City college professors weigh in on ‘Gravity’

Watch and discuss a sci-fi thriller with savvy scientists on Nov. 5.

Brian Mohler, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The San Diego Central Library will be hosting a screening of the film “Gravity” on Monday, Nov. 5, followed by a discussion led by San Diego City College professors Lisa Will and Shane Haggard in the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Common.

“Gravity” is a science fiction film about two astronauts stranded in space, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

“It’s an untethered in space, Space Station disaster story,” Will said.

The 2013 film won seven Academy Awards and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The screening and discussion of “Gravity” is the first showing of Hollywood vs. Science Movie Nights at the library.

“The Empire Strikes Back,” a favorite film of both professors, will be shown Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

The movie discussions preview and postview the Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds interactive exhibit that will be on display in the Central Library Nov. 8 to Jan. 23 in the Dickenson Popular Library on the first floor.

Star Wars presentation
After a Star Wars presentation Dr. Lisa Will discusses planetarium software with students while Professor Shane Haggard delights students with a realistic lightsaber. Photo by Brian Mohler, City Times.

Will and Haggard make for an exciting presentation duo. They have previously presented at Comic-Con and recently held a Star Wars lecture on campus in the Science building’s planetarium.

Some of the topics discussed during their campus Star Wars lecture included the possibility of moving faster than light speed, fusion powered and ion engines, repulsion jets, how holograms are displayed, droid psychology, robo-prosthetics, stem cell super-healing, suspended animation, alien planet physiology, and geo-engineering.   

Will is an astrophysicist and resident astronomer at the Fleet Science Center, where she presents The Sky Tonight planetarium show. Will says in her free time she keeps up with Star Wars Rebels, movies from the Marvel universe and she still reads comics.

The professors are planning a future Marvel universe presentation.

“I’d like to discuss Infiniti Wars, Daredevil compared to real-world analogs and the properties of Vibranium from Back Panther,” Will said.

Haggard is the bigger Guardians of the Galaxy geek.

“I started reading the comics when I was a kid,” he said.

The chemist says he enjoys wowing attendees of his Wavelength Brewing chemistry of beer lectures by “blowing stuff up.”

“Wavelength Brewing holds science lectures every Friday from regarded scientific speakers,” he said.

“The goal of the brewery is to spread science,” said Haggard. He joked, “I’m the reason they know their insurance coverage limitations.”

Haggard said he and his husband are avid gamers and that he also spends time working on a nearly completed realistic Stormtrooper suit.

When finished, Haggard said he estimates an investment of about $3,000 into the suit, but it will pay off if he can get it approved by the 501st Legion. The global organization promotes interest in Star Wars while contributing to local communities through costumed charity and volunteer work.

“There’s a local Imperial Sands Garrison and garrisons around the world that help support children’s cancer research,” he said. “One guy walked around the whole perimeter of Australia in a stormtrooper outfit for charity.”

The out-of-this world discussion of “Gravity” with the sci-fi loving professors will certainly be intellectually stimulating to its attendees.