Books, Movies, and Chemistry
Learning about chemistry doesn’t have to involve a textbook. Check out these book and movie recommendations that blend chemistry with fiction and non-fiction. Are they accurate? How do they portray science and those who study it?
- Books to Read
We pin. You read. Check out ACS ChemClub’s Pinterest board, filled with science-themed books.
- Institute of Making
Author Mark Miodownik shows the science behind the world's stuff in his book Stuff Matters. This online collection houses even more examples.
- Stuff Matters Excerpt
Get a peek at the intro and first chapter of Miodownik's book.
- Stuff Matters in Chem13 News
Find out why chemistry teachers should read this book and share it with their students.
- Stuff Matters Review
Get a small taste of the materials and chemistry you'll find in Miodownik's book
- The Disappearing Spoon Podcast
Author Sam Kean tells forgotten stories from the past that have a science twist.
- The Story of Periodicity
Dive into The Disappearing Spoon from both English and Chemistry class points of view.
- The Martian Virtual Book Club Resources
Dive deeper into the science of The Martian with reading guides, Fermi calculations, and a personalized Martian playlist.
- The Martian: Book versus Movie
What’s your vote: book first or movie first? Both are packed with chemistry.
- The Martian: Popular Fiction Plus Chemistry
Gripping fiction. Gripping science. See how Andy Weir’s The Martian can find a place in the chemistry classroom.
- Reading Non-Fiction Within a Grade 10 Chemistry Class
It’s a true story, but reads like a mystery novel. How did chemistry cause “The Case of the Frozen Addicts”?
- Using Children's Literature To Teach Science
You’re never too old for a picture book! This site links tons of kid lit favorites with hands-on science activities.
- October Sky
Encourage your students to reach for the stars! Use the book Rocket Boys to motivate students to launch their study of rocket science.
- Literary Reactions
You’ve taken English Lit? What about Chemistry Lit? See some examples where chemistry “takes centre stage.”
- The Chemistry of the Murder Mystery
Chemistry makes the murder, or at least a book about one. These stories are fiction, but the chemistry is real.
- Science and Science Fiction
Want to use books and movies in your science curriculum? This resource list gets you started.
- Forensic Chemistry in Golden-Age Detective Fiction
These stories were CSI before there was CSI. What could forensic scientists detect and figure out back then?
- Carl Djerassi—Chemistry and Theatre
Become an “intellectual smuggler”—how can you work science into fiction? Hear how this famous chemist did it.
- Reading Aloud to Teens Gains Favor Among Teachers
Did you love being read to as a kid? It doesn’t have to stop! See what these teachers did and why.
- The Magical Periodic Table and The Element Girls Series
This middle school teacher makes elements come alive in her book series.
- The Chemical Wizardry of J.K. Rowling
Those in Harry Potter’s world would say it’s magic. We say it’s chemistry. Try these demos and activities for Hogwarts-style results.
- Interactive: Tales from The Poisoner's Handbook
The book turns graphic novel as you follow these chemistry crime solvers.
- Fiction for Teaching Chemistry
Educator alert! This action research paper gives a peek at some of the possibilities of bringing science fiction into the classroom.
- The Aroma of Books
Sure, using the words of books to learn chemistry is fine. But what about their smell?
- Connecting Black Panther's Vibranium to the Periodic Table
Where would you put this movie’s element into the existing periodic table? More importantly, why?
- Reality vs. Hollywood: Chemistry
What do chemists and their labs look like in real life? How well do movies match up?
- Chem Curious
These YouTube videos link movie clips with chemistry demos. Find your favorite!
- Reel Science
What’s your rating? Three flasks? Four? Pick a movie, decide how well it portrays science, then see if you agree with the online reviewer. Start your own list!
- Media Consulting: Entertaining Science
Leave the lab and head to Hollywood. Learn about what it’s like to be a science adviser for movies and TV shows.
- ReAction! Chemistry in the Movies
101 movies. Every single one has chemistry. Get started!
- Movies You Can Use in the Classroom
Try some of these movie clips in place of a demo in your classroom.
- Alien Biochemistry & Extra Terrestrial Minerals
This stuff is in the movies, but you won’t find it on earth. Learn about science from made-up minerals and aliens created for films.
- Celebrating Chemistry—"Behind the Scenes with Chemistry"
Get hands-on with these activities about the science of movie special effects.
- Mixing Bad: Where Are All the Great Chemical Films?
This ACS film fan answers the question with his list of chemistry/science themed movies and TV shows.
- Using the Erin Brockovich Saga in Chemistry Teaching
A 333-million-dollar court case, centered on chromium. Is it toxic, or essential to health? (Or both?)
- Using the Space Program in the Movies as a Teaching Tool
Head into outer space, without leaving the classroom. All it takes is a few movies and ideas from this article.
- Teaching Chemistry Using October Sky
Movie plus book memoir (throw in some rockets and explosions too) equals a great idea for exploring chemistry in the real world.
- Teaching Chemistry Using the Movie Apollo 13
Step 1: Watch movie. Step 2: Let the chemistry discussion begin…
- A Chemical Criterion for Rating Movies
Smell that? It’s the chemistry of an unusual way to rate movies.
- Chemistry at the Movies
Film. Popcorn. Audience. Which chemical compounds are part of the movie experience?
- Hidden Figures Curriculum Guide
These “human computers” played a critical role in the space races decades ago. Hear their story and the science.
(all sites accessed July 2021)