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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy
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Physics and Astronomy Film Trivia

This was a fun event at our December Holiday Party one year (with prizes of Richard Feynman books for the winning students, and a Chia Professor for the winning prof!)

Questions

  1. What historical event does the Paul Newman film Fat Boy and Little Man depict? Who plays Richard Feynmann in this movie?
  2. Name this documentary-style film biography of Stephen Hawking.
  3. In what film did Albert Einstein play Cupid for his mathematician niece and an automechanic? Name the leads.
  4. Who starred in the film version of Madam Curie’s life?
  5. What physicist does Matthew Broderick portray in the tender love story Infinity?
  6. Name the other historical figures in the satire Insignificance , which features Albert Einstein.
  7. What weird Australian film star portrays Young Einstein in the film of that name?
  8. In which 2001 film does a gorgeous MIT physics student save the soul (and mind) of a troubled mathematical genius?
  9. Paul Newman and Julie Andrews play nuclear physicists involved in espionage in this 1966 Alfred Hitchcock thriller.
  10. Name the persistent canine whose alternative theory of classical mechanics is at odds with Newton’s laws (and never gets him the Road Runner)
  11. I can think of at least three action movies in which the action hero or the hero’s sidekick is a physicist (usually a woman, oddly enough.) How many can you name? For extra points, names the actor/actress who plays the physicist too.
  12. What are Buckeroo Banzai’s three concurrent careers? In what film does he appear?
  13. Ian Malcolm studies what branch of mathematics/physics? In what films does he practice his trade?
  14. Jodie Foster plays an astrophysicist obsessed with (and successful at) finding extraterrestrial life in this box-office hit. Name the film and who wrote the book on which it was based.
  15. What astronomical object did astrophysicist Darryl Hannah discover in the Steve Martin comedy Roxanne?
  16. What plasma physics experiment do the thieves in the remake of Ocean Eleven make off with and use to create city-wide havoc in Las Vegas?
  17. Who plays the physics professor pondering cause, effect and the meaning of happiness in the downbeat 2001 film Thirteen Conversations About One Thing?

Answers

  1. The Manhattan Project—the making of the atomic bomb. John Cusac.
  2. A Brief History of Time.
  3. I.Q. Walter Mattheau (Einstein), Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins.
  4. Greer Garson.
  5. Richard Feynmann.
  6. Marilyn Monroe, Senator Joe McCarthy, and Joe DiMaggio.
  7. Yahoo Serious.
  8. A Beautiful Mind.
  9. Torn Curtain.
  10. Wile E. Coyote.
  11. You must be a real movie junkie if you get this one…Chain Reaction (Keanu Reeves), Top Gun (Kelly McGillis), The Peacemaker (Nicole Kidman) and The Saint (Elizabeth Shue) are the ones we could think of
  12. Physicist, brain surgeon and rock star in The Adventures of Buckeroo Bonzai.
  13. Chaos theory, as applied to dinosaur havoc in Jurassic Park and The Lost World.
  14. Contact. Carl Sagan wrote the book of the same name.
  15. A comet.
  16. A Z-pinch experiment
  17. John Turturro

Send us your film trivia questions, corrections, etc.!