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Published November 17, 2022
A University of Wyoming faculty member will emcee a screening of the documentary film “Luminous” Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room.
Chip Kobulnicky, a professor in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy, will introduce the film about Larry Molnar, an astronomer who predicts an exploding star in the constellation Cygnus. Molnar, a professor of physics and astronomy at Calvin University, and other scientists associated with the documentary will be at the screening for a question-and-answer discussion after the film.
“The film explores the nature of science, the weight of evidence and the people who do sciences -- both students and professors as they grapple with doubt, criticism and disappointment,” Kobulnicky says. “The film is about the character of scientists in the face of adversity. I think of it as a ‘Facing the Giants’ movie, featuring scholars rather than athletes.”
A synopsis on the film’s website reads: “When Larry and a small team of scientists stumble across a strange star, they embark on a dramatic journey of scientific discovery, which brings the unlikely team into the international spotlight. But others in the astronomical community are skeptical, and Larry’s professional reputation hangs in the balance.”
“The documentary follows the course of our scientific adventure from an early stage, well before it is clear how the story will turn out,” Molnar explains. “The story zigs and zags in unforeseeable ways, making the drama of the film and revealing the excitement of pursuing a scientific question wherever it leads.”
Evan Cook, a fourth-year UW Ph.D. student of astronomy from Hudsonville, Mich., who appears in the documentary, says “Luminous” provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of both faculty and student researchers.
“It is a powerful illustration of the humanity and nonlinearity of the scientific endeavor,” Cook says.
“Luminous” has received official selection status from 10 film festivals, including the San Antonio Film Festival and Film Invasion Los Angeles. For a trailer of the film, go to www.luminous-film.com/trailer.
The screening is made possible through a special arrangement with the film’s producers, and it is open to campus and the public, Kobulnicky says.
Molnar will give a colloquium talk Friday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. in Room 234 of the Physical Sciences Building. The public is invited to attend.
For more information, email Kobulnicky at email@example.com.