Talking Science – Hollywood Physics

Public Engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a very important element in the QUASAR Group’s activities. We love to talk about our research, together with the impact science has on the world around us.

Last week, QUASAR Group leader Professor Carsten P Welsch contributed a presentation about “Hollywood Physics” to the monthly programme of fascinating public talks at Daresbury Laboratory called Talking Science. The aim of these seminars is to inspire and involve the public and in particular schools in STEM. Professor Welsch took a look at a few of cinema’s most mind-boggling moments of scientific inaccuracy. He talked about where Hollywood gets the physics wrong and how the correct science would impact on the films, as well as about how the actual experiments in his group often go beyond even the most exciting movie plots.

Title slide of Professor Welsch’s talk.

Given the current restrictions on meetings, the event was held online in Zoom. Professor Welsch was joined by several hundred people in the audience and covered movies such as Iron Man, Terminator and The Flash. All of these films feature particle accelerators, so this was an ideal basis to then talk about the exciting research at the Cockcroft Institute. He explained how accelerators allow fundamental studies using antimatter, benefit cancer treatment and provide a perfect basis for an interdisciplinary training of the next generation of accelerators scientists and engineers.

The meeting was hosted by Daresbury’s public engagement team who did their magic behind the scenes and ensured everything run smoothly.

The talk received excellent feedback and many questions from a very engaged audience. STFC’s public engagement officer Phill Day said: “Wednesday’s talk was a superb example of how to combine popular mainstream content with our science and technology. I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

In case you missed Professor Welsch’s talk, simply email dltalkingscience@stfc.ac.uk for a recording of the event.