Earth Story — A Planning Grant for a Large-format Film

May 1st, 2001 - August 31st, 2002 | PROJECT

Irwin Shapiro, Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is conducting a planning phase to develop a large format film about the formation, evolution and future of the earth. The goal of the film will be to convey to the public that the Earth is a dynamic body and to examine the current evidence that scientists have about the origin and possible future of the Earth. By presenting the current state of knowledge and by demonstrating the dynamic nature of science, the film will try to disabuse the beliefs held by many of the lay public that the Earth was created in the Big Bang and is virtually unchanging and that science is a collection of static facts that followed a series of "discoveries" by a few brilliant individuals. During the planning phase, Dr. Shapiro, the PI for the grant, will work closely with Bayley Silleck, Producer of the large format films "Cosmic Voyage" and "Lost Worlds: Life in the Balance" to develop both the science content and the cinemagraphic aspects of the film. They will call upon the expertise of a group of advisors that includes among others: David Baum, Assistant Professor of Biology, Harvard University; Alastair G. W. Cameron, Donald H. Menzel Research Professor of Astrophysics, Harvard University; Howard Dimmick, Earth Science Teacher and Chairman of the Science Department at Stoneham High School; Janice Gobert, cognitive scientist from Western Michigan University; Jim Head, Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University; and Thomas Herring, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specific activities to be conducted during the planning phase include: Convene three meetings of the advisors to develop an outline for the film that will assure that it maintains substantive science while, at the same time, presenting the subject in a dynamic, visual, and educationally provocative manner. Engage a third party evaluator to conduct focus groups to determine the audience reaction to the topic of the film. Form alliances with museum theaters. Develop a plan for ancillary material to support the film.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Irwin Shapiro, Principal Investigator, Harvard University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0109277
Funding Amount: 49902


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Films and IMAX | Media and Technology