WPSU

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And the Winner Is . . .


No award-nominated films on THIS screen, alas

The Academy Awards blew by us this year.  We don't have TV on the boat, so we didn't watch the ceremony.  

And having seen exactly one movie this year, he didn't know much about the nominees.  

Okay, we'd sort of seen one movie.  We tried to watch "True Grit" in Clewiston, Florida. But the sweet little old-fashioned art-house theatre had the reels out of order.  

We would have enjoying seeing movies. But the sad truth is, most towns no longer have a  movie theater downtown (i.e., walking distance from a dock).  And we didn't want to shell out the bucks to rent a car or take a taxi to get to the exurbs, just to watch a movie at a Google-plex.

Anyway, our state of near total movie-deprived-ness made the news from the awards ceremony particularly striking: Natalie Portman is both a great actress, AND an expert in alternative energy technologies.  

Yup, it's true. As a high school student, Portman put together an independent study project to "illustrate an environmentally friendly bio-technology for the utilization of renewable energy sources."

Translation:  She put together a little lab project to make hydrogen (an alternative-energy fuel) from sugar.  More specifically, she developed a protocol that high school biology teachers could use to explain to their students "how enzymes help reactions go faster"; the procedure involve breaking apart cellulose and releasing hydrogen gas.  

The work was good enough to take Portman to the prestigious IntelScience Talent Search competition, where she was a semifinalist, no small accomplishment. (Talent Search alums have gone on to win a startling number of Nobel Prizes and MacArthur genius awards.)

So anyway, here's what I'm thinking. When Aaron Sorkin casts his made-for-TV movie about the epic solar-powered Voyage of the Dragonfly, I want Natalie Portman to play me.  

Then she can say, "I'm a biologist. And I play one on TV."

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