• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    UCSB Wins Second Straight, Cruise Past Hawaii 7-0 https://t.co/amzRBbW6KM
    10 hours 36 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Professor Pai of UCSB’s EACS is more than an expert in modern Chinese literature — he practically invented it! https://t.co/53lmKBy2Dk
    12 hours 33 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gauchos Blank San Diego State 7-0 to Open 2017 Dual Season https://t.co/KR324kOkWZ
    1 day 8 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gauchos Storm Back From 15 Down in 2nd Half, Beat Mustangs 58-53 https://t.co/qj5Fipu1ql
    1 day 8 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball find a way to make 3s late for the comeback win against Cal Poly!
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball BEATS RIVAL CAL POLY 58-51!!! Alex Hart with 15 points and 11 rebounds!!
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball leads 58-51 with 25.5 seconds. Gabe Vincent sinks two clutch free throws to put the Gauchos ahead by 7
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    BIG TIME 3 BY CLIFTON POWELL JR PUTS THE GAUCHOS UP BY 6 WITH 48.8 SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball leads Cal Poly 55-49 with 1 minute to play!!!!
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball up against Cal Poly 50-46 with 4 minutes left in the game. Alex Hart leads the way with 15 points and 11 rebounds
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball GOES ON A RUN TO TIE THE GAME 46-46 WITH 6 MINUTES LEFT IN THE GAME.
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball goes on a run to cut the lead to 7 with 7:48 left in the game. Alex Hart leads all scorers with 13 points
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBbasketball down 32-41 against Cal Poly with 11:34 in the game. Alex Hart leads the way with 13 points for the Gauchos
    1 day 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Cal Poly extends their lead to 13 with 16:16 left in the game. Cal Poly 39 UCSB 26
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gauchos shooting a mere 34.55% from the field to Cal Poly's 52.2%
    1 day 11 hours ago

Science vs. Cinema

Astrophysicist Andy Howell examines the science behind sci-fi movies
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 10:45
Santa Barbara, CA

UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist Andy Howell is a self-proclaimed film geek.

In his spare time, the staff scientist at the Las Cumbres Observatory reviews films for Ain’t It Cool News, a website dedicated to the best in TV, DVDs and comic books. But that’s not all. Howell also stars in the YouTube series called “Science vs. Cinema,” which he produces with UCSB alumnus James Darling. The series looks at the science in cinema and separates fact from fiction.

“I’ve always had one foot in the movie world and one foot in the science world, so this is just the marriage of those two things,” said Howell, who is also an adjunct faculty member in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “When you talk about movies, you can reach a much broader audience and sneak some science in.”

The current episode of “Science vs. Cinema” examines “Arrival,” the recently released film starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. The plot centers around the efforts of linguistics professor Louise Banks (Adams) to find a way to communicate with extraterrestrial visitors.

According to Howell, “Arrival” largely got the science right, despite the fact that humans don’t have any actual experience with which to make comparisons.

“People think you have to choose between a movie being a blockbuster and getting the science right,” Howell said. “But my point of view is that you can get the science right and still have an entertaining movie. And it often helps make a more entertaining movie. If you need to bend the rules to tell a better story, that’s fine. You get certain miracle exceptions for the conceit of the movie, but get the details right and be consistent.”

For the “Arrival” episode, Howell and Darling were assisted by Chris Jenkins, a UCSB lecturer in film and media studies, and Johnny Rafter, a former student of Jenkins who did some of the camera work.          

In the inaugural episode of “Science vs. Cinema,” Howell evaluated the science behind “The Martian” starring Matt Damon.

Contact Info: 

Julie Cohen
(805) 893-7220
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu

Topics: