Movies with a connection to LBNL


This film includes references to (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) albeit prior to the Laboratories' creation, due to its focus on J. Robert Oppenheimer and appearances by E.O. Lawrence, who played a key role in the development of the atomic bomb.

The Hulk

The plot is pure fiction, but the Gamma Sphere is real. "It is the best gamma-ray detector in the world," says I-Yang Lee, the real head of Berkeley's low-energy nuclear physics programme.

The Gamma Sphere found its way into The Hulk after Hollywood producers saw the machine's website while hunting for some real-life science to update their story. After several trips to see the machine, director Ang Lee (no relation to I-Yang Lee) shot a portion of the film at Berkeley's Advanced Light Source. "The reproduction of the Gamma Sphere in the movie is very realistic," I-Yang Lee says.

There are some notable differences between the fictional Gamma Sphere and its real-world counterpart. Most importantly, Hollywood's Gamma Sphere emits gamma rays; in reality, the machine detects them - making it impossible for the device to irradiate anyone. "We study deformed nuclei," says I-Yang Lee, "We don't deform people."

The Day After Trinity

This documentary about the development of the atomic bomb features segments on J. Robert Oppenheimer and could potentially mention E.O. Lawrence's work.

Fat Man and Little Boy

Another film centered around the Manhattan Project, this 1989 movie focuses on the development of the atomic bomb. E.O Lawrence's contributions to the project could potentially be referenced.

Day One

This made-for-TV movie dramatizes the Manhattan Project and the events leading up to the first atomic bomb test. E.O. Lawrence's involvement in the project may be mentioned.

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The Social Network

This film depicts the founding of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg while he was a student at Harvard University. While UC Berkeley is not directly mentioned, the broader context of tech entrepreneurship and innovation in Silicon Valley, where UC Berkeley has ties, is relevant.

Complete list of Hacker and Cybersecurity Movies

This list does not have a direct connection to LBNL but may be of interest to some.