Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tyson Tunes Up Titanic

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium. He is also a public figure who promotes science communication and education. And now Dr. Tyson has made another leap for accurate science communication, at least in Hollywood movies. This week marks the 3D re-release of James Cameron's Titanic.  When the movie originally debuted in 1997, Tyson noted an astronomical inaccuracy. The scene features Rose (Kate Winslet) floating on a piece of driftwood and looking up at the sky. The sky in question has a star field that is incorrect for the night of April 15, 1912 at 4:20 AM. Tyson has brought the point up repeatedly as the two ran into each other over the years. While working on his movie for 3D post-conversion, Cameron's team asked Tyson to send over an accurate sky map for that date and time. I don't know about you, but I count that as a win for science.

James Cameron and Titanic aren't the only high-profile media that Tyson has taken to task for their scientific inaccuracy. If you watch Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, then you will remember that Tyson pointed out that the globe at the beginning of Jon's was spinning in the wrong direction. In addition, Tyson’s pointed out Cameron’s inaccuracy and others in his book Cosmic Quandaries, as well as in a panel discussion at St. Petersburg College. Watch the very entertaining discussion below (it is a very long video so skip to 23:50 for just the rant on Titanic):

(story and image via /Film)

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