LA Theatre Works Helps Bring The Science Play To You

L.A. Theatre Works makes a large number of their works available via audio.  Its Relativity series (H/T Scirens) is a collection of (at this writing) 25 plays with science and technology either as themes and/or as forces driving the action of the play.  You’re certainly familiar with War of the Worlds, and you may have heard of the plays Arcadia and Copenhagen.  The science covered in these plays is from a number of different fields, and some works will try to engage the audience on the social implications of how science is conducted.  The casts have many familiar faces as well.

The series is supported with the help of the Sloan Foundation (at least one of the works, Photograph 51, was commissioned by Sloan).  You can access free audio for each of the plays through the series website.  While L.A. Theatre Works offerings are available (often for free) through other podcast sources (and radio affiliates), I think the website may be the best way to access the Relativity Series.  But I would recommend poring through other L.A. Theatre Works offerings for science and technology influenced works – like Proof – that are not part of the Relativity series.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 25

The main television awards ceremony, the Emmys, is being held tonight (and emceed by Late Night host Seth Meyers), so most shows are dark tonight, even if they have new episodes this week.  In this week’s repeats, Simon Helberg’s latest appearance with Craig Ferguson is on tonight.  Helberg plays an engineer on The Big Bang Theory.  On Thursday you can see Rhona Mitra’s appearance on Conan from earlier this summer.  She plays a scientist on the show Last Ship, which just wrapped its first season in the U.S.  There is a repeat of Brit Marling’s latest Tonight Show appearance on Friday.  She plays a scientist in her latest film I Origins, and yes, I did miss this the first time around.

On Tuesday’s all new Daily Show, David Rose will talk about design and the Internet.  He’s a media scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  On Wednesday Michael Sheen, who plays sex researcher William Masters on Masters of Sex, visits with Stephen Colbert.  If you can’t wait until Wednesday, you can watch Sheen’s recent appearance with Craig Ferguson Tuesday night.

In other science and technology television news, the end of the latest batch of new MythBusters episodes came with a sad announcement.  The Build Team – Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci – has busted its last myths on the program.  The show will continue, but with just one team of MythBusters, much as it was in the show’s first couple of years.  I will miss them, though that may not sink in until the next batch of new episodes premieres in 2015.

National Book Festival Gives Science Its Own Pavilion

The USA Science and Engineering Festival typically has a pretty healthy section on books, so I’ve not paid the National Book Festival as much mind as I have in the past.  This year it takes place at the Warren E Washington Convention Center in Washington on August 30 starting at 10 a.m.

Because the Book Festival is general interest, the offerings any given year may or may not warrant a special pavilion for science and/or technology.  But for this year the Festival has a Science Pavilion with nine authors presenting and signing.

Amanda Ripley – her latest book focuses on American children going through the education systems in the South Korea, Poland and Finland.

Sally Satel – A psychiatrist, her latest book focuses on the overselling of neuroscience.

Paul Bogard – He has written extensively on the light and darkness, both artificial and natural.

Lynn Sherr - A broadcast journalist, her latest book is a biography of Sally Ride.

Eric Cline – An anthropologist, Cline’s latest book focuses on the end of Bronze Age civilizations.

David Sibley – The ornithologist is promoting a new edition of his field guide on birds.

Michio Kaku – The theoretical physicist and ever-present talking head has a new book on neuroscience.

David George – The psychiatrist and internist will speak on his book about emotions and neuroscience.

Adrienne Mayor – An historian of ancient science, Mayor’s latest book concerns historical accounts and legends of warrior women.

Besides the Science pavilion, the science and technologically inclined may find some of the Library of Congress’s pavilion offerings of interest.  They include presentations on Braille, electronic books and copyright.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 18

Repeats dominate the schedule again this week, and some shows are pre-empted this week.  The repeat of note is of Eric McCormack’s appearance with Jimmy Kimmel from late July.  He plays a neuropsychiatrist on the TNT program Perception.

New programs are a wash.  No guests with obvious science and technology connections.  There are new episodes this week of Going Deep with David Rees and MythBusters, but you need the cable for that (or access to Hulu for Going Deep).  Or if you want something longer, give Dinosaur 13 or Mission Blue a try online.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 11

The late night airwaves are thick with repeats this week, and most shows will be off for at least two weeks this month.  In repeats of note, I call your attention to this Thursday’s repeat of The Colbert Report.  James Cameron was the guest (from last week), promoting his undersea documentary.  Kunal Nayyar, who plays one of the scientists on The Big Bang Theory, was on with Ellen DeGeneres earlier today, but that was a repeat from earlier in the year.

In unpublicized science and technology content, we have an unexpected discussion of human growth hormone between Conan O’Brien and Larry King on the August 6th of Conan.  In other Conan news, he and his sidekick Andy Richter appear in a series of public service announcements on water conservation.  California, where the show is based, is under a serious drought.  Here’s one of the spots, which are produced by Save Our Water and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Finally, over the weekend I binged on Going Deep with David Rees on the National Geographic Channel.  Continue reading

Scientist Biopics Coming In November

Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking are noted British scientists, well recognized for their work and for having faced significant challenges in their lives.  While they were in different fields and productive in different parts of the 20th century (Hawking is still with us), their stories will compete in movieplexes (at least in the U.S.) this November.

The Theory of Everything is scheduled for release on November 7 and focuses on the early career and life of Hawking.  He’s portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, and the film is directed by James Marsh.  Marsh has several documentaries to his credit, including the Oscar-winning Man on WireTheory is the third film project on Hawking since 2004, but the first to get much attention outside of the United Kingdom (this might explain why it won’t debut in the U.K. until New Year’s Day).  It premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

The Imitation Game also premieres in Toronto next month, and bows in U.S. theaters on November 21 (a week after it does in the U.K.).  Turing will be portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who has a track record of playing scientists (he portrayed Hawking in a 2004 BBC production).  Morton Tyldum directs the film; it is his first English-language film following success in his native Norway.

I suspect, however, that both films will be challenged Continue reading

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 4

The offerings are thin this week.  Given it’s summer, I can’t be terribly surprised.

Given the lack of offerings, I’ll point you to other science and technology material from the last couple of weeks.  Brit Marling was a guest with Craig Ferguson on July 30 to promote her film I Origins, in which she plays a scientist.  (I posted about the film earlier.)  A segment of the July 27 edition of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight addressed the (temporarily) lost Russian spacecraft with fornicating geckos.

This week is mostly about those who play doctors on television.  Earlier today Clive Owen was on The View.  He stars in a new Cinemax cable show, The Knick, which premieres this weekend.  He plays the chief surgeon at a major New York City hospital in the early 20th century.  On Tuesday night James Cameron sits down with Stephen Colbert.  His latest film, which is a documentary about his deep sea explorations, premieres on Friday.  On Wednesday Lizzy Caplan will visit Conan to talk about her work as sex researcher Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex.  Caplan received an Emmy nomination for this role.  Thursday morning you can see Sasha Alexander on Live with Kelly and Michael.  She plays a medical examiner on the TNT program Rizzoli & Isles.