National Evening of Science on Screen

Mar 17, 2016 by Marketing on The Nickelodeon Blog

On Tuesday, 19 theaters across the country will synchronize for the National Evening of Science on Screen to kick off the 2016 program. Started as a way to promote the scientific thinking that film alone can present, the Science on Screen initiative pairs screenings of classic films with short introductions from expert witnesses. The talks elaborate on the relationship of each films’ vision to current (and cutting-edge) research. While the films veer from hard science-fiction with an emphasis on veracity to poetic engagements with scientific inquiry, each one strives for a better understanding of our world through developments and discoveries in all of the different -ologies.

The Nickelodeon is pleased to participate in the program with four films, each preceded by a talk from a notable researcher on a maybe-unanswerable question: “Who Am I, Really?” The films we chose this year grapple with identity in our technologized, digitized, narcotized, militarized contemporary moment. How well can we know our capacity for cruelty (The Stanford Prison Experiment); how intimately can we understand our fantasies and nightmares (eXistenZ); or even our local haunts, our acquaintances, our coworkers (A Scanner Darkly)?

We will begin the monthly program on Tuesday, simultaneously with 18 other theaters. The first film is the prescient children’s classic Short Circuit, a whimsical combination of Frankenstein, E.T., and Wall·E. An autonomous drone in a military pilot program, No. 5 is struck by lightning and becomes sentient. The mobile weapon escapes from the military laboratory and is taken in by a young ice cream-truck driver. As the inventors, wranglers, officers, and infantry search the countryside for their droid, the renamed Johnny Five spends its time “absorbing input” (reading, watching television, just like a real boy). In light of this evidence, the chair of the Computer Science department at USC, Dr. Marco Valtorta, will investigate the hypothesis that, “Number Five is alive.”

Join us on Tuesday to hear his conclusions!

Learn more about Science on Screen and get tickets here.