How are politics and science closely related to one another in the film 2010: The Year We Make Contact?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between politics and science demonstrated in 2010 (from a novel by Arthur C. Clarke) is the same one that exists today as witnessed by the closing of Chicago's Fermilab's Tevatron proton accelerator. The opening scene and dialogue illustrate this relationship. Dr. Heywood Floyd is adjusting equipment in an observatory field and is approached by a Russian stranger who identifies himself as a scientist, "... we are scientist, you and I."

As Floyd's activity in this scene visually symbolizes, science is responsible for making discoveries (as the name of the craft represents, the Discovery) and developing technology. Politics has the power of authorization and funding: politics is the power that opens or closes doors, that allows science to climb the steps to the stars or sit moribund (as the many steps in the scene symbolize).

While, in a moment of rare candor, Floyd and the stranger discuss the next mission to Jupiter, Floyd asks how it could possibly arranged that an American might be included in a Russian mission. The stranger's response perfectly illustrates how science and politics are closely related. The stranger points out that he, as a science representative, would have a hard time arranging a joint mission but that the possibility of political glory announced on the front page of the Russian Communist newspaper might just make his efforts a success:

"A Russian craft ... carrying a few poor Americans who need our help. That also doesn't look too bad on the front page of Pravda."