Are science-based TV shows accurate?

Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 14:29 PM IST

Washington: Do TV shows like ‘House’, ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Zula Patrol’ - major sources of information about science and technology for millions of people - try to get it right?

Or do they play fast and loose with facts, images and nuances that forge public perceptions about science and help shape young people`s career decisions?

Producers and writers for some of TV`s most popular medical, crime, science and science fiction shows today said they do strive for accuracy and ask more scientists to lend a hand in helping accurately portray science.

Donna Nelson, who organised the programme `Hollywood Chemistry` with Nancy B. Jackson, president of American Chemical Society (ACS), said Hollywood needs more scientists to volunteer to vet the scientific accuracy of scripts.

Nelson is a chemist adviser for the six-time Emmy Award-winning AMC Channel show "Breaking Bad", according to an ACS statement.

"It`s really important for scientists to work with television and movie producers and writers so that when people watch science-based shows and films, they are getting accurate information," Nelson said.

"For example, the credits at the start of `Breaking Bad` feature symbols of chemical elements from the periodic table. The symbols `Br` and `Ba` are for the elements bromine and barium as in `Breaking Bad`," he added.

These findings were presented at `Hollywood Chemistry`, held as part of the ACS`s national meeting and exposition. The year 2011 is also the International Year of Chemistry (IYC).