Discussion:
scientists as screen-writers?
(too old to reply)
rick++
2005-08-05 14:27:01 UTC
Permalink
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?

Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.

I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
BMJ
2005-08-05 15:00:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
Crichton is also an M. D., so I would expect the science and technology
protrayed in his works to be accurate.
Post by rick++
I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
RichA
2005-08-05 14:53:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
They should do something. The crap turned out now when it comes to
science that isn't purely speculative is garbage. BTW; Some of them
use general science writers as "consultants" and many of them are
complete idiots who only compound the problem.
-Rich
BMJ
2005-08-05 15:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichA
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
They should do something. The crap turned out now when it comes to
science that isn't purely speculative is garbage. BTW; Some of them
use general science writers as "consultants" and many of them are
complete idiots who only compound the problem.
-Rich
The movie-going public just wants to have its brains collectively
switched off for two or three hours. The accuracy of the science is
secondary. What's more exciting: proving a mathematical theorem or
watching a car chase complete with explosions?
R***@wdn.com
2005-08-05 15:22:48 UTC
Permalink
IMO there is some good science writing in Hollywood,
though not so much in the movies. "CSI" seems good
(although I'm not knowledgeable about forensics) and
"Numbers" is a very good show with good integration
(no pun intended) of reasonable math, IMO. My one
problem with it is that the small samples always seems
to fit the model perfectly, except maybe for one outlier
which he then uses to refine his model which then is
perfect. Those are about the only shows I watch on
network TV (except for Animation Domination on Fox,
of course :-) ).

Cheers,
Russell
Straydog
2005-08-05 22:06:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@wdn.com
IMO there is some good science writing in Hollywood,
though not so much in the movies. "CSI" seems good
(although I'm not knowledgeable about forensics) and
"Numbers" is a very good show with good integration
(no pun intended) of reasonable math, IMO. My one
problem with it
Its not just your problem, its in the newspapers, too. Now, they say,
juries are expecting that all data that come out of crime labs are perfect
and if the crime lab says the data proves something, it really doesn't. As
much as I like(d) CSI, I think its a valid criticism that they make people
think that forensic science is better than it is.

This makes me think back when I was a kid watching one of the cop shows
with Detective Joe Friday (?) and his sidekick Sam Ketchum. In every
show, the good guys _always_ GOT the bad guys, and the bad guys _always_
served a whole bunch of time in the clink. Does that ever happen today?
'Fraid not.

is that the small samples always seems
Post by R***@wdn.com
to fit the model perfectly, except maybe for one outlier
which he then uses to refine his model which then is
perfect. Those are about the only shows I watch on
network TV (except for Animation Domination on Fox,
of course :-) ).
Cheers,
Russell
moviePig
2005-08-05 16:26:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
A Pentagon program? ...as in 'tax dollars' to the tune of $350k? That
said (and felt), the article's actually pretty good.

Fwiw, neither THE CORE nor DAY AFTER TOMORROW (the article's example)
were about scientific accuracy. (CORE was wittier, btw.) And, Crichton
seems to do his own research... resulting both in books that are
scrupulously authentic ('State of Fear'), as well as those that are
deliberate flights of scientific fancy ('Timeline').

Meanwhile, for solid attempts to dramatize *science* onscreen, examine,
e.g., DESTINATION MOON (1950), 2001:ASO (1968), and PRIMER (2004). But,
for putting sympathetic *scientists* onscreen, try BRINGING UP BABY
(1938)...
--
/---------------------------\
| YOUR taste at work... |
| |
| http://www.moviepig.com |
\---------------------------/
BMJ
2005-08-05 16:38:12 UTC
Permalink
moviePig wrote:

<snip>
Post by moviePig
Fwiw, neither THE CORE nor DAY AFTER TOMORROW (the article's example)
were about scientific accuracy. (CORE was wittier, btw.) And, Crichton
seems to do his own research... resulting both in books that are
scrupulously authentic ('State of Fear'), as well as those that are
deliberate flights of scientific fancy ('Timeline').
Meanwhile, for solid attempts to dramatize *science* onscreen, examine,
e.g., DESTINATION MOON (1950), 2001:ASO (1968), and PRIMER (2004). But,
No wonder. "Destination Moon" was written by Robert Heinlein and "2001"
was, of course, by Arthur C. Clarke.

"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" had Isaac Asimov as a consultant.
Former astronaut David Scott was an advisor for the HBO series "From The
Earth To The Moon".
Post by moviePig
for putting sympathetic *scientists* onscreen, try BRINGING UP BABY
(1938)...
Straydog
2005-08-05 22:15:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
What a waste.

1. Leave the screenwriting to the writers who (should) be able to put
together an attractive script (even many today, without scientific help,
fail [just read the movie critics, go to some and feel good about the
special effects more than the plot]).

2. It gets back to the old screw-up. Lets train a whole raftload of
scientist-turned-screenwriters so they can all apply to a handful of
relevant jobs in the USA and we're back to that "ratio of hundreds of
applicants to a few jobs" problem that is still out there.

3. The producers and directors (the same category of dumbasses we all
bitch about here on SRC) will still overide scientists' notions to promote
their own notions about what will "sell" a movie.
Post by rick++
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
They were, essentially, not bad. Me, I always like to see what kind of
monsters THEY come up with. Best for me was the Alien(s) movies.
Espeically the last one where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), herself, was
resurrected as an Alien that looked like a human being. The best, for me,
classic monsters were the ones in Forbiden Planet (circa 1950s, and made
from the book [which, after reading, helped me understand where the
Forbidden Planet monsters came from]).
Post by rick++
I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
It would be nice to have more plots that made people think.
Nuki Mouse
2005-08-06 06:14:32 UTC
Permalink
"Straydog" <***@panix.com> wrote in message news:***@panix3.panix.com...
[snip]
Post by Straydog
They were, essentially, not bad. Me, I always like to see what kind of
monsters THEY come up with. Best for me was the Alien(s) movies.
Espeically the last one where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), herself, was
resurrected as an Alien that looked like a human being. The best, for me,
classic monsters were the ones in Forbiden Planet (circa 1950s, and made
from the book [which, after reading, helped me understand where the
Forbidden Planet monsters came from]).
Do you mean Shakespeare's The Tempest, because that is the book "Forbidden
Planet was based on. ^_~

What you read was W. J. Stuart's adoption of the movie screen play into a
novel and considered one of the best novelizations ever written, explaining
much left unclear in the movie to those not familiar with the Tempest.

Nuki_Mouse (Robby the Robot Rules!)
--
"This is just my opinion, I maybe wrong" D. Miller
"Defend free speech! Read a banned book today!" unknown.
"I may not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it with
my Life" Voltaire
Straydog
2005-08-06 12:33:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nuki Mouse
[snip]
Post by Straydog
They were, essentially, not bad. Me, I always like to see what kind of
monsters THEY come up with. Best for me was the Alien(s) movies.
Espeically the last one where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), herself, was
resurrected as an Alien that looked like a human being. The best, for me,
classic monsters were the ones in Forbiden Planet (circa 1950s, and made
from the book [which, after reading, helped me understand where the
Forbidden Planet monsters came from]).
Do you mean Shakespeare's The Tempest, because that is the book "Forbidden
Planet was based on. ^_~
What you read was W. J. Stuart's adoption of the movie screen play into a
novel and considered one of the best novelizations ever written, explaining
much left unclear in the movie to those not familiar with the Tempest.
I don't recall which came first, but if that was true then I stand to be
correccted. And, no I'm not familiar at all with the Tempest but am
familiar with some of Shakespeare's other plays.
Post by Nuki Mouse
Nuki_Mouse (Robby the Robot Rules!)
--
"This is just my opinion, I maybe wrong" D. Miller
"Defend free speech! Read a banned book today!" unknown.
"I may not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it with
my Life" Voltaire
Ar Q
2005-08-06 02:51:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
Yes, The Core is really bad. But, aren't many Sci Fi writers like Isaac
Asimov scientists first, writers later?
Straydog
2005-08-06 03:25:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ar Q
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/movies/04flyb.html
Remember the really inaccurate movie called The Core last year?
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
I do believe the more overall kinds of writing any (including
a scientist) can master, the better overall author they
will be. There are lessons from learning how to write screenplays-
how to write tight stories, develop good plots and character,
describe actions and images, etc.
Yes, The Core is really bad. But, aren't many Sci Fi writers like Isaac
Asimov scientists first, writers later?
As I've said before and should not have to again, now, there are actually
quite a few books in libraries on writing. I have even seen a book with
the title something like "How to write a romance for today's markets"
which sounds like its author knows something about what will fly and what
will not fly. I've heard, many years ago, that there is available even
software that will help write a romance novel. They can help you crank one
out in a week.

There are, all over the place, "Writers Guilds." There is one near where I
live.

I remember from my undergraduate Rhetoric courses that all of the profs
I had agreed on one thing: if you want to be a writer, the first and most
important thing to do is start writing. You don't wait till you are in the
mood, you don't wait till inspiration hits you, and you don't wait for the
ideas to pop into your head. In science it is publish or perish as well as
publish and perish but I never knew anyone who was not cranking out
journal manuscripts or grant proposals just as fast as the crankhandle
could be turned. There might be some masters degree programs on writing,
but if you could get your hands on the course outlines, any textbooks that
are used, etc., you could probably skip a lot of things, save money, and
save time.
R***@wdn.com
2005-08-06 03:50:03 UTC
Permalink
This may generate many irrate responses correcting me, :-) but
IMO in a word, no, if by scientist you mean an active professional
not just someone who got a degree in some field of science (just
like Crichton has a medical degree but IIRC he's never practiced as
a doctor). There are one or two exceptions whose names I don't
recall, but I wouldn't say many Sci Fi writers are scientists. A few,
yes. It takes too much time to be either a good scientist or a good
writer to be both unless one is quite unusual, IMO. I don't know of
any of Asimov's scientific contributions, but IIRC he was a biochemist
and that isn't a field with which I'm very familiar. Carl Sagan was a
good scientist and good writer, IMO, but most of his writing wasn't
science fiction (except _Contact_).

Cheers,
Russell
Nuki Mouse
2005-08-06 06:41:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@wdn.com
This may generate many irrate responses correcting me, :-) but
IMO in a word, no, if by scientist you mean an active professional
not just someone who got a degree in some field of science (just
like Crichton has a medical degree but IIRC he's never practiced as
a doctor). There are one or two exceptions whose names I don't
recall, but I wouldn't say many Sci Fi writers are scientists. A few,
yes. It takes too much time to be either a good scientist or a good
writer to be both unless one is quite unusual, IMO. I don't know of
any of Asimov's scientific contributions, but IIRC he was a biochemist
and that isn't a field with which I'm very familiar. Carl Sagan was a
good scientist and good writer, IMO, but most of his writing wasn't
science fiction (except _Contact_).
Asimov was a professor at Boston University from the early 1950's until his
death in 1992, He is famous for having a works in EVERY major category of
the Dewey Decibel system except philosophy.

Nuki_Mouse
--
"This is just my opinion, I maybe wrong" D. Miller
"Defend free speech! Read a banned book today!" unknown.
"I may not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it with
my Life" Voltaire
Rich Lemert
2005-08-06 19:05:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nuki Mouse
Asimov was a professor at Boston University from the early 1950's until his
death in 1992, He is famous for having a works in EVERY major category of
the Dewey Decibel system except philosophy.
I believe the position was mostly honorary, since I don't believe he
actually practiced much science once he found out he could get his
other work published. The school was happy with the arrangement because
it didn't cost them anything but brought them a lot of (mostly)
favorable publicity.
rick++
2005-08-08 14:26:40 UTC
Permalink
I believe the position was mostly honorary ....
It sounded like he didnt want to retire his tenured slot
to spite the other faculty who thought writing fiction
was a waste of time. He cut his duties to a minimum-
just an annual lecture (I heard some of them).
Rich Lemert
2005-08-06 19:02:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@wdn.com
There are one or two exceptions whose names I don't
recall, but I wouldn't say many Sci Fi writers are scientists. A few,
yes. It takes too much time to be either a good scientist or a good
writer to be both unless one is quite unusual, IMO. I don't know of
any of Asimov's scientific contributions, but IIRC he was a biochemist
and that isn't a field with which I'm very familiar.
Asimov started out in academia, but soon discovered he was much more
comfortable as a writer. In one of his essays he talked about being
worried how his department would react when his first fiction story was
about to be published. He mentioned his concern to his department's
chair, and the only concern expressed was "is it a good story?"
Pete
2005-08-06 21:07:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@wdn.com
This may generate many irrate responses correcting me, :-) but
IMO in a word, no, if by scientist you mean an active professional
not just someone who got a degree in some field of science
[.....] There are one or two exceptions whose names I don't
recall, but I wouldn't say many Sci Fi writers are scientists. A few,
yes.
Nothing irate here, I hope... (:-/) And in fact you're probably right
about the majority of SF writers not being scientifically oriented --
especially these days, and if you include all the hacks and virtually
all screenwriters!

However, I think a lot of the 'classic' SF was written by people who
*were* scientifically trained, and many were or are working in science
or academia. Off the top of my head:

Fred Hoyle, of course [OK so his prose was hardly classic,
but his stories were fun!]

Asimov and Sagan have been mentioned, and Heinlein was an
engineer for a while, wasn't he?... Clarke of course is
extremely technologically informed, studied at Kings College,
and has written at least one classic paper, but I guess was
never a full-time academic.

Robert Forward

Charles Sheffield and Greg Benford, I believe [somebody
correct me...]

Vernor Vinge

(More?)

I suspect even more these days are science journalists, though I
can't name many names. Richard Lovett, though, shows up with about
equal frequency in the pages of NewScientist and Analog.

-- Pete --
--
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The address in the header is a Spam Bucket -- don't bother replying to it...
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Straydog
2005-08-06 21:41:56 UTC
Permalink
Being that some of this thread has spilled over from where I am (SRC) to
r.a.m.d-f, we really don't have a good overview of (classical)
"literature" and its relevance to the scientist going to screen-writer
theme. I'm not sure, but I'd have to ask some questions.

1. What is the average per capita time spent seeing movies (which is in
the newsgroup name to which some people are responding).
2. What is the average per capita time spent reading books (I'm thinking
of Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, etc., which is a very large market).
3. Considering the large number of fiction book (not to mention
non-fiction) titles published per year compared to the number of movies
published per year (we can think about video tapes, too?)...

..why is screen-writing coming up as a targeted new profession/career?

Just write a book (manuscript) and avail yourself of one of many avenues
of publication (OK, so, yes, its not that easy, but then, again, how many
screen-writer jobs are out there compared to free lance authoriing?)

===== no change to below, included for reference and context =====
Post by Pete
Post by R***@wdn.com
This may generate many irrate responses correcting me, :-) but
IMO in a word, no, if by scientist you mean an active professional
not just someone who got a degree in some field of science
[.....] There are one or two exceptions whose names I don't
recall, but I wouldn't say many Sci Fi writers are scientists. A few,
yes.
Nothing irate here, I hope... (:-/) And in fact you're probably right
about the majority of SF writers not being scientifically oriented --
especially these days, and if you include all the hacks and virtually
all screenwriters!
However, I think a lot of the 'classic' SF was written by people who
*were* scientifically trained, and many were or are working in science
Fred Hoyle, of course [OK so his prose was hardly classic,
but his stories were fun!]
Asimov and Sagan have been mentioned, and Heinlein was an
engineer for a while, wasn't he?... Clarke of course is
extremely technologically informed, studied at Kings College,
and has written at least one classic paper, but I guess was
never a full-time academic.
Robert Forward
Charles Sheffield and Greg Benford, I believe [somebody
correct me...]
Vernor Vinge
(More?)
I suspect even more these days are science journalists, though I
can't name many names. Richard Lovett, though, shows up with about
equal frequency in the pages of NewScientist and Analog.
-- Pete --
--
============================================================================
The address in the header is a Spam Bucket -- don't bother replying to it...
(If you do need to email, replace the account name with my true name.)
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BMJ
2005-08-06 23:05:06 UTC
Permalink
Pete wrote:

<snip>
Post by Pete
Nothing irate here, I hope... (:-/) And in fact you're probably right
about the majority of SF writers not being scientifically oriented --
especially these days, and if you include all the hacks and virtually
all screenwriters!
In addition, the focus of science fiction seems to have changed in the
last few years from *science* fiction to fantasy. Part of it is, I
suppose, all the good stuff that was written about in the past (such as
going to the moon) is now real and, often, commonplace.
Post by Pete
However, I think a lot of the 'classic' SF was written by people who
*were* scientifically trained, and many were or are working in science
Fred Hoyle, of course [OK so his prose was hardly classic,
but his stories were fun!]
Asimov and Sagan have been mentioned, and Heinlein was an
engineer for a while, wasn't he?... Clarke of course is
extremely technologically informed, studied at Kings College,
and has written at least one classic paper, but I guess was
never a full-time academic.
Clarke's novel "Glide Path" was based on his work with radar during
World War II. It's an excellent story.
Post by Pete
Robert Forward
Charles Sheffield and Greg Benford, I believe [somebody
correct me...]
Vernor Vinge
(More?)
Lots more.

Jerry Pournelle has a Ph. D. and has a background in several fields,
including statistics and engineering:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Pournelle

Clarke also collaborated with Gentry Lee, who's been involved with a
number of NASA space probes, including Viking.

Poul Anderson had a physics degree:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson

Stanley Schmidt has a Ph. D. in physics and was a professor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Schmidt

James Blish used to work for Pfizer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Blish
Post by Pete
I suspect even more these days are science journalists, though I
can't name many names.
Ben Bova was the editor for "Omni", wasn't he?

Richard Lovett, though, shows up with about
Post by Pete
equal frequency in the pages of NewScientist and Analog.
-- Pete --
Pete
2005-08-09 18:59:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pete
... Clarke of course is
extremely technologically informed, studied at Kings College,
and has written at least one classic paper,
... which I see from the BBC has its 60th anniversary this year
[Wireless World, October 1945]:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/technology/4746075.stm

-- Pete --
--
============================================================================
The address in the header is a Spam Bucket -- don't bother replying to it...
(If you do need to email, replace the account name with my true name.)
============================================================================
Rich Lemert
2005-08-06 18:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ar Q
Yes, The Core is really bad. But, aren't many Sci Fi writers like Isaac
Asimov scientists first, writers later?
Depends on the particular category of Sci Fi you're talking about.
Robert Forward, who in my opinion has come up with some of the most
interesting and creative aliens ever, was a NASA-JPL scientist for most
of his life and has several patents to his name. He's the biggest name
I can think of that follows this pattern.

In the "Space War" genre, the best stories seem to be coming from
authors with a military background. John Ringo and the guy who does the
"Honor Harrington" stories come to mind. And IIRC, Haldeman's "Forever
War" was based on his experiences in Viet Nam.
rick++
2005-08-08 14:33:52 UTC
Permalink
The other I can think of is G. Benford
who is an astrophysicist prof at UC Irvine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Benford
His stuff is pretty good.
lauracap
2005-08-07 15:43:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
What difference does it make when some doofus undereducated overpriced
actor is just going to rewrite the script anyway to showcase their own
character?

Laura
Straydog
2005-08-07 18:50:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by lauracap
Post by rick++
The NY Times reports on a government program to retrain
scientists as screen writers to improve the Hollywood image
What difference does it make when some doofus undereducated overpriced
actor is just going to rewrite the script anyway to showcase their own
character?
Laura
The marketing/PR department may, ultimately, call the shots, not the
actor.
R***@wdn.com
2005-08-08 02:18:37 UTC
Permalink
Same idea, different doofus. :-)

Cheers,
Russell
Mr. Anderson
2005-08-12 00:01:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
Michael Crichton IS a scientist. He has an MD from Harvard.
R***@wdn.com
2005-08-12 03:18:12 UTC
Permalink
Well, that's been the point of much of the discussion, what consitutes
a "scientist"? My position is that while a MD has knowledge of
certain scientific fields, it does not automatically make him/her a
scientist. I base this conclusion on close personal observation of the
medical world. I even maintain that a degree in a science doesn't
automatically fully qualify one as a scientist. Thus some writers that
others call scientist-turned-writer I demur on. However, I appreciate
that other may reasonably reach different conclusions and the line is
not sharp.

Cheers,
Russell
Straydog
2005-08-12 11:00:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mr. Anderson
Post by rick++
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
Michael Crichton IS a scientist. He has an MD from Harvard.
There are several issues worth bringing up in connection with these two
sentences. First, if MC has an MD (where he got it from is much less
relevant), then how much MD-relevant work has he done? How well did he do
it? Generally, an MD is not considered as a research graduate degree
(except under the circumstances of doing medical research and even then,
to be on the research faculty, means doing postdoctoral work, doing actual
research (which is working on cause-effect relationships in populations,
as compared with diagnosing symptoms in individuals [patients]). PhD's are
much more likely to merit the lay term "scientist" simply because
scientific activity is a larger part of the graduate studies.

It would be more informed to refer to MC as a physician or a clinician and
to refer to a scientist (a lay term) as a physicist, chemist, biologist,
geologist, meteorologist, agronomist (or any of dozens of additional
descriptors that actually identify the person's field of specialization).
Gene S. Berkowitz
2005-08-13 06:02:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Straydog
Post by Mr. Anderson
Post by rick++
Sounds like a silly project. The old method of a decent writer
obtaining good scientific advice from consultants worked fine.
Look at all those Michael Crighton hits.
Michael Crichton IS a scientist. He has an MD from Harvard.
There are several issues worth bringing up in connection with these two
sentences. First, if MC has an MD (where he got it from is much less
relevant), then how much MD-relevant work has he done? How well did he do
it? Generally, an MD is not considered as a research graduate degree
(except under the circumstances of doing medical research and even then,
to be on the research faculty, means doing postdoctoral work, doing actual
research (which is working on cause-effect relationships in populations,
as compared with diagnosing symptoms in individuals [patients]). PhD's are
much more likely to merit the lay term "scientist" simply because
scientific activity is a larger part of the graduate studies.
It would be more informed to refer to MC as a physician or a clinician and
to refer to a scientist (a lay term) as a physicist, chemist, biologist,
geologist, meteorologist, agronomist (or any of dozens of additional
descriptors that actually identify the person's field of specialization).
CRICHTON, (John) Michael. American. Born in Chicago, Illinois, October
23, 1942. Educated at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, A.B.
(summa cum laude) 1964 (Phi Beta Kappa). Visiting Lecturer in
Anthropology at Cambridge University, England, 1965. Henry Russell Shaw
Travelling Fellow, 1964-65. Entered Harvard Medical School, M.D. 1969;
spent one year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for
Biological Sciences, La Jolla, California 1969-1970. Visiting Writer,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.

Looks like he ws co-author on an anthropology paper:

Body disproportions and occupational success in bus and truck drivers
Albert Damon, J. Michael Crichton
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 23, Issue 1, 1965. Pages 63-82

..so that might make him an anthropologist...

--Gene
R***@wdn.com
2005-08-13 16:03:52 UTC
Permalink
I'd accept that.

Cheers,
Russell
Mr. Anderson
2005-08-13 19:39:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gene S. Berkowitz
Body disproportions and occupational success in bus and truck drivers
Albert Damon, J. Michael Crichton
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 23, Issue 1, 1965. Pages 63-82
I find the title of this paper to be quite amusing.
Gene S. Berkowitz
2005-08-13 21:03:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mr. Anderson
Post by Gene S. Berkowitz
Body disproportions and occupational success in bus and truck drivers
Albert Damon, J. Michael Crichton
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 23, Issue 1, 1965. Pages 63-82
I find the title of this paper to be quite amusing.
I'm surprised Dr. Crichton didn't get a screenplay out of it...

--Gene
Mr. Anderson
2005-08-13 22:03:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gene S. Berkowitz
Post by Mr. Anderson
Post by Gene S. Berkowitz
Body disproportions and occupational success in bus and truck drivers
Albert Damon, J. Michael Crichton
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 23, Issue 1, 1965. Pages 63-82
I find the title of this paper to be quite amusing.
I'm surprised Dr. Crichton didn't get a screenplay out of it...
The car talk guys are from MIT. They should give him an honorable mention.
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