Reaction!: Chemistry in the Movies

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2009 - Performing Arts - 340 pages
1 Review
ReAction! gives a scientist's and artist's response to the dark and bright sides of chemistry found in 140 films, most of them contemporary Hollywood feature films but also a few documentaries, shorts, silents, and international films.

Even though there are some examples of screen chemistry between the actors and of behind-the-scenes special effects, this book is really about the chemistry when it is part of the narrative. It is about the dualities of Dr. Jekyll vs. inventor chemists, the invisible man vs. forensic chemists, chemical weapons vs. classroom chemistry, chemical companies that knowingly pollute the environment vs. altruistic research chemists trying to make the world a better place to live, and, finally, about people who choose to experiment with mind-altering drugs vs. the drug discovery process.

Little did Jekyll know when he brought the Hyde formula to his lips that his personality split would provide the central metaphor that would come to describe chemistry in the movies. This book explores the two movie faces of this supposedly neutral science. Watching films with chemical eyes, Dr. Jekyll is recast as a chemist engaged in psychopharmaceutical research but who becomes addicted to his own formula. He is balanced by the often wacky inventor chemists who make their discoveries by trial-and-error.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Writing this book was a labor of love.

Contents

Introduction The Dark and Bright Sides of Chemistry in the Movies
3
Chapter 1 Dr Jekylls Mysterious Transformative Formula
9
Chemistry Creates Criminal Opportunities
35
Chemical Arsenals
65
The Business of Toxicity
103
Drug Addiction and Psychoactives
134
Chapter 6 Inventors and Their Often Wacky Chemical Inventions
155
Forensic Chemistry and Chemical Detectives
186
Research and Medicinal Chemists Making a Difference
250
but Before That SelfExperiment
284
Conclusion Chemistry in the Movies
295
Appendix 1 How to Use This Material in the Classroom
297
Appendix 2 About the Back Cover Art
301
References
303
Movie Index
323
Subject Index
331

Learning by Doing
221

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)


Mark Griep is a chemistry professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who is searching for new antibiotics and who recently received a College Distinguished Teaching Award.

Marjorie Mikasen is a Geometric painter, who recently received an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council. Her work is in public and private collections. The authors are married and were awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant in the area of Public Understanding of Science to do the research for this book.

Bibliographic information