Argus-Courier publisher hosts Science on Screen film series

For the third year in a row, with 2020 and 2021 somewhat shortened by a certain sci-fi pandemic come true, David Templeton of Petaluma – the community editor of Argus-Courier – presents Science on Screen, a monthly series of films and conversations presented by the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. The series features movies with interesting science ideas (albeit sometimes quite wacky, as you’ll see as you read on), and pairs them with a post-movie guest who’s interviewed onstage by Templeton, explaining, expanding, and sometimes challenging the science exposed in the movies.

Kicking off the first half of the 2022 series is a program titled “Celebrating Unsung Women Scientists Through Stage and Screen,” which will run Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m. with a screening of the acclaimed 2020 film “Ammonite (with Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan) followed by a conversation with popular San Francisco playwright Lauren Gunderson (“Christmas at Pemberley,” “Silent Sky,” etc.), known for her plays that develop fictional stories classics or illuminate the lives of famous and forgotten female scientists, Gunderson will help unpack the true story of Mary Anning, the groundbreaking 19th-century paleontologist at the center of “Ammonite.”

The series continues Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. — it’s National Science on Screen Night — with a screening of the 2006 Charles Darwin biopic “Creation” (starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly) and a discussion with the science author Emily Willingham (“Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis“). The program is titled “How Sex Changes the World Through Evolution, Genetics and Love”.

After that, it’s “Destroying the World with Style and Fun (Science Taken to Extremes)” on Thursday, April 21, 7 p.m. kept secret. Next up is “Tripping with Neandertals in the New Age” (Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m. with journalist-author and hallucinogen expert Don Lattin, discussing the visionarily bonkers 1980 movie “Altered States.”

And finally, it’s a program called “‘Soylent Green’: How to Feed the World Without Eating Your Neighbor”, featuring a projection of that same futuristic clash from 1972, with a representative from the San Francisco/Marin Food Bank discussing the science and sociology of food insecurity and how the world could avoid the fate depicted in the classic film. This one is Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m.

The series is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Tickets are $12 per movie or $30 for a 5-movie pass. These are discounts for members of the California Film Institute. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit. science on screen

Andrea G. Henderson