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Epic Stories of Genius: Science on Stage and Screen

Sunday, June 5, 2016
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Marie Curie. Albert Einstein. Richard Feynman. Srinivasa Ramanujan. John Nash. Alan Turing. Rosalind Franklin. James Watson. Great minds that have blazed the trails of understanding whose larger than life stories speak to the human drama that swirls around profound discovery. Many of us, and the public more broadly, have come to know these figures through works of stage and screen. But what are the special challenges, pitfalls, opportunities and rare triumphs of seeking and synthesizing the essence of someone whose passion—quantum physics, number theory, nucleic acids, atomic species, computational design, gravitational phenomena—is so thoroughly foreign to the concerns of everyday life? Join us for an exploration of how writers artistically and faithfully capture the stories of science and the scientists who’ve made the stories.

This program is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of its Public Understanding of Science and Technology Initiative. 


Lynn SherrBroadcast Journalist, Author

Award-winning broadcaster and author Lynn Sherr spent more than thirty years with ABC News, covering a wide range of stories—from women’s issues and social change to investigative reports, politics and the space program—at 20/20 and World News.

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Alan AldaActor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy® Award winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator.

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Matt BrownWriter, Director

Matt Brown is the writer & director of The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Devika Bhise, Stephen Fry, and Toby Jones. The film was released domestically by IFC, and was produced by Edward R. Pressman of Pressman Film. It is the true story of a friendship that forever changed mathematics.

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Alan LightmanPhysicist, Writer

Alan Lightman is a writer, astrophysicist, and educator. He is professor of the practice of the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a theoretical physicist, he has contributed to the understanding of the unusual radiation processes, black holes, and stellar dynamics.

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Peter ParnellWriter

Peter Parnell’s most recent play Dada Woof Papa Hot was produced by the Lincoln Center Theater Company in 2015. He wrote the new books for Disney Theatrical’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (music and lyrics Menken-Schwartz), and the Broadway revival of Lerner and Lane’s On a Clear Day You Can See Forever starring Harry Connick, Jr. and Jessie Mueller.

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Anna ZieglerPlaywright

Anna Ziegler is a playwright, whose plays have been developed at The Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage and Film, and Soho Rep, among others, and are published by Dramatists Play Service. An upcoming collection will be published by Oberon Books. She is a graduate of Yale and holds an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from Tisch.

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