John Hammond, the owner of Jurassic Park, invited several experts in the field to help evaluate the operation of the the park. Where everybody's role was quite obvious, Dr. Malcolm's role wasn't so clear. He appeared to be a skeptic, and went about explaining chaos theory to effectively say, life will find a way. Still, John even expresses his abhorrence toward Dr. Malcolm during the early parts of the tour. So, that raises the question, what value does Dr. Malcolm provide?

  • 9
    Well, mainly he served to confuse things: the inevitable breakdown of complex systems doesn't need chaos theory to explain it, it's just simple entropy. Jul 9, 2012 at 14:59
  • 6
    I believe his role is best summed up by the phrase “A little something for the laydeez.” Jul 5, 2013 at 12:02
  • John Hammond is the owner of Jurassic Park. Donald Gennaro is a lawyer representing investors in the park. Editing to reflect this. Nov 5, 2015 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


In the novel (and forgive me here, it's been many years) several scientists were invited to get an early look. The paleontologists mostly so that they could critique anything that was wrong or anachronistic. Remember, they weren't sure that they'd "gotten the dinosaurs right", they did have to fill in some missing pieces so to speak. Malcolm though was a young and hip black mathematician (which is why Jeff Goldblum was the perfect casting choice) and he would have been included because he was famous and popular (at that time). That he was brilliant was just a bonus, and though interdisciplinary collaboration can sometimes lead to insights that would never otherwise be realized they probably weren't counting on that.

Furthermore, Ian Malcolm is a character that Crichton used extensively. He's a central character in Sphere, and though I can't remember which, in another novel.

In the real world, they'd probably invite Kim Kardashian to get a first peek at the park. You shouldn't expect that people always have rational reasons for the things that they do, especially executive management of secretive companies.

  • 7
    I believe you mean Ian Malcolm as mathematician is an archetype that Crichton uses in other books. In Sphere the mathematician character is named Harry Adams.
    – Ashterothi
    Jul 10, 2012 at 21:51
  • 7
    “You shouldn't expect that people always have rational reasons for the things that they do, especially executive management of secretive companies.” Amen. “Hi, I’m Alicia Keys, and I’m here to explain the compelling benefits of Blackberry OS version 10.” Jul 5, 2013 at 12:01
  • 5
    Instead of Kim Kardashian I would have said Neil deGrasse Tyson. Its not a park about space but his endorsement would likely help out a lot. Oct 25, 2014 at 23:00
  • 4
    Was Ian Malcolm actually black? I thought he just dressed in black and only in black because it was more efficient time wise.
    – user20155
    Oct 26, 2014 at 23:39
  • 4
    I just read the chapter introducing him and Malcolm is described as wearing (and being fond of wearing) all black, no mention of his skin colour. Also, downvoting because this answer is plain wrong, his inclusion has nothing to do with popularity or fame - Valorums answer is correct.
    – DavidS
    Jun 7, 2018 at 15:13

The novel describes the scientists who were asked to consult on the "new museum" that InGen were planning. Doctor Grant seems to consider them an unremarkable group of high-brow consultants for this sort of project.

“Yes,” Grant said. “He was planning a museum for children, and he wanted to feature baby dinosaurs. He said he was hiring a number of academic consultants, and named them. There were paleontologists like me, and a mathematician from Texas named Ian Malcolm, and a couple of ecologists. A systems analyst. Good group.”

Genarro, rather than Hammond is responsible for choosing the group to tour Jurassic Park. Malcolm is already known to be completely sceptical of the success of the project:

None of them had much to do with the island, and one of them-the mathematician, Ian Malcolm-was openly hostile to the project from the start. Insisted it would never work, could never work.”


Ian Malcolm was one of the most famous of the new generation of mathematicians who were openly interested in “how the real world works.” These scholars broke with the cloistered tradition of mathematics in several important ways. For one thing, they used computers constantly, a practice traditional mathematicians frowned on. For another, they worked almost exclusively with nonlinear equations, in the emerging field called chaos theory. For a third, they appeared to care that their mathematics described something that actually existed in the real world.

Malcolm was evidently selected because of his ability to distill real-world problems into mathematical outcomes. Hammond seems to enjoy sparring with him verbally and is very keen to prove him wrong by showing him a fully functional park.

With even their most ardent detractor (a 'rock-star' mathematician, no less) admitting that the park is going to be a success, what better advert could they have?

  • 1
    Working on another Necromancer badge? Here's a +1 to help you.
    – Null
    Oct 26, 2014 at 1:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.