Kobulnicky from UW will moderate the screening of the documentary “Luminous” | news

November 17, 2022

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The film “Luminous,” about Larry Molnar, an astronomer who predicts an exploding star, will be screened Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room. (Chip Kobulnicky photo)

A faculty member from the University of Wyoming will host a screening of the documentary “Luminous” on Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room.

Chip Kobulnicky, a professor in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy, will present the film about Larry Molnar, an astronomer who predicts an exploding star in the constellation Cygnus. Molnar, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin University, and other scientists associated with the documentary will be present for a question-and-answer session at the screening after the film.

“The film examines the nature of science, the burden of proof, and the people who do science – both students and professors – who struggle with doubt, criticism, and disappointment,” says Kobulnicky. “The film is about the character of scientists in the face of adversity. I see it as a Facing the Giants film that’s more about scholars than athletes.”

A synopsis on the film’s website reads: “When Larry and a small team of scientists stumble upon a strange star, they embark on a dramatic journey of scientific discovery that puts the unlikely team in the international limelight. But others in the astronomical community are skeptical, and Larry’s professional reputation is at stake.”

“The documentary follows the course of our scientific adventure from an early stage, long before it’s clear how the story will end,” explains Molnar. “The story zigzags in unpredictable ways, providing the film’s drama and revealing the excitement of pursuing a scientific question wherever it leads.”

Evan Cook, a fourth-year UW Ph.D. Hudsonville, Michigan astronomy student featured in the documentary says Luminous offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of both faculty and student researchers.

“It’s a powerful illustration of the humanity and non-linearity of scientific endeavor,” says Cook.

Luminous has received official selection status from 10 film festivals, including the San Antonio Film Festival and Film Invasion Los Angeles. A trailer for the film can be found at www.luminous-film.com/trailer.

The screening is made possible through a special arrangement with the film’s producers and is open to campus and the public, Kobulnicky says.

Molnar will present a colloquium on Friday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m. in Room 234 of the Physical Sciences Building. The public is invited.

For more information, email Kobulnicky at [email protected]


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