Alien 1979

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN


Dr. Richard H. Durisen

Professor Emeritus, Astronomy Department, Indiana University

Alien— Science in Sci-Fi

A discussion of science as it is depicted in science-fiction films. Part of the 2017 National Evening of Science on Screen.

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN

Film Synopsis

The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.

In the deepest reaches of space, commercial towing vehicle Nostromo is heading back to Earth when it intercepts an SOS signal from a nearby planet. After a bad landing on the planet, a few members of the crew leave the ship to explore the area. Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) and his rescue team discover a bizarre pod field. But things get even stranger when a parasite bursts out of a pod and attaches itself to Kane (John Hurt). Over the objections of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), science officer Ash (Ian Holm) lets Kane back on the ship. When the parasite dies, it seems the danger is over—but not for long. From director Ridley Scott, Alien became an Academy Award-winning monster that's haunted nightmares for over 35 years.

About the Speaker

Dr. Richard H. Durisen joined the Indiana University Astronomy faculty in 1976. He received a BS in physics from Fordham University in 1967 and a PhD in astronomy from Princeton University in 1972. Dr. Durisen has had extended research leaves at NASA-Ames Research Center as an NRC Research Associate and at Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics as Fulbright Fellow and an Alexander von Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Awardee. He also has a long-standing interest in science fiction and film.