An Oxford biochemist and a Harvard mathematician are trying to dump the nutty or nerdy professor stereotype by setting up Hollywood Math and Science Film Consulting.
The scientists in Back to the Future and Honey I Shrunk the Kids were potty or clumsy nerds. In ET they were heartless monsters who wanted to dissect a cute alien, and in the Terminator films they helped develop smart robots that would run amok.
“It’s annoying how many films will include a ‘mad’ scientist,” (Lizzie Burns) said. “The portrayal of scientists can be so negative and the science wrong. I’m interested in trying to get the science right and make scientists in films a bit more real.”
Burns and colleague Jonathan Farley have consulted on the TV show Numb3rs, “in which an FBI agent recruits his mathematical genius brother to help solve crimes.” They make sure the math adds up.
Scientists used to be widowers with Einsteinian hair, foreign accents and beautiful blonde daughters who served as lab assistants.