Posts tagged: science

2010 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

The time has come once again to award the Ig Nobel Prizes, which go to real scientists who’ve been conducting genuine research into oddball subjects. Last year’s winners include researchers who produced diamonds from tequila, found uses for giant panda feces, and investigated why pregnant women don’t tip over. Who knows what will happen this year? The ceremony will take place at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA on September 30 at 7:30pm. If you can’t make it in person, there will be a webcast. On Saturday, October 2 at 1:00pm, the new Ig Nobel winners will speak at MIT as part of the “Ig Informal Lectures.” Learn more at

Science on Screen: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA is hosting another session of “Science on Screen” Monday, October 19th at 7:00pm. The movie of choice is “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” starring Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner and Ingrid Bergman, and it will be introduced by two scientists: Anne Harrington, chair of the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and a professor in that department, specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind sciences, and John Durant, director of the MIT Museum, adjunct professor in MIT’s Science, Technology and Society Program, and executive director of the Cambridge Science Festival. They will discuss some of the scientific theories and debates of the era in which author Robert Louis Stevenson lived. For details see

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Boston’s Museum of Science has announced that a new temporary exhibit, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, will open starting Sunday, October 25th (with a special preview for museum members on Saturday the 24th). Whether or not it’s particularly scientific, the event certainly sounds like fun for Potter fans:

Harry Potter™ is a cultural phenomenon, inspiring the imaginations of millions across the globe. Now it’s your chance to peer into the wizard’s world in a new exhibit featuring more than 200 authentic props and costumes from the Harry Potter films, all displayed in settings inspired by the film sets — including the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut and the Gryffindor™ common room. View iconic film artifacts such as Harry’s glasses, the Marauder’s Map, and Hermione’s Yule Ball gown, and pause to pull a screeching Mandrake from its pot or try your hand at tossing a “Quaffle.”

Showcasing the supreme artistry and craftsmanship that went into the making of the ever popular film series, Harry Potter: The Exhibition is sure to spark curious minds and foster an excitement of discovery among visitors of all ages.

The exhibit will run until February of 2010. For more information visit and

Good Stuff Coming Up at the Coolidge

The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA has quite a few fun films for geeks in its lineup:

Science On Screen:
Night of the Living Dead — Monday, April 13th at 7:00pm. See the legendary zombie movie and enjoy commentary by psychiatrist Steven C. Schlozman.
The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future — Monday, May 11th at 7:00pm. Discuss the future of humankind and technology with inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil.

Midnight Movies:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show — Midnight on March 27th and April 24th, complete with a stage cast and audience participation.
Repo: The Genetic Opera — The cult musical returns at midnight on March 21st and 28th, and April 4th and 18th.
The Lost Boys: Interactive — Midnight on Saturday, April 4; this is an audience participation event, and the ticket includes a goodie bag.
J. Cannibal’s Feast of Flesh VIII — Midnight on Saturday, Apr 11th; includes a zombie costume contest and other horrible fun.

Author Appearance: Neil deGrasse Tyson

OK, technically this isn’t science fiction, but I think a lot of geeks are fond of this man: Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson will appear at the Newton Free Library in Newton Center, MA on Thursday, February 26 at 7:30pm to talk about the demotion of Pluto from “planet” status and to sign copies of his new book, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. For more information visit

[Tip from Michael A. Burstein]

A Couple of Geeky Opportunities

Want a chance to show off your inner geek?

  • The Brattle Theatre is having its annual “Braffle” fundraising raffle. If you win, you get to program one night’s double feature with the movies of your choice, so you can make your own sci-fi/fantasy movie marathon! (Cue everyone singing “Science Fiction Double Feature”…) Would you go for the famous blockbusters, or for some forgotten gems that deserve more attention? You and your friends will also enjoy a reception before the screenings. Raffle tickets are $5 each. See for details.
  • The following message has hit Craigslist in several cities, including Boston:

    Are you a geek, and proud of it? New popular science news show on a major cable channel seeking one-minute “geek out” videos about your science passion – space elevators, geothermal energy, the latest iPhone app – anything that gets you pumped. They can be funny, instructional, unusual, or a way to make science more accessible.

    Email us at to let us know what you’d like to geek out about, and to get more information on how to get yourself on TV.

    That’s all the information provided so far. I have no idea who’s behind it. If it’s legitimate, it could be fun!
    [Thanks to super secret informant Loaded Gun for the tip.]

Coolidge Corner Theatre “Science On Screen”

The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA, has an ongoing film series called “Science On Screen” in which a movie that is (to some degree) based on science is paired with an introduction from a scientist in a related field. The next couple of events have science fiction ties:

  • Monday, December 1 at 7:00pm: “Contact,” starring Jodi Foster and based on a book by Carl Sagan, with an introduction by astrophysicist Paul Horowitz who will discuss the SETI project (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
  • Monday, January 19 2009 at 7:00pm: “Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey” is a documentary about the man who invented the theremin, the otherworldly musical instrument that became a staple of sci-fi movies. The movie is introduced by composer and MIT Professor of Music and Media Tod Machover.

For information on tickets and future showings in this series, visit

Bigfoot, Sea Serpents, and Cryptozoology

Boston’s Museum of Science is hosting a lecture and book signing by Loren Coleman, author of The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide and Cryptozoology A to Z. This visit to the weirder side of science takes place on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 7:00 pm. Information is provided at

Could hair samples be used to verify the existence of Bigfoot? Are unexplained animal droppings evidence of a new species? Do footprints hold the key to unlocking the mystery of the yeti? World-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman has spent decades researching the existence of fantastical creatures and interviewing witnesses who have sighted sea serpents, lake monsters, Sasquatch, thunderbirds, and other yet-to-be verified animals. Join us to explore the science behind these mythic beings. Book signing to follow.

The event is free, but seating is limited and only museum members may reserve tickets in advance.

This event is being held in conjunction with the museum’s new temporary exhibit, opening on October 26th, called “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids”. Visit for information about the exhibit.

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

It’s time for the Ig Nobel Prizes, the annual recognition of real-life scientific research that makes you think “What the heck were they thinking?” Previous winners include scientists who studied sword swallowing, the physics of wrinkly sheets, and producing vanilla flavoring from cow dung.

The main ceremony will take place on Thursday October 2nd, 2008 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater. If you cannot attend in person, the event will also be webcast live. For information on tickets or the webcast, visit

Additionally, on Saturday October 4th there will be a presentation of “Informal Lectures” by the Ig Nobel prize winners. This will be held at MIT. For details see

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