Let us begin with some sage advice from Buckeroo Bonzi —
“No matter where you go, there you are.”
Here we are at the beginning of Summer. Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer. What to do? Embark on that field research you avoided all Spring? Analyze those terabytes of data from long Winter nights in the observatory? Actually write the paper for the annual convention next Fall? Those are probably the things one should be doing.
I suggest an alternative and it might even have some scientific rationalization. Spend your Summer watching old movies.
Last month, I mentioned SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. One activity of their past activities (SETI@home) involved non-scientists in sharing their computer cycles to analyze radio telescope data. Now, SETI is involved in a number of activities enlisting scientists around the world looking for signs of life beyond our earth.
This worthy project deserves further scrutiny. Since the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is highly speculative, an initial survey requires some leaps of imagination. Who best to provide imaginative insights than Hollywood?
As it is now June and the Science Circle has gone on it’s Summer Hiatus, I thought to suggest films for watching on Summer evenings.
So, as a place to begin, I’ve organized some movies about visitors from outer space that I like and have divided them into convenient categories. My list is not exhaustive and in the references are links to many, many more possibilities.
Not So Friendly Encounters
- The War of the Worlds
- Independence Day
- Buckeroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension. (Link to the above quote)
- Cowboys & Aliens
Encounters Offering Sage Advice
A closing quote from The Day the Earth Stood Still —
“Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration.
We shall be waiting for your answer”.
- Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer (1963, song, Hans Carste).
- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI Institute.
- SETI@home, Wikipedia.
- List of films featuring extraterrestrials, Wikipedia.
- 10 great films about aliens visiting Earth, British Film Institute.
- Image of the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
The Science Circle will be on Summer Break in July and August. New column on September 1st. Enjoy!