Science Film Showcase

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"Mapping the Unseen" Science Film Showcase

February 12, 2014, 5:30 – 9 p.m.
University of Chicago International House
1414 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL

How do we measure or observe the world just outside our reach? In this program, presented by Imagine Science Films, a spectrum of scientist-filmmakers investigate our near, and perhaps not-so-near, surroundings. An Adler Planetarium program visits the upper atmosphere (and edge of space). A grandson considers the laws of thermodynamics in an empty house. Abstract phenomena and complicated communications systems are visualized via animation and computer modeling. Each film, or set of films, will be followed by discussion of the themes between scientists and filmmakers.

This event is free and open to the public. The event will include an opening reception from 5:30-6PM, film discussion program from 6-8pm, and a closing reception with filmmakers and scientists from 8-9PM.

Advanced registration suggested. 



Bob Hirshon (Moderator)
Program Director, Technology and Learning, American Association for the Advancement of Science

This Has Been to Space (Clayton Brown and Monica Ross) World Premiere! Join the Adler Planetarium and 25 young scientists as they send measuring instruments, and personal effects, to the very edge of outer space.


  • Clayton Brown, 137 Films
  • Monica Ross, 137 Films
  • David Miller, Assistant Professor of Physics, UChicago

Three variations on visualizing scientific information through animation and computer simulation:

  • Worlds: The Kepler Planet Candidates (Alex Parker, Post Doctoral Fellow ) Winner of the CERN/Cineglobe prize for data visualization at the Imagine Science Film Festival, a breathtaking representation of the vast and diverse collection of planet candidates identified by the Kepler telescope.
  • Forms (Quayola & Memo Akten, Multimedia Artists) Human biophysical data remapped as elegant digital sculpture
  • Abbau (Masahiro Ohsuka, Filmmaker)Visualizing physics history through crisply designed illustration of key principles and equations.

Motive Power 3: Absolute Zero (Mike Gibisser, Independent Filmmaker, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts) Mike Gibisser's Motive Power series is personal-poetic investigation of the three laws of thermodynamics, each set in a single street location and contextualizing abstract principles in the concrete details of family and home.


  • Mike Gibisser, Artist/Filmmaker

The Field Museum's in-house filmmakers take us through the museum's collections and current concerns:

  • Leo on Bioluminesence (Kate Webbink, Field Museum Media Producer) Bioluminescence in diverse deep-water marine life is well documented -- but why did it evolve?
  • Fossil Carrion Feeders (Federico Pardo, Field Museum Media Producer) A family of modern carrion beetles.
  • The Birds and the Trees (Kate Webbink, Field Museum Media Producer) Science is a constant revision process, one that may occasionally strand a condor in the stork display.


  • Kate Webbink, Media Producer, Field Museum
  • Shannon Hackett, Associate Curator, Field Museum

Three more variations on visualizing science, from diagrams of fictional biological systems, to cutting-edge simulation of body and cosmos:

  • Genesis (Malevo) Organic life grows and evolves in abstracted movements.
  • Secrets of the Dark Universe: Simulating the Sky on Blue Gene/Q (Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)Simulating the matter distribution.
  • Blood Flow: Multiscale Modeling (Argonne Leadership Computing Facility & Brown University) Medical simulation blood flow and clotting patterns for aneurism research .


  • Joseph Insley, Principal Software Development Specialist, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility and Computation Institute, UChicago/Argonne
  • Salman Habib, Senior Fellow, Computation Institute, UChicago/Argonne
  • Katrin Heitmann, Senior Fellow, Computation Institute, UChicago/Argonne

Humanexus (Katy Börner)

This animated history tracks human communications and information exchange from prehistory into very-near-future in order to ask of our technological progress: "Is this what we want?"


  • Katy Börner,  Professor of Information Science, Indiana University


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Chicago Council on Science and Technology
  • Imagine Science Films
  • UChicago Art/Science Initiative
  • UChicago Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories
  • International House Global Voices Program.