So it’s back to work for me after a blissful three weeks off, with someone wonderful. Amusingly, back to work involved going to the cinema (and it’s not often you can say that), for a brief introductory talk to the film, Solaris — part of the Stars on Screen IYA event at the Broadway Cinema here in Nottingham. Hey, outreach is still work, right?
The film, Solaris, was directed in 1972 by Andrei Tarkovsky, and is a classic. In terms of visionary status and imagination, it’s been compared to 2001: A Space Oddyssey by film critics. Based on a novel published in 1961 by Stanislaw Lem, it concerns the abortive attempts of a group of scientists to make contact with an alien intelligence on a planet named Solaris. Their attempts seem to only serve to cause them psychological anguish and distress.
Stanislaw Lem liked to emphasise the alienness of aliens in his works, deriding depictions of humanoid aliens as unimaginative. Despite the fact that Lem wasn’t entirely pleased with the adaption (which missed out a lot of his ideas of alien life), the film raises a host of fascinating (and rather philosophical) questions concerning the nature of life, alien intelligence and even artificial intelligence. Well worth a watch, despite being nearly 3 hours long.
In other news, I have much to do. A fistful of papers to write, another talk to prepare, undergraduate labs to demonstrate, a couple of fourth year project students to help with stuff… And I should probably think about doing some research at some point, too!