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SciScreen aims to bring science to life by linking talks from leading scientists with the science shown in movies. At each event, a scientist will give a short talk about an area of science relating to the film before the film is shown. After the film, there will be a question and answer session and informal discussion, in which you can ask the expert any questions that you may have. So come along and see how much of what you see in films can really be believed!

SciScreen Series 3

Chasing Ice

Monday, 7 October 2013
Film: The second film of the third SciScreen series will be the stunning documentary Chasing Ice, introduced by Dr David Vaughan, a leading scientist in the British Antarctic Survey.

Speaker: Dr David Vaughan first went to Antarctica since 1985, as a surveyor's assistant, and since has led seven scientific field campaigns, including a major UK/US collaboration to survey one of the most remote part of the continent.  He currently leads the British Antarctic Survey's research programme into ice sheets and their past and future changes, and is co-ordinator for ice2sea, a major European-funded programme involving researchers in 24 institutions, which will deliver global sea-level rise projections for the next 200 years.  He is a coordinating lead author in Working Group II for the fifth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Monday, 1 July 2013
Film: The first film of the third SciScreen series will be the medical thriller Contagion, introduced by Dr Colin Russell, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.

Speaker: Dr Colin Russell is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on understanding how evolution and epidemiology act in concert to generate the population dynamics of infectious diseases. Colin has worked extensively on the global epidemiology of influenza viruses and has close ties with groups throughout India and Southeast Asia. He works with the World Health Organization on influenza vaccine strain selection and pandemic preparedness. He is also a Research Fellow at the Fogarty International Center at the US National Institutes of Health.

SciScreen Series 2

Project Nim

Monday 4th May 2013

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film: Project Nim focuses on a research project investigating the development of language skills in a primate that was raised with humans. It was first released at the 2011 Sundance festival.

Speaker:  Prof McGrew is Emeritus Pofessor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Since 1972, Prof McGrew has studied wild primates in Africa, mostly chimpanzees, and published over 185 articles in scientific journals or book chapters.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Monday 4th March 2013

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Speaker:  Cambridge archaeologist Jessica Cooney will talk about the study of prehistoric cave paintings, and what we can deduce about the early humans artists.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Monday 7th January 2013

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film: What's Eating Gilbert Grape follows the small town Grape family, and the difficulties they face. Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp), works in a grocery store, and supports his two sisters and brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) who suffers from mental illness. After his father killed himself, Gilbert's mother descended into depression and became morbidly obese, so it is now down to him to take responsibility for his brother, and prevent him getting into trouble. When a young woman named Becky comes into town, Gilbert struggles to balance his responsibilities with their budding romance.

Speaker: Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge. He has written several popular science books about autism, as well as books for parents and teachers. He is best known for his work on autism, including his early theory that autism involves degrees of "mind-blindness" (or delays in the development of theory of mind); and his later theory that autism is an extreme form of the "male brain".

March of the Penguins  

Monday 12th November 2012

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film:  This documentary follows the amazing journey Emperor Penguins take every year to reach their breeding ground from the sea. Males and females trek for 20 days, in single file, guided only by their instincts, until they reach a place so hostile no other animal can survive there at this time of year. Once they arrive, a complex dance ensues, until each male is paired off with a female. After mating, the female leaves the male to guard her egg, heading off on the long walk back to the sea to find food. Once the eggs have hatched, the female must bring food back to feed her chick, or it will starve. Once they have returned, the father's duty of care is over, and he can take his turn to return to the sea to fish. Full of drama, as the chicks struggle to survive lack of food, freezing temperatures and attack by giant petrals, this documentary follows them until they take their first dive into the sea, where they will stay for four years, before following in their parent's footsteps and completing this epic journey for themselves in their first mating season.

Talk: David Vaughan, a Climate Scientist at the British Antarctic Survey will talk about Ice Sheet melting. David has worked at the Natural Environment Research Council's British Antarctic Survey  since 1985, and now leads their IceSheets programme. He is Coordinating Lead Author for the 5th Assessment Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has led 7 scientific campaigns in remote parts of Antarctica. His current research focuses on the contribution of ice sheets to sea-level rise.

Good Will Hunting

Monday 3rd September 2012

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film: Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a genius working as a janitor at MIT. When he is threatened with jail time for assault one of the university's Professors, who has discovered Will's talent for maths, arranges for him to avoid jail, on the condition that he agrees to study mathematics and undergo counselling. During his sessions, both Will and his therapist (Robin Williams) begin to deal with their pasts, and are, for the first time, able to look to the future.

Talk: James Grime asks who the real life inspiration behind the character was, and whether the maths shown in the movie is as difficult as they would like us to think

Speaker: Dr James Grime is a mathematician and public speaker. James tours the UK, and the world, giving talks about mathematics, in particular the famous WWII German cipher machine, Enigma. When not doing this, James is involved in two YouTube series about mathematics. The first is 'numberphile' which involves a team of speakers, and each video is about a different number. The second is James' own channel, with a series of puzzles, trick and mathematics, which is called 'singingbanana' (naturally)."

Little Shop of Horrors

Monday 2nd July 2012

6pm - 9.30pm

Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film: This brilliant horror-comedy-musical follows Seymour Krelborn's life, working in a flower shop on Skid Row. To help the failing shop, Seymour buys a strange and unusual plant from a street vendor, and names it Audrey II after the love of his life. However, as the plant grows, it becomes obvious that it is not as sweet and innocent as it seems, and Seymour's life becomes devoted to answering its cries of 'feed me!'

Talk: Alan Langley, 
acting glasshouse supervisor at the Cambridge Botanical Garden, will talk about 'Plants that Bite back': the real lives of carnivorous plants. He will be bringing along a selection of plants for the audience to look at during the talk and at the discussion afterwards

Speaker: Alan has worked at the Botanical Gardens for 40 years, for the last 16 of which he has been part of the glasshouse team. As part of this team he has worked with plants from a wide variety of regions- from the arid deserts to the tropical rain forests. For the last 10 years, his focus has been on looking after carnivorous 
 plants including those from North America, as well as those from tropical regions, such as the many varieties of pitcher plants.


Monday 4th June 2012

Film: A brand new Ridley Scott movie following a group of explorers aiming to discover the origins of life on earth

Talk: The Sunday night radio show “The Science of Fiction”, with Dr. Andy Holding and Will “Jefferson” Thompson, has covered everything from time travel to how to survive the impending zombie apocalypse. Now the show comes to you in front of an audience for the first time ever, looking into the science behind Ridley Scott's movies.
SciScreen Series 1

Dr Strangelove

Monday 7th May 2012

6pm - 9.30pm

Picture House Cinema, Cambridge
Unfortunately, we are no longer allowed to show Alien on Monday- Fox pictures have withdrawn the rights with immediate effect, as their new film Promethius is coming out. In its place, however, we have another great talk and movie for you:
Film: Dr Strangelove: A black comedy satirizing a nuclear scare.

Speaker: When Andy isn't doing science outreach or stand-up comedy he works full time as a researche
r at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Will is an open source software developer by trade, an occasional musician by night, and a cynic by nature.

Talk: Dr Andrew Holding discussed the Haber process and how it fuelled the World War. 


Monday 4th July 2011

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Film: Syriana is a thriller of corruption and power written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, which focuses on petroleum politics and the global influence of the oil industry. It tells four parallel stories about a CIA agent (George Clooney), and energy analyst (Matt Damon), a Washington attorney (Jeffrey Writh) and a young unemployed Pakistani migrant worker (Mazhar Munir) in an Arab country in the Persian Gulf.


Nicola Terry graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1984 with a first-class degree in Computer Science and Engineering. After becoming interested in energy and climate change issues, she completed a degree with the Open University in Environmental Studies. Nicola is a surveyor for the Cambridge Carbon Footprint’s Climate Friendly Homes project, which provides advice about reducing home energy consumption. She has written the book "Energy and carbon emissions: the way we live today" and she runs a blog about environmental issues.

2001 A Space Odyssey and 2010

Monday 28th March 2011

6pm - 9.30pm
Picture House Cinema, Cambridge

Dr Andrew N Holding presented on the science behind the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010. The talk covered the concepts of human evolution, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life, which are presented in unique realism in the movies. The talk will be followed by a showing of the movie 2010.