Jurassic  Park

Pickford Film Center Bellingham, WA


Thor Hansen

Professor Emeritus of Geology, Western Washington University

Jurassic Park— The science of Jurassic Park

How do we know what dinosaurs were like? Are the dinosaurs depicted in Jurassic Park accurate? Geologist Thor Hansen explores the kinds of evidence paleontologists use to reconstruct how dinosaurs lived and just what Jurassic Park gets right and wrong about them. Presented as part of the 2019 National Week of Science on Screen.

Pickford Film Center Bellingham, WA

Film Synopsis

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Two dinosaur experts, Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), are invited by eccentric millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to preview his new amusement park on an island off Costa Rica. By cloning DNA harvested from prehistoric insects, Hammond's scientists have recreated living dinosaurs for the exhibits. Accompanied by a cynical mathematician who is obsessed with chaos theory (Jeff Goldblum) and the millionaire’s two grandchildren (Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards), the experts are sent on a tour through the resort in computer-controlled touring cars. But as a tropical storm hits the island, knocking out the power supply, an unscrupulous employee (Wayne Knight) sabotages the system so he can smuggle dinosaur embryos out of the park, and the dinosaurs rage out of control. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg directed the first installment of this epic sci-fi adventure film.

About the Speaker

Thor Hansen earned his bachelor's degree in geology at George Washington University and his Ph.D. in geology and paleontology at Yale University. He joined the Geology Department at Western Washington University in 1985 and has taught a course on dinosaurs for more than 20 years.