To many of us, physics is as impenetrable as a nun in Fort Knox. But if stranded in 1950's smalltown America with nothing but a modified De Lorean and an anachronistic body warmer, we'd know exactly how many gigawatts to feed into our flux capacitor.
Such is the power of the movies. But, like Steven Hawking and the Predator, physics and film are not always comfortable bedfellows. In the interests of telling a good story, movie makers often forget the science and commit physical fallacies, such as allowing sound effects in space and, well, pretty much every second of Armageddon. Ever since Newton invented the movie camera, scientific fact has taken a back seat to fantasy.
The Institute of Physics wants to redress the issue, and celebrate the importance of science on film. It's putting on a series of science-based flicks at the Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, each introduced by a relevant expert in the given branch of physics. Here's the lineup:
The Dish, Saturday, 3 May, 13.15 Introduced by Dr Simon Goodwin, lecturer in Astronomy, Sheffield University
Copenhagen, Saturday, 10 May, 13.45 Introduced by Dr Vlatko Vedral, professor of quantum information science from the University of Leeds
A Woman in Winter (12A) 17 May, 14.00 Introduced by Dr Michael Hawkins (the real-life inspiration for the film), of the Institute for Astronomy in Edinburgh
Back to the Future (PG) (for schools only) 20 May, 10.00 Introduced by Dr Pete Edwards, science and society officer in the Department of Physics at Durham University.
OK, so the last one plays a little fast and loose with the laws of reality, but it is the greatest film ever made, so we'll let it off.