On October 27, 2011, the School of Communication at American University hosted University of Manchester (UK) scholar David Kirby who discussed the role of scientists as Hollywood consultants on blockbuster movies ranging from Jurassic Park to a Beautiful Mind.  Kirby, author of the book Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists and Cinema, was interviewed by SOC professor Matthew Nisbet.  Kirby also showed film clips as he explained how consulting scientists on films not only shape cultural understanding but also the direction of scientific research. Following the hour-long discussion with Kirby there was a special screening of Carl Sagan’s Contact starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey.

Below is a highlight reel of the interview with Kirby followed by specific segments.

Highlight reel of interview with Kirby.

Kirby on why he moved from being a lab scientist to studying scientists and film producers.

Kirby on how he developed the idea for his book.

Kirby on the science in Jurassic Park: Are Dinosaurs more like reptiles or birds?

Kirby discusses clips showing the role of consultants like Jack Horner in Jurassic Park.

Kirby on why scientists are motivated to become Hollywood consultants.

Kirby on the role of scientists during the earliest days of Hollywood and popular film.

Kirby on the T-Rex finale in Jurassic Park.