a certain goal and are never discouraged by the state of affairs either in their laboratory or in their respective places of work.
Q2. Yes, there has been in change which has been noticed in the looks of a scientist, over a period of time. In earlier periods whenever we used to think of scientists weird physical appearance haunted our brains. Often we related renowned scientists with casual and carefree attire and attitude. Even, in certain cases we questioned the mental health of scientists as we judged him or her by physical appearance. The common notion which revolves around our eyes is thick spectacles around their eyes, non-groomed hair and long moustache or beard. However, the modern day scientists are much more composed in their looks and are assertive in character. By looking at Marc Zuckerman or Bill Gates, nobody can relate them with Albert Einstein or Charles Darwin. Yet, they are the scientists and the intellectuals, who have shaped the entire definition and domain of information technology across the world. Apart from their looks, the psychology of modern-day scientists appeals to me the most. These scientists are always in the quest of putting theoretical knowledge into real life practice, very early in their career. Perhaps, this is the reason we are witnessing “Facebook”, in the current periods and not 100 years down the line. From the history of Mark Zuckerman’s life, it was revealed that while he was a student, the concept of “Facebook” was put to place. Another aspect of present day scientists, which attracts me, is the transparency they exhibit. Whenever Mr. Zuckerman has been applauded for “Facebook”, he has reciprocated that creation and invention of “Facebook” was a team effort and without the help of his team and even in peers at Harvard, the concept would not have shaped so well. This is not modesty and a vibrancy of sheer confidence and truth.
Q3. Fictional scientists are usually heroes and villains, both. I think, this is because visual media wants to aware the general mass regarding the beneficial and detrimental effects of science, and I think such initiatives are appropriate. Media acts as a source of mass education and therefore, it is important that science can do harm as well as it may benefit the mankind. However, the creation of such evil and the good lies in the mind of a scientist, and how he views the world. Such contrasting discoveries may be motivated by the socio-economic conditions under which a scientist has been reared or brought up. In the movie, Jurassic Park Dr. Grant has been portrayed as a good scientist and a hero. He not only saved the people in the island, but also protected the species of dinosaurs. I felt that the movie was unique, not only due to the special effects or the subject of the movie selected, but the way the message of conservation of endangered or extinct species was put forward. He was a hero to me, due to his heroic deeds. This was evident from his perception on the behavior of the dinosaurs and keeping everybody aware of their behavior. He smoothly guided the exit of the persons, who were trapped in the island. The movie reflected his knowledge, intellect, presence of mind and assertive courage. All of these qualities are the features of a heroic character. On the other hand, in an Indian fictional movie called Krissh, there was a Scientist named Dr. Arya. He was reflected in the film as a devil and a villain. Dr. Arya was a great scientist in information technology, but wanted to harness science and technology for his own benefit. He also never bothered, if such benefit caused harm to the rest of the world. He was instrumental in designing a technology, which could foresee future. Any person who was shown to be detrimental to Dr. Arya in the near future was demolished and killed by Dr. Arya. Therefore predicting future and foreseeing it is not an evil phenomenon. If such inventions had taken place in real life, then wars and economic crisis could have been prevented. Hence, scientific advancements are projected in media for the purpose of benefit and also for its detrimental effects.
Q4. Science is always projected as positive force, negative force and as a neutral force in media. In the movie “Titanic”, the technological aspect of the ship was projected as the positive force. It helped in stimulating the minds of the viewers, the enormous scientific advancement, which was implemented to make the ship. However, the film also portrayed the destiny of the ship. This was a negative force, which was projected in the movie. The technical flaws of a scientific discovery, was clearly revealed in the movie. Moreover, the noise level regarding the safety of the ship was projected so much, that the sailors were complacent and did not anticipate any danger. However, it should be kept in mind that humans created science and science did not create humans. The film portrayed the dependency of humans on scientific advancements and also a failure to respond to trouble shooting, when crisis situation did arise. The negative force which created a high impact was the loss of lives of individuals. At the end of the movie, the question which would have haunted every viewer, that if the ship was not so huge, could fatality be prevented?.
Q5. Yes, I definitely feel that portrayal of scientists in various forms of media does influence the views of a society, regarding this profession. It is media who has deeply impacted the thought process of present day parents in viewing the profession of a scientist. In earlier days, it would have been a distant thought, where a child would have desired to become a Paleontologist or a Nuclear Scientist in near future. Although such decisions and philosophies are ambitious but such thoughts have been successfully kindled by media. Parents are now aware of the various options in Science, whether it is biological science or technological science. They are not very shocked, if their child does not want to become an engineer or a doctor (Crowley et al, 2001). They feel since media projects these scientists, it can be very much feasible in practical settings too.
Q6. With an explosion in information technology and subsequent portrayal by media, different forms of scientific advancements are attracting viewers all across the world. Viewers have been sensitized for various scientific advancements and they accept it with their own cognitive processing. They try to extract the beneficial or detrimental effects of such phenomenon, and like to implement them in real life practice. One such common phenomenon is the perception of cloning amongst the general mass. Media has projected the science of cloning and viewers are more or less aware of such phenomenon. These viewers perhaps do not link cloning to creation of duplicate individuals, but they certainly put this question on the top of mind while meeting their daily activities. For example, people are apprehensive about the genetic modified crops and feel they are not natural. Perception of genetic disease prevents their preference for such food items. However, the ground reality is that, such crops have not been shown to cause any additional side effects, than the natural crops or foods, which are available in the market. Human beings always try to rationalize their understanding, on the philosophy of “seeing is believing”. Since, they have not seen any human clone; therefore, they do not correlate with such ideology in thinking about a duplicate of oneself in real life settings (Holmes, 2008). Thus, such irrational views are discarded by most of the viewers. On the other hand, genetic crops or genetic foods are believed by the viewers, as they find them day in and out, in the supermarkets. Therefore, media cannot inject any irrational discovery or technological advancement in the minds of a sensible viewer. However, anything rational or feasible is quickly accepted by the viewers and it also becomes popular amongst them. For example, no body questions the benefit and availability of smart phones or “apps”, because those are ground reality.
Bunge, Mario Augusto (1998). Philosophy of Science: From Problem to Theory. Transaction
Publishers. p. 24
Crowley, K. Callanan, M.A., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Allen, E. (2001). Parents explain more
often to boys than to girls during shared scientific thinking. Psychological Science,
Holmes, R (2008). The age of wonder: How the romantic generation discovered the beauty
and terror of science. London: Harper Press. p. 449