Now available: Lab Coats in Hollywood, 2011 (MIT Press)

Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

University of Manchester

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Manchester, UK M13 9PL

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Lab Coats in Hollywood was named one of Physics World magazine’s top 10 best popular-physics books of 2011.


Endorsements and Reviews

"We all know—or think we know—what science consultants do on Hollywood films: they check accuracy. They would be wrong. David Kirby shows the relation as much more complex, and vastly more interesting than that. Hollywood wants a landscape of verisimilitude, an elaborately produced naturalness, and legitimization of their image of the future. For their part, scientists can alter the public status of their fields and gain a powerful hand in articulating visions of how their own fields might work, from supercomputing to genetic alteration. This is an original study of a field that combines real knowledge of Hollywood films, scientist-consultants and science studies. It is fun to read, taking you to the back and forth between science and film everywhere from 2001 to Contact and Minority Report. I recommend it with enthusiasm."
Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in History of Science and Physics, Harvard University, and Producer/Director, Secrecy

"Kirby makes a compelling case that scientists and filmmakers need each other. I know of no other book like it."
David Saltzberg, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA, and Television Science Consultant

"In the gap between science fact and science fiction stands the motion picture and television science consultant. In this brisk, lively account, David Kirby provides us with a history of these often unheralded scientific ambassadors to Hollywood and the critical role they play in shaping how film and television makers depict science--depictions which in turn shape how science is understood by the public at large."
Zack Stentz, writer/producer (Thor, X-Men: First Class, Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

"There have been many books written on the intersection of science and Hollywood. But David Kirby's excellent tome is the first to examine seriously the role of the science consultant in the movie-making process and assess its potential impact. Lab Coats in Hollywood is essential reading for anyone who shares Kirby's passion for bringing science into the service of storytelling for the silver screen."
Jennifer Ouellette, science writer and former director, National Academy of Sciences' Science and Entertainment Exchange

"Kirby convincingly shows us that the interaction between science and cinema is not limited to the portrayal of scientists and science themes in the media, but can significantly contribute to shaping a movie's core concepts and - even more interestingly - scientists' own activity in the research sphere."
Massimiano Bucchi, Professor of Science and Technology in Society, University of Trento