Science in the Movies

A scene from "Light and Magic"

Art Meets Science

This Visual Effects Studio Transformed Movies Forever

A new documentary tells the story of Industrial Light and Magic, the pioneering team that brought films like "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park" to life

Over the course of our planet’s history, major impacts by comets and asteroids are plentiful.

The Very Real Effort to Track Killer Asteroids and Comets

In "Don't Look Up," researchers warn authorities about a comet hurtling towards Earth. Such a scenario isn’t just science fiction

By studying the friction generated in a finger snap, a team of scientists concluded that it would've been physically impossible to snap while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.

If Marvel Obeyed Physics, Thanos Couldn't Have Snapped While Wearing the Infinity Gauntlet

Inspired by the 'Avengers: Infinity War' movie, a group of scientists investigated the friction behind the iconic finger snap

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, holding the Mattel Hoverboard in a scene from Back to the Future II

Marty McFly's 'Back to the Future II' Hoverboard Sells for $500,000

Signed by the franchise's star, actor Michael J. Fox, the movie prop easily surpassed its auction estimate

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

Kate Winslet plays Mary Anning in 'Ammonite'

Science in the Movies

'Ammonite' Is Historical Fan Fiction About the World's First Great Fossil Hunter

A new trailer previews the period drama featuring Kate Winslet as pioneering paleontologist Mary Anning

A newly discovered species of velvet spider with bold red and white coloration was named after actor Joaquin Phoenix who portrayed the comic book villain the Joker in the 2019 film of the same name. Researchers thought the spider's pattern resembled the Jokers face paint.

'Joker' Spider Named After Joaquin Phoenix

Loureedia phoenixi’s bold red and white abdomen inspired the researchers’ homage

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

Science in the Movies

'The Invisible Man' Isn't Real, but This Invisibility Technology Is

A new take on H.G. Wells' classic novel is in theaters, but how far has real-life cloaking tech come?

Falling stars as seen on a balloon journey in pioneering aeronaut James Glaisher's book Travels in the Air. A record-setting balloon flight manned by Glaisher is the subject of the new movie The Aeronauts.

Based on a True Story

The True History of the Aeronauts Who Transformed Our View of the World Above

For early balloonists like James Glaisher, the sky was uncharted—and dangerous—territory

The laboratory where Frankenstein's monster is created in the 1931 film.

Science in the Movies

The Science Behind Hollywood’s Movie Monsters

Massive hits at the time, the films that brought Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and more to life also tapped into societal fears and traumas

Step aside, Mufasa. In the real world, females run the pride.

Science in the Movies

Ten Things We’ve Learned About Lions Since Disney’s Original 'The Lion King'

Since the animated movie came out 25 years ago, zoologists have expanded our understanding of these fierce carnivores

The “headless chicken monster” is actually a type of sea cucumber.

Science in the Movies

Fantastic Things We Learned This Year About Fantastic Beasts of the Real World

The second iteration of the “Fantastic Beasts” movie series comes out this week, but why wait for the movie when you can get a glimpse of the real thing?

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man.

Smithsonian Curator Reflects on What 'First Man' Gets Right About Neil Armstrong's Journey to the Moon

The new film lays bare the personal sacrifice and peril that accompanied NASA's historic mission

Even outside of Hollywood, wasps are fierce contenders in their own right.

Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in <i>Ant-Man and the Wasp</i>

Bees tend to get all the attention, but Marvel turns the spotlight on one of nature’s most devious masterminds

The chevrons on the Panther's early suit, and the tessellated triangles on his later model, hint at the "sacred geometry" of triangular forms common to several African cultures.

King T’Challa’s Black Panther Suit, a Bold Statement of Afrofuturist Pride, Comes to the Smithsonian

Pounce on the opportunity to celebrate contemporary African-African filmmaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture this fall

The smart, menacing, powerful T. rex of 1993's Jurassic Park has lodged itself in the minds of millions.

How We Elected <i>T. rex</i> to Be Our Tyrant Lizard King

The true story behind our obsession with the last and largest of the tyrannosaurs

The first insect found trapped in ancient amber wasn’t a mosquito, but an overstuffed weevil.

Jurassic Park's Unlikely Symbiosis With Real-World Science

The 1993 film showed both the promise and misconceptions that surround ancient DNA

Elle Fanning as author Mary Shelley

Coming Soon

Watch: The First Trailer for 'Mary Shelley' Explores the Many Inspirations for 'Frankenstein'

The biopic will follow Mary Wollstonecraft's scandalous teenage romance with the older Percy Bysshe Shelley and the events that shaped her most famous book

Giant Panda cubs developing their tree-climbing skills at China’s Chengdu Panda Base

The Science Behind the Unbearably Cute IMAX Movie "Pandas"

Wild populations of these loveable fuzz-faced bears need help, and scientists are on the case

Awesome Con provided an opportunity for science fiction and real-life science to play off of one another. The Robot from Netflix's Lost in Space reboot (center) illustrates the former, while the NASA jacket of the con attendee on the right nods to the latter.

The Real Science Behind Your Favorite Nerd Culture at Awesome Con

Astrophysicists, vehicle technicians and biologists joined the party to bring cutting-edge research to fictional worlds

loading icon