Planning Grant for an IMAX Film: THE SEARCH FOR INFINITY

September 15th, 2000 - December 31st, 2001 | PROJECT

The Reuben H. Fleet Space Center is developing "The Search for Infinity," a large-format film on mathematics and nature. The current concept, based on a film idea developed in collaboration with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, is to center the film on an intelligent computer running an unmanned space probe. By following the actions of the computer, audiences will learn about mathematical fractals and the relationships between fractals and the natural world. A key effect planned for the film will be a prolonged zoom into the endless details of the celebrated Mandelbrot Set fractal. Jeffrey Kirsch, Director of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Center, will be PI and Executive Producer for the film. The Co-Executive Producer will be Christina Schmidlin, Vice-President of XAOS, Inc, one of the world's leading computer graphics studios, and the Producer-Director will be Ronald Fricke. This production team will work with Sir Arthur Clarke to write the treatment for the film. Scientists working directly in the pre-production phase of the project include Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, and Rudy Rucker of San Jose State University. Other advisors include: Benoit Mandelbrot, Yale University; Maxine Brown, University of Illinois at Chicago; Bernard Pailthorpe, San Diego Supercomputer Center; and David Brin, Science Fiction author and astrophysicist. During this planning phase the project will: (1) identify subjects that are best suited to illustrate the fractal geometry of nature in large format film; (2) conduct front-end evaluation to assess the potential educational benefits of such a film; (3) write a treatment and develop a storyboard for the film; conduct formative evaluation of the treatment; (4) produce a motion picture sequence to demonstrate the educational power of the large format film medium to convey complicated ideas related to computer processes; and (5) develop interactive web-based activity concepts to exploit the film's distribution in the museum-dominated large format film community.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Jeffrey Kirsch, Principal Investigator, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0003387
Funding Amount: 49500


Audience: General Public
Discipline: Computing and information science | Life science | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Films and IMAX | Media and Technology