Contact (1997)

 

Concept featured in film: Ethics in Science

Location of clip: DVD: 0:51:15 - 0:53:10

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: The scene opens with Dr. Arroway (Jodie Foster) discovering a message buried in a radio wave, while doing SETI research. The message is believed to be of extra-terrestrial origin. When the government hears of this discovery they rush down to take over the research. Dr. Arroway, the original researcher, wants to be in charge of the program, but her superior (Dr. Drebin), who thought Dr. Arroway's research was a waste of time earlier in the movie, takes partial credit and heads the program himself.

Connection of flickclip to the concept:This is a good clip to introduce the concept ethics in science.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. How is what Dr. Drebin did to Dr. Arroway, violating basic ethical standards in science?

b. What should have happened?

c. Why are some groups represented in science more than others? Is this fair?

2. Students can research underrepresented groups of people in science (e.g., women, African Americans, Asian Americans, etc.) Have students compare what happened to Dr. Arroway with what really happened to Dr. Rosalind Franklin and her research in DNA (hint: Watson & Crick=Drebin)