Out of This World: The Science of Space Movies

Out of this World
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Presented by the Academy's Science and Technology Council

In conjunction with the Palo Alto International Film Festival (PAIFF)

Hosted by Adam Weiner

Featured screenwriter Philip Eisner ("Event Horizon") and visual effects supervisor Richard Hoover ("Armageddon")

Can you travel at warp speed? Survive a wormhole? Hear a scream in space? Rocket to the future?

When do science fiction movies accurately portray basic principles of physics, and when do they allow fundamental laws of physical reality to fall by the wayside? Adam Weiner hosted an evening that examined the "real" physics behind many of your favorite science fiction films.

In this interactive presentation, physics concepts were used to analyze famous scenes from films including "A Trip to the Moon" (1902), "Planet of the Apes" (1968), "Apollo 13" (1995), "Event Horizon" (1997), "October Sky" (1999) and "Star Trek" (2009), exploring how the fictional world of Hollywood movies can often provide an effective springboard into investigating real science.

The evening included conversations with some of the films' creative teams, who explained how many scenes were created, as well as a discussion with real-life experts on space travel.

Adam Weiner is the author of Don't Try This at Home! The Physics of Hollywood Movies. He currently teaches physics at The Bishop's School, a private high school in La Jolla, California.

Event Information

October 1, 2011
Palo Alto Square Theater
Don't Show Again