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'Science in the Movies' to make debut

September 30, 2013

How realistic are the spectacular special effects in the movies? A new series in Jacksonville, Science in the Movies, will take up that topic with car chases, explosions, aliens, monsters, space travel and more.

 Viewing clips from scores of movies, the series will ask the question, Are Hollywood films good, bad or ugly science?

 “We’ll show five to eight clips each presentation, from such famous movies as Men in Black, Superman, Aliens, and Star Wars and talk about whether what we saw is what physics, chemistry or other natural sciences tell us would happen in that situation,” said Joanne Budzien, assistant professor of physics at MacMurray College. “Some of the special effects fly in the face of reality, but others are plausible to very solid science.”

 The presentations are on Sunday evenings each month during the academic year, starting at 4 p.m. in Bailey Auditorium in Julian Hall, located on South Clay Street in Jacksonville, just north of Freesen Football Field on the MacMurray College campus. All events are free and open to the public.

 Here is the lineup:

  •  Oct. 13, 2013: “Duck and Cover! This place is about to blow.” From antimatter to exploding toilets, we’ll look at your chances of being in an explosion and what’s necessary to survive.
  • Nov. 10, 2013: “Fast & Furious … the science of car chases.” Come watch some exciting jumps, turns and landings as we explore how your commute could be an adventure.
  • Jan. 12, 2014: “In space, no one can hear you scream. Outer space in the movies.” Vacuum, gravity, star travel, and a few aliens.  Need we say more?
  • Feb. 16, 2014: “Call the National Guard! Aliens and monsters in the movies.” Come find out how afraid you should be. You may need to sleep with the lights on after this.
  • March 16, 2014: “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s superheroes in the movies!” Could you be the Next American Superhero if you only knew the right engineer or unguarded radioactive creature?  Come find out your chances. (They’re better than you might think.)
  • April 6, 2014: “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Computers and Robots in the movies.” How close are the robots and computers to taking over the world?  Leave your phone at home so it can’t report back to its leaders and find out what we know.

 “This series should be a lot of fun for everyone: the general public, students and MacMurray science faculty,” Budzien said. “This program is designed for people who aren't scientists.  People who are curious can come see the best parts of a movie, find out a little science and even ask a scientist some burning questions related to the topics.”

 Note: Kids are welcome to attend with adult supervision; however, some scenes shown might be too intense for younger viewers. The clips will be edited for language and adult content, but they will depict humans in danger, monsters, and loud noises. 

For more information, contact:

Ted Roth, Director of Communications and Marketing
Work: 217-479-7027
Email: Send Email

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