10 Times Science Saved the World in Movies


Science helps explain the universe around us, but it also helps save that world. In Hollywood alone, it’s enabled traveling through time and space, engineering incredible machinery, and outsmarting non-human life forms. Before you see some alien ass-kicking science in Independence Day: Resurgence this weekend, here are other 10 movies that made you wish you paid more attention in school.

Independence Day

A Computer Virus Everyone Wanted
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When aliens arrive on Earth in 1996, a satellite technician, David Levinson, discovers transmissions that are actually a countdown to an attack. After a failed counter-attack, the government gains possession of an alien ship. Levinson comes up with a plan to infiltrate the enemy mothership, using the recovered alien attacker as a trojan horse to carry both a computer virus and a nuclear warhead. Once the virus is uploaded, the alien attacker force fields are shut down and the mothership is destroyed, allowing fighter squads around the world to claim victory.

Pacific Rim

Drifting into the Breach
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Giant aliens emerge from an interdimensional portal called the Breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and to fight them, large robots that require multiple mentally-linked (“drifting”) pilots are created. When the alien threat increases, a scientist, Newton Geiszler, creates a device that allows humans to mentally link to the aliens, gaining crucial intel on their attack plans as well as how the Breach works. A group of pilots go to the source and use a nuclear weapon to seal the Breach.


Crossing the Streams
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To defeat the paranormal forces that are wreaking havoc in New York, a team of scientists develops an arsenal of slime fighting equipment, including Proton Packs, which have the ability to strip electrons away from protons and counteract ghost negative energy with a positively charged Proton Stream. Crossing the streams is extremely dangerous as it results in total protonic reversal, but it proves to be the only way to defeat a dangerous demonic entity and its alternate dimension, saving New York City and creating the world’s largest s’mores party.

Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Blood Ties
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Alien beings called Mimics invade Europe, and during a doomed NATO assault in France, an Army Major William Cage kills one of the larger Mimics and is covered in its blood. He then gets stuck living the events of the past 24 hours until he dies and starts the day over again. With the help of a scientist and a sergeant who experienced the same Groundhog Day effect, Cage uses each day to train and gather information on the aliens. The alien blood connects Cage’s mind to the alien hive and its controlling queen, helping Cage to track down her location and destroy her.

World War Z

Out-Virusing a Virus
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A zombie outbreak is spreading rapidly and taking over the world. As scientists try to find the source of the outbreak, a former UN investigator notices that the zombies are selective in their victims and do not bite sick, injured, or elderly people. He tests his hypothesis by injecting himself with a pathogen to ward off an impending zombie attack — and survives. He then helps to develop a masking agent – a serious but curable disease that can be injected — to protect people from zombies and enable them to fight back.


Wormholes and Blackholes
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In a not so distant future, crops are failing, farming is struggling, and humanity’s existence is in danger. A former NASA pilot turned farmer and 11 other volunteers travel through a wormhole in space to evaluate if 12 other planets in a distant galaxy are inhabitable. Plan A is to use propulsion to evacuate Earth, while Plan B is to colonize a new planet using frozen embryos. Blackholes, mind-bending time travel, and gravitational equations all come into play to preserve and ensure the survival of humankind on another planet.


Here Comes the Sun
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The sun is dying and Earth is dying along with it. A crew that includes a physicist, engineer, biologist, and doctor go into space on the second and final attempt to reignite the sun using a nuclear bomb. The crew must alternately brave the freezing temperature of space and the deadly heat of the sun, as well as navigate and detonate a bomb directed at the sun.


The Little Robot That Could (and Did)
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In 2805 A.D., Earth has become a garbage-covered wasteland as a result of mass consumerism, and all remaining survivors are literally living off the fat of space ships. After a planetary cleanup plan fails, only one lonely active cleaner robot (WALL-E) remains and eventually finds something special — a living seedling plant. It is discovered and brought up to the space station by EVE, another robot whose directive is to scan the planet for any self-sustaining plant life. On board, WALL-E and his ro-bae protect the plant, and its existence is a sign that Earth, if taken care of, can be once again inhabitable. Humans and robots alike return to the ground and use the seedling to slowly restore the planet and terrestrial life.

Total Recall

Mind Over Martian
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A seemingly regular construction worker, Douglas Quaid, goes to Rekall, a company specializing in implanting virtual vacations into memory, and requests a trip to Mars. Soon the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred, and Quaid’s memories of being a Secret Agent resurface. He is thrown (back) into the middle of a revolutionary war on Mars, where he must decipher what is and is not real to defeat a corrupt dictator and save the Mars population.


Digging Deep
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An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and its impact will wipe out human existence in T-minus 18 days. In a Hail Mary move, NASA scientists devise a plan to detonate the asteroid from within and cause the separate pieces to fly past Earth. The best men for the job turn out not to be astronauts or engineers, but a team of expert deep-sea oil drillers. The motley crew launches into space in two shuttles, where they manage to drill a hole deep deep into the asteroid’s center and use a nuclear bomb to break it apart.

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