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There is nothing like reading a good book or watching a great movie for a little escapism and entertainment. With all of the television channels out there and access to the internet, you can watch just about anything you want at any time. In Unit 2, you talked about the science involved with technology, but in this Assignment, you are going to turn the tables and delve into how the media portrays science.How does a pop culture portrayal of science and scientists impact the average person’s view of what science is and how research is conducted? Can what is presented by the media affect how the general populace views a particular research field? What might the long-term impacts of such a depiction be? These are just a few questions that you will reflect upon in this Assignment.Your paper should address the following questions:When you hear the word “scientist” what do you envision? Which famous people or characters from the media come into your mind? What characteristics do they have in common? Discuss at least three characteristics of your vision of a scientist.Has your image of what a scientist does and how they look changed over time? If so, how has this changed and what influenced you?Are fictional scientists usually the heroes, villains, or a combination of the two? Provide at least two detailed examples to support your position.How is science portrayed in fictional media (television shows, movies, music, books, etc.)? Is it seen as a positive, negative, or neutral force in the world? Give specific examples supporting your position.Do you think the portrayal of scientists in the various forms of media influences how society views people in this profession? Why, or why not?Can the portrayal of science in media influence how certain research and technology is viewed, and accepted, by the general public (e.g., cloning)?Your Final Project should be written in an essay format, with an introduction and conclusion. The paper will require you to include details from research including the course materials and sources you locate on your own. Use APA format to cite your sources of information, both within parenthetical citations and also within a reference page at the end of the project.Basic Writing Expectations:A minimum of 1,500 words, not counting the title or reference pagesAt least 3 academic resources utilizedInclude a title page, double space, font size 10 or 12Include a highly developed viewpoint/thesis, purpose, and exceptional contentDemonstrate superior organization: use logicFree of grammar and spelling errorsNo evidence of plagiarism. Note: no more than 10% of your paper should be direct quotesUse the APA style for all in-text citations, references, and body of paperWhen I hear the word’scientist’ I think about Sheldon and Lenard from the Big BangTheory, then I think about what type of scientist the discussion may bereferring to. I see a chemist differently than a herpetologist, physicist, ormarine biologist. Some of the notable people from science that come to my mindare people like Sir Isaak Newton, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein,Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Carl Sagan, Steve Irwin theCrocodile Hunter and, Steven Hawking. Characteristics of scientist can include, curiosity, open-minded andfree of bias, keen observer, resourceful, purposeful, persistent, Greatcommunication skills, Creative, Critical Thinker and, Courageous. Thinking about Sheldon or Lenard from BigBang Theory they are, Curious, Sheldon is always finding something to invent orcoming up with something. Lenard isopen-minded and usually free of bias. Albert Einstein was very resourceful, persistent, a critical thinker andvery courageous for his time.The ‘classic’ image that Ienvision most people have would be the white lab coat, thick glasses, pocketprotector, working with Bunsen burners and beakers. Scientist’s do not all wearthe stereotypical white lab coat as portrayed in so many TV shows and movies.Through my research of notable scientists in fiction and reality is only a fewfields of the sciences would fit this image. With The technology of today Ibelieve more scientists and engineers to be common household names. The mediaalso often portrays a scientist as nerdy or comical such as, Sheldon andLenard. One common photograph is of Albert Einstein with his tongue showing.Einstein was not just a great scientist, he was also a philosopher, politician,and activist. In this regard, he published several books about scientificdivulgence, Hitler ordered his death, he was offered the presidency of Israel,and he urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to build the first nuclear weapon.Nevertheless, some people remember Einstein as the “comical old man’.Another classic example for the comical aspect would be the infamous RubeGoldberg Device for engineering. Although spoofy actually some of thecontraptions are amazing to watch the events unfold. I see people of science as very intelligentbut not in nerdy fashion. I still remember a time I sat with several NASAengineers at a retirement party. Indeed a very interesting conversation onrocket engineering.Attire appropriate for the workconditions would need to be worn. Scientists can be defined as people who areinvolved in the systematic and documented study of the phenomena that occur innature but are not limited to just physics, chemistry or biology. They canindulge in studies related to the makeup of the earth and social scenarioswhere they study and try to understand the behavior of a group of individualsof a particular species, sub-species or any other such classification. They canbe classified into various categories based on the branch of science that theyare involved in. Some such categories are Mathematicians, Astronomers,Physicists, Biologists, Botanists, Geneticists, Medical Scientists,Microbiologists, Neuroscientists, Pathologists, Pharmacologists, Zoologists,Biochemists, and Computer Scientists. There are many more branches of sciencewhich a person can become a specialist of a unique aspect of study.For myself the image of a scientisthas changed drastically over the years. As a child the image was of what isprimarily in the media such as the traditional white lab coat but as I maturedso did my ‘image’ of scientists as I learned about the varioussciences what sort of tasks are involved in the research. Such as a geologistsstudying a volcano is not appearing anything like a botanist in the rain forestor a chemist determining a formula for a new product. I still find myselfimagining stereotypical images for people working in various scientific fieldsof study.Fictional scientists can be theheroes such as, Spock from Star Trek to villains such as, Doctor Octopus inSpider-Man 2, Dr Emmett Brown in, Back to the Future, Dr Victor Frankensteinin, Frankenstein. Among the variousforms of media there are a multitude of scientists as superheroes, heroes,side-kicks, and villains. In a list of the Top scientists in media I foundseveral different images such as the ‘White Lab Coat’: Dr EmmettBrown, Back to the Future, Dr Bunsen Honeydew, The Muppets, Hubert J Farnsworth,Futurama. Business attire: The Professor, Gilligan’s Island, Agent Dana Scully,The X-Files, Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park. Unethical: C.A. Rotwang, Metropolis,Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein. Borderline good/evil: Bruce Banner, TheIncredible Hulk, Walter White, Breaking Bad.Scientists are usually portrayed asthe stereotypical nerds in fictional media today. This could be seen as a negative force in theworld. If we all walk around thinkingthat Sheldon is the scientist that is going to save your life, I think we allwould rethink that treatment. Thinkingabout Dr. House from House, makes me want a Dr. just as proficient as him. I believe the portrayal of scientists in thevarious forms of media influences the bias that people still have about certainprofessions such as, Herpetology if you do not have a properly educated personreporting on reptiles, people are going to still continue to hate them and killthem. Media reporting of science andscientists can be useful for making scientific knowledge available to thegeneral public and provide relevant information that can influence their dailylives. With the benefit of circulation of scientific knowledge is the enormouspotential for miscommunication. The media has sensationalized stories, can bebiased in reporting and even at times could have a conflict of interestSensationalism can instill the reader with false hope or even paranoia ifinformation is exaggerated for the purpose of holding the reader’s attention.Issues of bias can arise if those quoted in the article benefit from themessage it portrays. Because scientific practice involves continuousexperimentation, a lack of follow-up on the research reported can also skew thereader’s understanding, as the knowledge base rapidly changes; this isespecially important when considering potential treatments for variousailments. A great example ofsensationalism in the media is when the media portrays a snake (python) adangerous and deadly beast. They blowthe picture out of proportion to make it look bigger. Yes pythons can kill you but they do not biteto kill. They do not eat babies. In science, data is collected over an extendedperiod of time. It is driven by curiosity that is grounded in uncertainties,and aims to produce reliable information regarding the world around us, whilemaintaining a certain level of skepticism. Scientific writing is writtenpassively, in an impersonal tone and undergoes an extensive review process inwhich the eyes of many experts perfect the nuances of its content. Mediacontent is produced within a restricted time frame, in a manner that must beaccessible to the audience. It focuses on telling a story and presentinginformation that it deems its audience will see as relevant and marketable. Science in the media can influencehow certain research and technology is view such as, Cancer research look howfar we have come with all the Breast cancer awareness and all the research theyhave done. The survival rate is MUCHhigher now than 15-20 years ago. HIV isanother great example of how the media can influence your view, imagine howmany deaths we would have today without all the research and mediaawareness. We now have test tube babies. I just saw on the news a few days ago aboutwomb transplants, that’s amazing. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/scientists.phphttp://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i30/Media-Portrayal-Scientists.htmlhttp://www.wired.com/2012/01/best-fictional-scientists/
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