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Posted on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Michigan Theater launches Science on Screen series

By Staff

What do the original Batman and the Mars Curiosity Rover have in common? They're both part of Michigan Theater's new Science on Screen series, presented with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

Each month, from January through April, the Michigan Theater will pair a feature film with a renowned expert from the world of scientific research. Each film is used as a jumping off point for the speaker to reveal current scientific research or technological advances, providing the perfect combination of entertainment and enlightenment - even for the most science-phobic among us.

The Science on Screen series kicks off on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. with the 1964 sci-fi camp-fest, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars." This "modern" sci-fi adaptation of Daniel Defoe's classic tale follows Commander Christopher 'Kit' Draper (Paul Mantee) and Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West), the crew of Mars Gravity Probe 1, as they hurtle towards Mars. When an imminent collision with a meteor forces the crew to use the last of the fuel, they have no choice but to eject to the surface and become the first men on Mars. Or are they? Filmed in vivid Techniscope by director and special effects guru Byron Haskin ("The War of the Worlds").

The film will be followed by a 30-minute lecture from Dr. Nilton Renno, professor of atmospheric and space sciences at the University of Michigan and one of the scientists of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory. In 2008, Dr. Renno led the team that discovered liquid water on Mars; now he's one of the scientists working with the Curiosity Rover, part of the Mars Science Laboratory that is following the signs of water to search for evidence of the building blocks of life on Mars. Dr. Renno will describe the Curiosity mission and its latest results.

The Science on Screen series will continue on Wednesday, Feb. 6, with the Sundance award-winning film "Songcatcher" and a lecture by University of Michigan musicology professor Dr. Mark Clague about the technological advancements in music recording.

You can purchase advance Science on Screen tickets at Standard ticket prices apply.

If you're an Ann Arbor-area high school or college science teacher, you and your class(es) can attend the Science on Screen series for free. Contact Emily Mathews at 734-668-8397 x 46 or to find out how.



Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Great idea! Sounds like fun! Hope it's very popular.