A strange event took place at a Manhattan theatre this week. The packed audience was normal for this lively venue, but the stars of the stage were not: at the end of the show, it was Nobel laureates rather than actors who obliged with autographs. The Sloan Film Summit, coordinated by the philanthropic Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Tribeca Film Institute, aims to bring scientists and film-makers together to make more realistic and entertaining stories about science. On 6 October, many of the summit guests assembled for panel discussions on science as entertainment, among them James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
Watson suggested the crowd should take a closer look at stomach ulcers. Barry Marshall, he went on to explain, is an Australian pathologist who won half of this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine for helping to prove that bacteria are the culprits behind ulcers. He would make a fantastic film hero, said Watson. At one point Marshall went so far as to swallow a solution containing the bacteria Helicobacter pylori to show a sceptical medical world that the microbes, and not stress, caused the stomach condition.