137 Films


"We Believe in Dinosaurs: Documentary About Creationism"

Amy Ellison and Monica Long Ross of 137 Films will tell us about the making of their film company’s most recent project, currently in post-production, called “We Believe in Dinosaurs.” Shot over the course of three years, the film follows the designers and builders of the $100 million, 510-foot Noah’s Ark “Museum” in rural Kentucky whose express purpose is debunking evolution. From blue prints to opening day, the film tells the story of the unsettling, yet uniquely American, conflict between science and religion.


About 137 Films:

One hundred thirty-seven is a magical and bizarre number for physicists. It is the value of a number called the fine-structure constant. This constant, 137 (or actually, 1/137), is the way physicists describe the probability that an electron will emit or absorb a photon: it's the square of the charge of the electron divided by the speed of light times Planck’s constant. It combines electromagnetism (the electron charge), relativity (the speed of light), and quantum mechanics (Planck’s constant), and, strangely enough, is a pure, dimensionless number. It has fascinated physicists for decades.

Throughout the Thirties and Forties, the greatest scientists of the day tried and failed to figure out the magic number 137. The great Werner Heisenberg told his friends that the problems of quantum theory would disappear only when 137 was explained, and spent years trying to explain it; fortunately, the problems did go away despite his failure.

Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of this century said that physicists ought to put a special sign in their offices to remind themselves of how much they don't know. The message on the sign would be very simple. It would consist entirely of one word, or, rather, number: 137.

Dr. Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate, in his book The God Particle said "I tell my undergraduate students that if they are ever in trouble in a major city anywhere in the world they should write '137' on a sign and hold it up on a busy street corner. Eventually a physicist will see that they're distressed and come to their assistance."

During an interview for The Atom Smashers, John Marburger, President Bush's science adviser (himself a physicist), asked if we had ever stood on a street corner and tried it. Monica said "we named our company after it, held it up, and physicists have been coming to our assistance ever since."


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March 10
8:00 pm 




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