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The Real Science Behind the X Files: Microbes, Meteorites, and Mutants
by Anne Simon
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684856174, Hardcover)In The X-Files episode "The Erlenmeyer Flask," FBI agent Dana Scully shows some bacteria to microbiologist Anne Carpenter, who pronounces them extraterrestrial: containing different DNA nucleotides than those found in Earthly organisms. But like the hapless redshirts of Star Trek, scientists who uncover extraterrestrial evidence have shortened life expectancies. Indeed, Carpenter is soon snuffed out in a highly suspicious car crash. But the real scientist on whom she was based, University of Massachusetts virologist Anne Simon, remained as scientific advisor to the popular program: she is the "X-Pert."
In her book, Simon describes the scientific basis of various X-Files episodes, and writes about some of her behind-the-scenes work putting the Scully into Scully. Sometimes it gets a little difficult to keep track of when Simon is describing an episode and when she's talking about cutting-edge science, but that's part of her point: "The life of a research scientist is filled with mysteries as complex as any that appear on The X-Files. We are Scullys." Simon knows that this show, for all its paranormal apparatus, gives a taste of the thrill of real science, enough to be inspiring a new generation to follow in Scully's footsteps. --Mary Ellen Curtin
(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 15 Feb 2013 23:12:16 -0500)
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