Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer,” set for release July 21, portrays the development of the atomic bomb. But while many female physicists made headway in nuclear science and were a part of the Manhattan Project, the trailer doesn’t depict many women – and none of the women in it are doing physics.

Turns out, “Oppenheimer” isn’t the only movie to neglect representation of women in physics. When I spoke with two experts from the University of Pittsburgh, Carl Kurlander and Chandralekha Singh, they were hard-pressed to name even one example of popular media that appropriately represent female physicists.

“Our intention is not to disparage the ‘Oppenheimer’ movie, but to point out that by not centering media attention on diverse voices – including those of women in physics – filmmakers perpetuate the status quo and stereotypes about who belongs in physics,” write Kurlander and Singh. “Additionally, young women continue to be deprived of exposure to role models who could inspire their academic and professional journeys.”

This week we also liked articles about tales of adventures at sea, how drugs have been part of spiritual life for thousands of years and why it’s fair for the government to prosecute former President Donald Trump.

Mary Magnuson

Assistant Science Editor

Lise Meitner, in the front row, sits alongside many male colleagues at the Seventh Solvay Physics Conference in 1933. Corbin Historical via Getty Images

Female physicists aren’t represented in the media – and this lack of representation hurts the physics field

Carl Kurlander, University of Pittsburgh; Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh

The trailer for ‘Oppenheimer’ fails to include female physicists, which is indicative of a broader media trend that, if reversed, could lead to greater gender diversity in science.

Novels about underwater adventures offer a glimpse at oceanic life. fotograzia via Getty Images

Classic literature still offers rich lessons about life in the deep blue sea

Jonathan Bate, Arizona State University

The recent tragedy of the Titan submersible bore striking parallels to one of the most widely read novels about life at sea.

Getting high to get spiritual insight isn’t a new pursuit. bestdesigns/iStock via Getty Images

Drugs and religion have been a potent combination for millennia, from cannabis at ancient funerary sites to psychedelic retreats today

Gary Laderman, Emory University

A scholar of religion who is writing a book on sacred drugs explains how today’s ‘psychedelic renaissance’ reflects a millennia-long history of using intoxicants to seek insight and connection.

The Conversation Quiz 🧠

  • Here’s the first question of this week’s edition:

    A handwritten will by singer Aretha Franklin, signed "A. Franklin" with a smiley face, was ruled valid by a Michigan jury on July 11. Where was the will found?

    1. A. On a croquet manual in her attic
    2. B. On a cocktail napkin in a suitcase
    3. C. On a notebook wedged in a couch
    4. D. On the back of a painting of poker-playing dogs

    Test your knowledge