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Science Café Film & Book Discussion Group

Fall 2021 will mark our 29th gathering of H-LSAMP students who love to read, talk about books and films, and explore ideas about life and science woven into compelling stories.

reel to reelstack of booksH-LSAMP logo

Science Café participants are expected to engage in this activity by paying careful attention to the details in the selected film or book, taking the time to learn about the science, history, and/or culture that informs the plot and themes and, importantly, actively contributing to group discussion.

We share a home-cooked dinner prior to our discussion, which we hope will not only stimulate appetites but also good conversation. A shared table builds community! That's why we call it Science Café!

David von Miller (H-LSAMP Director) and Dr. Greg Passty (Professor, Dept. of Mathematics) lead our seminar-style discussions by providing questions for a close reading of chosen books and guide our analysis and criticism of chosen films.  See our Fall 2021 film choices listed at the bottom of the page..


 

 

Science Cafe book cover images

book cover images of all the books we have read in the past.


The mosaic below is a history of the books and films we have read and discussed over the years.....

Film Options for Fall 2021

12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys movie poster

An intense film about time travel, this Sci-Fi entry was directed by Terry Gilliam, a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. The film stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner of the state in the year 2035 who can earn parole if he agrees to travel back in time and thwart a devastating plague. The virus has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the remainder live underground because the air is poisonous. Returning to the year 1990, six years before the start of the plague, Cole is soon imprisoned in a psychiatric facility because his warnings sound like mad ravings. There he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the mad son of an eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole is returned by the authorities to the year 2035, and finally ends up at his intended destination in 1996. He kidnaps Dr. Railly in order to enlist her help in his quest. Cole discovers graffiti by an apparent animal rights group called the Army ...

Limitless

Limitless movie poster

An action-thriller about a writer who takes an experimental drug that allows him to use 100% of his mind. As one man evolves into the perfect version of himself, forces more corrupt than he can imagine mark him for assassination. Out-of-work writer Eddie Morra's (Cooper) rejection by girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) confirms his belief that he has zero future. That all vanishes the day an old friend introduces Eddie to NZT, a designer pharmaceutical that makes him laser-focused and more confident than any man alive. Now on an NZT-fueled odyssey, everything Eddie's read, heard or seen is instantly organized and available to him. As the former nobody rises to the top of the financial world, he draws the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro), who sees this enhanced version of Eddie as the tool to make billions, but brutal side effects jeopardize his meteoric ascent. With a dwindling stash and hit men who will eliminate him to get the NZT, Eddie must stay wired long enough ...

Matrix

Thomas A. Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must confront the agents: super-powerful computer programs devoted to stopping Neo and the entire human rebellion.

Prometheus

Prometheus movie poster

Following a faint trail of clues, the accomplished archaeologist, Doctor Elizabeth Shaw, and her partner, Charlie Holloway, along with a seventeen-man crew, embark on an ambitious, deep-space scientific expedition. Aboard the revolutionary space-exploration starship, USCSS Prometheus, the team sets foot on the rocky terrain of the desolate exomoon, LV-223, in 2093, to investigate the existence of the superior extraterrestrial species known as the "Engineers". But, there, inside a mysterious, complex structure of cavernous dark chambers and an intricate underground system of tunnels, more enigmas await. Now, a terrifying discovery threatens not only the outcome of the bold outer-space mission but also the very future of humankind. Is the world prepared for the answers to the fundamental questions of human existence?

Source Code

Source Code movie poster

Army Captain Colter Stevens finds himself working on a special program where his consciousness can be inserted into another human being. The only catch is can only be there for 8 minutes at any given time. That morning, a bomb exploded on a commuter train just outside Chicago. He occupies the body of teacher going to work on that train and is confused as to what he is doing or why he is there as his last memory is of flying his helicopter on a combat mission in Afghanistan. Those in charge of the program explain to him that there is a bomb on the train, and that he must locate it. More importantly, he must identify the bomber as another bombing is expected later that day. He is also told however that he cannot change the past and can only gather information. As he develops a liking for his traveling companion Christina, he sets out to test that theory.