Marvel Takes us to School with The Science of the MCU
The greatest lecture series a nerd could ask for, Marvel takes us to school with the Science of the MCU
Last night, thousands of people waited in line in downtown LA… for a lecture? Yes, Marvel is so amazingly popular that they made the impossible possible; Marvel made school cool!!! I wouldn’t even wake up for most of my lectures, but I waited in line to watch Marvel lectures. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to my laziness or Marvel’s amazingness… Anyway- in collaboration with The Great Company and The Science & Entertainment Exchange, the Science of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was thoroughly taught and experienced last night for thousands of fans.
The event had 3 main areas, each named after one of the Infinity Stones. Space, Power, and Reality. This was mapped out on the back of our wooden lanyards. The Space area was kind of the lobby, where they had some cool photobooths, food trucks, and open bar. The Space area ironically lacked any once the event began. Lines for everything clogged the area making it near impossible to get around. By the time you got your food, chances are you would finish it by the time you made it to the bar area, or someone would bump into you and knock it down. The unorganized lines were the one hitch in an otherwise enjoyable evening.
The Power area was a small gallery of some of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most iconic items. You are brought up to the gallery by elevator and lead by scientists who explain some of the finer details of each item. The scientists were fully dedicated to their roles and really help sell the experience. The scientists, however, are only experts in the MCU versions of the items, they are unaware of any other parallel versions but do not deny the possibility of their existence. The highlight of the gallery was meeting Pepper, not to be confused with Stark Industries CEO Pepper Potts. Pepper is a robot designed and created by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile. She greeted the guests as they exited the elevator and before entering the gallery. Pepper has the ability to communicate with humans, which is amazing, and somewhat scary for believers in SkyNet. The gallery itself was a bit underwhelming. If you have been to a convention where Marvel has a booth, or gone to Disneyland, it is nothing new. It is always cool to see the MCU props, but I don’t believe the time in line was worth the wait.
The main event took place in the Reality area. The night was hosted by Jon Spaihts, who introduced everyone and later also moderated the “Science of the MCU” Panel.” There were 6 lectures/panels in total:
Seti: An Alternate Reality – Jill Tarter
Science of Super – Alicia Jackson
#ScienceoftheMCU – Moderated by Jon Spaihts, featuring Jaime Waydo, Preston Dyches, Ricardo Gil-da-Costa, and Jessica Cail
Consulting for Doctor Strange – Adam Frank
Science of Strange – Moderated by Felicia Day, featuring Stephen Broussard, Adam Frank, Luis Garza, Jon Spaihts, and A. Bolu Ajiboye
My personal favorite was the Science of Super, where Alicia Jackson shared the work being done with CRISPR. CRISPR is working on human genetics and basically working on controlling DNA to become perfect humans. It kind of sounded like CRISPIR might have holdings of superior genes in their facilities and are working on being able to implement them. I did get a Bolivar Trask vibe from the presentation. Lastly, before the final panel, there was an exclusive preview of Doctor Strange. Not that I needed another reason to go watch it, but it was awesome.
Science of the MCU was a great night of learning and experience. However, I get the feeling many people did not expect the heavy educational aspect to the evening. I saw many restless people in the audience and many who left early. It was an extremely education-oriented event. Marvel is campaigning STEAM on many fronts, and I think it’s amazing. The lectures last night showed a whole new side of Marvel and the practical and exciting applications of the sciences. These professions are real life heroes and Marvel celebrated them justly, giving them the stage and the platform to reach an audience far and wide.
The biggest takeaway from the night is that the line between science fiction and reality are blurring. What was just something that happened in a movie 8 years ago, Iron Man, is more reality than fiction at this point. Marvel movies are fun, but they also inspire. They inspire young and old and spur creativity in the sciences. The reason things seem so realistic in the movies is because they are supported by professionals in the field who have already made it possible or are working to do so. The Science of the MCU event was a truly brilliant event that celebrates learning, being smart, and being a force for a positive change. It’s kind of heavy handed when you think about it, but that’s also what is so brilliant about it. You don’t realize how much you actually learned and absorbed from these films, how much real education is in this fake world. I hope Marvel makes this a trend, and that educators take a page from their book and consistently intertwine education and entertainment. Science is an amazing and necessary field, and I believe is finally being presented and celebrated in the manner it deserves.
Stay tuned as I’ll be periodically posting footage of the lectures.