March 9, 2023—Cosmic Picture Distribution has been awarded a $3 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its upcoming project, Einstein’s Incredible Universe, a major media and outreach program designed to catalyze interest in space science and spark scientific curiosity in learners worldwide.
The centerpiece of the project is a film for giant screen and IMAX® theaters that will celebrate the groundbreaking work of Albert Einstein, the curiosity that drove him to explore space and time, and the scientific creativity that led to his most revolutionary ideas. The film also features two modern astrophysicists and their own true stories of scientific exploration: Dr. Andrea Ghez, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics and head of the Galactic Space Science Group at UCLA, and Dr. Nergis Mavalvala, Dean of the MIT School of Science and a professor in the university’s physics department. Both were inspired by Einstein as young women and are today making cutting-edge discoveries of their own that build on and challenge some of his most radical theories. Accompanied and enriched by hands-on citizen science experiments aligned with the total solar eclipse in 2024 and a host of other learning activities, the project aims to engage young people–particularly girls–in science and astrophysics.
Dr. Andrea Ghez, Recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics
and head of UCLA's Galactic Space Science Group
|Dr. Nergis Mavalvala, Dean of the MIT School of Science and physics professor
Cosmic Picture’s founder and CEO Taran Davies will serve as Principal Investigator, while Erica Meehan of Meehan Media Consulting and Andrea Durham, Chief Officer for Science and Education at the Saint Louis Science Center, will serve as Co-PIs. The film will be directed by Daniel Ferguson (Jerusalem, Superpower Dogs) and executive produced by the Genius 100 Foundation.
This project has been a long time in the making, and we are thrilled to finally be able to bring to the giant screen. This film and the engagement program will deepen audiences’ understanding of astrophysics and will inspire our youth, especially young girls, to harness their creative capacity to achieve future innovations and advancements in STEM,” said the project’s Producer and Principal Investigator, Taran Davies.
“NSF investment in Einstein’s Incredible Universe is part of multi-decade effort to boost science learning beyond the classroom, where research has shown most learning takes place,” said NSF program officer Sandra H. Welch. “This project has the potential for strong impact, leveraging public excitement in the 2024 eclipse and providing valuable role models that will inspire newer generations to become scientists."
Beyond the film, the NSF award will fund partnerships with the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) to engage young women and girls nationwide in exploring space, time, and gravity; the STEM Education Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which will collaborate with young women in the NGCP network to conduct groundbreaking data capture experiments during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse; the Saint Louis Science Center, which will lead the creation of a rich and engaging collection of learning activities to support the project; and Rockman, et al, which will use the project as a research tool to investigate key questions about gender equity in informal STEM education.
Cinematographer Reed Smoot and Director Daniel Ferguson
Einstein’s Incredible Universe has consistently ranked among the top films in development by giant screen film buyers worldwide. It will be available in all digital formats in both 2D and 3D and will be accompanied by an array of marketing and educational materials. Release is projected for 2025.
About Cosmic Picture
Cosmic Picture was founded to produce and distribute the most compelling cinematic experiences possible to change people’s perception of the universe in ways never imagined. Cosmic Picture represents one of the industry’s largest libraries of top-quality giant screen and full-dome films including the National Geographic library of documentaries. Past films include award-winning IMAX® and giant screen productions and transformative environmental documentaries with tremendous social impact including The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness, Superpower Dogs, and Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction. To discover more visit www.cosmicpicture.com.
About National Science Foundation
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments, and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities, and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.
Source: Cosmic Picture