Physics on Film

Physics on Film

From 26 April to 20 May, the Institute of Physics (IOP) is hosting five film screenings at the Rio Cinema in Dalston. The aim is to highlight physics as a part of popular culture, and get people thinking and talking about physics.

Each film will be introduced by experts in relevant fields of physics who will explain and elaborate upon the science in the films.

Film title
Date and time
SynopsisSpeaker
Sunshine (15)Saturday, 26 April, 13.15A team of astronauts are sent to save the dying sun
Astrophysicist Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory
The Dish (12A)Saturday, 3 May, 13.15A comedy about Australian physicists responsible for communication between NASA and the first Apollo Moon landing
Dr Simon Goodwin, lecturer in Astronomy from Sheffield University
Copenhagen (12A)Saturday, 10 May, 13.45Two pioneers of quantum physics are caught on opposite sides of an occupied Denmark during WW II
Dr Vlatko Vedral, professor of quantum information science from the University of Leeds
A Woman in Winter (12A)Saturday, 17 May, 14.00An astrophysicist exploring the true nature of time has his world turn into a schizophrenic and claustrophobic dreamscape
Dr Michael Hawkins (the real-life inspiration for the film), of the Institute for Astronomy in Edinburgh
Back to the Future (PG)
(for schools only)
Tuesday, 20 May, 10.00Marty McFly travels back in time to help his friend, Doc Brown but his presence in the past threatens his very existence in the future.
Dr Pete Edwards, science and society officer in the Department of Physics at Durham University.

The films set to show include Sunshine, last year’s sci-fi thriller about a team of astronauts on a mission to save the dying sun, and Copenhagen, about two pioneers of quantum physics caught on different sides of Germany’s occupation of Denmark during World War II.

Sam Rae, outreach officer at IOP, explained the aim of the screenings, “We’ve chosen these films because in various ways they all pay homage to physics, either integrating it into the storyline or communicating some of the beauty and mystery of cutting-edge physics.

“We hope that people will enjoy the films and go away thinking and talking about physics. It’s something that we can all be inspired by, even if we haven’t studied or worked in it.”

Other films in the series are A Woman in Winter and The Dish. The screening of the 1985 classic, Back to the Future, is a special screening for schools. Over 300 9-15 year olds from schools in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest are attending.

The scientists introducing the films have been chosen because of their ability to relate complex physics problems in a down to earth and often humorous way.

A Woman in Winter will be introduced Dr Michael Hawkins, of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, who, according to the film’s writer and director, is the real-life inspiration for the film’s lead protagonist.

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