The Science of the Silver Screen

Science Friday headed to the movies!

This post was updated on August 28, 2014.

Science Friday recently partnered with KPCC and Southern California Public Radio for a special live event that explored the science behind movie magic. The show took place at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium on Wednesday, August 27, at 7:30 p.m.

Watch a video of the live production below:

Highlights of the show:

  • Veteran animator Tom Sito explained how scientists and engineers kickstarted animation’s CGI revolution
  • Avatar actor Stephen Lang and USC computer graphics expert Paul Debevec debated how far CGI technology can go
  • Film and T.V. writers Scott Z. Burns (ContagionAn Inconvenient Truth), Zoanne Clack (Grey’s Anatomy), and Eric Kaplan (The Big Bang Theory) discussed how they balance science and storytelling
  • Caltech physicist Sean Carroll shared his experience consulting on Hollywood blockbusters
  • KPCC science correspondent Sanden Totten explored how Hollywood sci-fi can lead to real-life technological solutions

Plus, Sean Carroll and Ira challenged two teams of brainiacs to a game of movie science fact vs. fiction. And, we took a tour of a science prop shop packed with Tesla coils, knife switches, and brain stimulators.

Thanks to everyone who came!

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Meet the Writer

About Christian Skotte

Christian Skotte is the director of program strategy at Science Friday. He’s into board games, bourbon, and big ideas.