For those who missed the 2009 Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, one of many highlights was the screening of documentary shorts: not the dry, didactic educational films typically shown in the classroom, but truly creative endeavors that showcase science in innovative ways.
Worried that the Large Hadron Collider, that massive particle accelerator in Switzerland, is going to destroy the world? Here's a film that sets the record straight with a sense of humor: What's the Matter at CERN, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LHC. There were short biopics on Alan Turing and Charles Babbage, and -- a clear audience favorite -- the whimsical Hairytale, featuring a former hair dresser named Ronn Thompson who collects hair clippings from landfills and turns them into a building material resembling fiber glass.
The winner of the Nature Scientific Merit Award was Magnetic Movie, a short film detailing the secret life of magnetic fields, from Semiconductor Films. It's now part of the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. The filmmakers, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, were artists in residence at the Science Sciences Laboratory in Berkeley and thought they could create a short artistic film highlighting the lab's cutting-edge research in scientific visualizations of magnetic fields generated by the sun and solar winds.
Jarman and Gerhardt were inspired further by a 1744 experiment in Sweden to reproduce the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in the lab. From Semiconductor Films' Website: