Molecular Models in Hollywood
TV-Big Bang Theory & TED

Over the years, you may have encountered a blog or two that mentions Indigo Instruments and how some of our molecular models have shown up in “Hollywood”.  They are all based on an original called Models in the Movies written by David Bradley of Cambridge, England back in 2005.  Since then lots of new things have happened, so time to update.


Years ago for “fun” we built a gigantic zeolite model that was nearly a metre cube in size. It had taken hours upon hours to build & in the end we had no idea what to do with it. Rather than take it apart, it was suspended from the warehouse rafters, destined to remain there for eternity. Months later, as luck would have it, Disney Studios called looking for “scientific” props for the movie, The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy.  They wanted something big & right away along with some smaller models. The only record we have is this photograph taken in 1996 before there were affordable digital cameras. This picture doesn’t do the model any justice since it was big, beautifully symmetrical & rather mesmerizing to stare at.

Orbit-Giant-Zeolite

In the years following, we added zeolites to our lineup of molecular model kits in part because they are neat looking but more importantly most of us have them in our homes. Not this specific one since there are hundreds of different ones but something like this is found in water softeners & many brands of water filters. The picture above shows a single subunit of the model seen in the movie which was made up of 8 subunits to form the full cube.  The original green bonds were very stiff & long to allow bending whereas the ones in the new models are shorter & flexible.  The single model is interesting but not nearly as impressive so its presented here as a stereo pair which you can see in 3D if you cross your eyes.  It may take a bit of practice to do this & cause a bit of eye strain.

orbit-zeolite-3D

The image shown below is another DNA model we offer which appeared on the Colbert Report. The topic for that day’s program was either the anniversary of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Watson & Crick or Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” which first outlined natural selection as the driving force in evolution. Cross your eyes to see it in 3D.

DNA Model

Our best model is a 17 base pair DNA double helix first delivered in 2000 to Bell Labs in New Jersey. We’ve since shipped hundreds to major universities, museums, companies & law firms around the world. It has even made at least one appearance in the TED lectures. It’s greatest claim to fame is its appearance on TV’s The Big Bang Theory. The props department of the Big Bang Theory production company ordered 2 at the end of season 1 after the show had been renewed. They stacked them to produce the 34 base pair model you see now as part of the furnishings of Sheldon & Leonard’s apartment.  It is presented below as a stereo pair for your viewing pleasure. A larger version of the Big Bang Theory DNA model can be seen at our website where it can also be purchased.

Big Bang Theory DNA Model

Of course, it doesn’t end with Hollywood movies & TV.  We have provided models for trade shows, corporate events, hospital fundraisers, training sessions & more.  The picture above shows models of 6 street drugs we provided to the NYPD for one of their drug awareness programs. From the lower right going clockwise you can see: cocaine, THC, methamphetamine, ketamine, heroin & ecstasy (MDMA).

molymod-street-drugs

Whether you are a teacher, researcher, company trainer or event planner,  our 3D Molecular Model Builder can produce an image of virtually any drug or chemical & creates a parts list for easy purchase. An example of the 3D Molecular Model Builder is provided below. Call, no molecule is too small.

Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

Summary
Article Name
Molecular Models for Teaching, Display, Promotion
Description
Molecular models are almost always associated with teaching chemistry. But, next time you watch a television program or movie with a science theme, you'll be surprised at how often these items appear. From TV's Big Bang Theory, Limitless & Law & Order to movies such as the Nutty Professor these structures act as important props & add a subtle texture to context.
Author
Indigo Instruments

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