The Martian

Robinson Film Center Shreveport, LA


Dr. Lee Sawyer

Department Director of Chemistry and Physics, Louisiana Tech University

The Martian— How much science did The Martian get right?

How much science did The Martian get right? Could a spaceship really “slingshot” around Earth to make it back to Mars in record time? What does spending years in space really do to an astronaut’s body? Could Matt Damon actually fly into space in a rocket with the nose torn off? Dr. Lee Sawyer answered these and other questions we’ll likely never get to test for ourselves. Part of the 2016 National Evening of Science on Screen.

Robinson Film Center Shreveport, LA

Film Synopsis

When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney, presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must use his wits, spirit, and scientific know-how to find a way to survive on the hostile planet.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney's safe return. Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, The Martian was nominated for three Golden Globes. 

About the Speaker

Dr. Lee Sawyer is the director of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Louisiana Tech University. He is a particle physicist, and has worked on a number of particle physics experiments in the United States and abroad. Dr. Sawyer's research mostly centers around experiments at high-energy particle accelerators, and developing new detector technologies for future experiments. He received a BS in physics from Northeast Louisiana University and a PhD from Florida State University.