ERIC Number: EJ920329
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Reference Count: 15
The Elements Go to the Movies
Taarea, Dina; Thomas, Nicholas C.
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n10 p1056-1059 Oct 2010
The names of many common elements have found their way into the titles of feature films: gold, silver, iron, copper, and lead, for example, appear in hundreds of movie titles. Surprisingly, perhaps, more than two dozen other elements, including iodine, cadmium, zinc, calcium, argon, chlorine, and others, have also been used in film titles. In this article, the authors present a list of films (and a few "shorts") that contain the names of elements in their titles. In many cases, there is a direct chemical significance behind an element's use in the title. For example, in the 2004 film, "The Calcium Kid," Orlando Bloom's character claims he developed strong bones due to a lifetime of milk consumption. In some instances, however, there is little or no scientific reason why an element appears in the title such as the 1998 Bruce Willis thriller "Mercury Rising," in which the "mercury" has no chemical relevance to the film's plot. Nevertheless, movies are an extremely popular form of entertainment, and even if the link to chemistry is tenuous, these can provide interesting cultural examples of chemistry. Suggestions for integrating some titles into classroom lessons or lectures are provided.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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