Building a successful Science on Screen series will depend a great deal on your choice of film/speaker pairings. Classic science films such as Madame Curie, Inherit the Wind, and Arrowsmith have enduring appeal and could be the cornerstone of great programs. Science fiction films offer opportunities to explore topics on everything from artificial intelligence (2001: A Space Odyssey) and eugenics (Gattaca) to cephalopod biology (It Came From Beneath the Sea) and the spread of viruses (12 Monkeys).

And then there are films that are not traditionally associated with science. Such films are waiting for you to unpack creative science connections that can capture people’s imaginations and get them thinking about science, and its relationship to art and entertainment, in new ways.

Few would associate Fight Club with science. Yet, when paired with a presentation by a Harvard biological anthropologist who co-authored a book called Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, the film became a springboard for a fascinating look at how violent behavior in human males compares to that of our closest primate relatives.

Best in Show a science movie? Not exactly, but it became the basis for an informative and entertaining program on dog intelligence and behavior. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon provided a spectacular backdrop for a talk on whether cinematic representations of martial arts are true to the laws of physics. Various other films have served as a foundation for exploring a host of intriguing questions, including: What happens inside the brains of rappers as they freestyle? (8 Mile). Is it possible to create clothing that never dirties or wears out? (The Man in the White Suit). From a neurobiological perspective, what exactly does “being an adolescent” mean? (Rushmore). And what the heck is a time loop, anyway? (Groundhog Day).