Deep Impact: Science On Screen

The State Theatre and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory present: Science On Screen.

A FREE, grant-driven, science education program for teens and adults that pairs prominent LLNL scientists presenting cutting-edge science with popular Hollywood films.

Get extra class credits for attending!
Attend and receive LLNL gear!
The top three classrooms with the most students in attendance over the four programs will receive cash prizes!
Talk to a scientist ~ an opportunity to meet and chat with the scientist following their presentation!
Deep Impact (PG-13~ 2018) 2 Hrs.
A comet is hurtling toward Earth and could mean the end of all human life. The U.S. government keeps the crisis under wraps, but crack reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) uncovers the truth — forcing U.S. President Beck (Morgan Freeman) to announce his plan. Grizzled astronaut Spurgeon “Fish” Tanner (Robert Duvall) and his team will land on the comet and lay explosives, hopefully deterring the object from its doomsday course. If not, humanity will have to prepare for the worst.

Doors at 11:30; presentation at 12; movie at 1 p.m.

Planetary Defense:
Avoiding a cosmic catastrophe
Speakers: Megan Bruck Syal and Mary Burkey, LLNL

Our planet has been continually bombarded by asteroids since its formation, 4.5 billion years ago. While the frequency of large impacts has decreased, many potential Near-Earth Object threats remain undiscovered, so if or when they will impact Earth remains unknown. Fortunately, if an Earth-threatening asteroid is discovered in time, there are ways to mitigate or even prevent a disaster. If an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth, it can be diverted by a few different methods. For long warning times and asteroids that are not too big, a heavy “kinetic impactor” spacecraft can be used to impact the asteroid at high speeds, giving it a slight nudge so that it safely misses Earth. When warning times are short or the asteroid is large, kinetic impactors cannot provide enough momentum for the asteroid to miss Earth. In these cases, a nuclear device can be sent into space to deflect the asteroid. Very short warning time scenarios, where deflection is impossible, can be handled by using a similar device to fragment the asteroid into many small, well-dispersed pieces. Scientists at LLNL provide computer simulations in preparation these scenarios so if the time comes where an asteroid is headed our way, we will be prepared.

Megan Bruck Syal is a Group leader in the Design Physics Division at LLNL and leads the Planetary Defense project. She has a Ph. D. in Planetary Geosciences and a M. S. in Engineering from Brown University, where she investigated asteroid and comet impacts using both experiments and computer simulations. Megan uses a variety of numerical methods and experimental platforms to understand material response to energy deposition and shock.

Mary Burkey is currently a postdoctoral scholar at LLNL in the Planetary Defense group, where she works on modeling the nuclear deflection of asteroids. Before coming to LLNL, she was a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences for the Committee on International Security and Arms control. She earned her Ph. D. in Nuclear Physics at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.


State Theatre
1307 J Street

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