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Who would get your vote for best onscreen portrayal of a physical scientist?

By James Dacey

Still from Dracula vs. Frankenstein

From Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971).

It’s film awards season, as Hollywood megastars such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence have been showered in praise by the industry for their performances in some of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Personally, I had a funny inkling that Django Unchained might pull off a surprise victory in the Best Picture category at the Oscars, but the powers that be decided that it wasn’t to be.

One thing I did notice among the Oscar winners is that science fiction and fantasy were not particularly well represented. The excellent Life of Pi did win a swath of prizes, including best director and best visual effects, though at its heart it is more a story about soul-searching and why attempting to ship zoo animals halfway across the world is a risky business.

In this week’s Facebook poll we want to give you the chance to vote for an alternative prize. We want to know which actor you believe put in the best performance when playing an onscreen physical scientist. We’ve considered films and TV programmes throughout the history of cinema and broadcasting, and we’ve drawn up a shortlist. We are more concerned with the acting performance, rather than which you believe is the best character or the best film – though I’m sure that these aspects are connected in most cases. So please give your response to the following question.

Who would get your vote for best onscreen portrayal of a physical scientist?


Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown

Peter Sellers as Dr Strangelove

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

Jodie Foster as Eleanor Arroway

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm

Somebody else

Let us know by visiting our Facebook page and if you think the prize should go to somebody else, then please let us know by posting a comment either on Facebook or this blog entry.

In last week’s poll we responded to the news that the Nobel laureate Steven Chu will be stepping down from the role of US energy secretary. We asked whether you believe he has been a good energy secretary. Some 82% of respondents believe that he has been successful. I guess that goes down as a ringing endorsement from our Facebook fans. Thank you for all your participation and we hope to hear from you again in this week’s poll.

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  1. Peter Gino Marchese

    I saw a film about fifty years ago portraying the life and work of the Curies

  2. Maxim Ziatdinov

    As for the portrayal of a physical scientist, what about Peter MacNicol as Larry Fleinhardt in “Numb3rs”?

  3. Mars Hayward

    it was Greer Garson that played Madam Curie. She gets my vote!

  4. Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein 😉


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