Professor Kelly MacGregor, Geology

Course snapshot: Lights, camera, ACTION! Geologists think planet Earth is incredibly exciting, but nowhere is the story of our planet’s behavior more dramatized and misrepresented than in movies! Whether they are big-budget thrillers or low-brow science fiction, we will watch a variety of movie clips that focus on geologic hazards and critique the film’s portrayal of the earth process. 

Why should I take this class? You’ll learn all about geologic hazards across the globe, and why earth sciences are so interesting. AND you’ll do this while watching bad movies that are almost totally scientifically inaccurate but fun to make fun of!

Fun fact: The class is mostly filled with students not planning to major in a science at Macalester, but that’s what makes it such an interesting course—there is a huge range of student interests, backgrounds, and connections to the material that makes for lively conversation. 

Final project: Students create and write an outline of a movie script (including a title, tagline, cast/actors, and sample dialogue) for a disaster movie that does the science correctly!

Building community and staying connected: On Fridays the whole class meets to watch a movie together—we are actually all watching on our own computers, but we use the Zoom chat to make comments and laugh at the movies (and I point out key bits of (mis)information)!

Some of the epic films you might watch: Tremors, The Core, Dante’s Peak, The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas, 10.5, Tidal Wave: No Escape, Boa (also known as New Alcatraz) and some documentaries.

Selected text: The Control of Nature by John McPhee

December 15 2020

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