Texas Tech University

Bad Science Movie Night Series Puts Sci-Fi Under the Microscope

Glenys Young

February 8, 2016

Physics professor Tom Maccarone will analyze the film “Contact.”


A new film series hosted by Texas Tech University faculty members hopes to answer the question, is there any real science in science fiction?

As part of the Bad Science Movie Night series, Texas Tech experts will open showings of science fiction films at Alamo Drafthouse, 120 W. Loop 289, with an expert analysis of the movies: what they get right, what they get wrong, and if there's any truth to the concept. The experts promise to explore the real science behind the movie without ruining it – unless the movie really has it coming.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 15, Tom Maccarone, an associate professor in the Department of Physics, will introduce the 1997 Carl Sagan movie “Contact.” The film centers around a scientist who, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens who send plans for a mysterious machine.

Maccarone's discussion will touch on how radio astronomy is done, what cardinal sins the movie astronomers commit in the interest of drama, what signals from space have really turned out to be, and how likely it is we might one day make “contact.”

Reservations are not needed. Tickets are $3 each.

March's film will be “Interstellar.”