The  Day The  Earth  Stood  Still

Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN


Steve Howell

Head of the Space Sciences and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames Research Center

The Day the Earth Stood Still— WWKD: What Would Klaatu Do?

Astrobiologist Steve Howell considers modern humanity through the eyes of the first extraterrestrial visitors and speaks about the current search for life beyond Earth. Part of the 2018 National Evening of Science on Screen.

Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN

Film Synopsis

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

When a UFO lands in Washington, DC, bearing a message for Earth's leaders, all of humanity stands still. Klaatu (Michael Rennie) has come on behalf of alien life who have been watching Cold War-era nuclear proliferation on Earth. But it is Klaatu's soft-spoken robot, Gort, that presents a more immediate threat to onlookers. A single mother (Patricia Neal) and her son teach the world about peace and tolerance in this moral fable, ousting the tanks and soldiers that greet the alien's arrival. Robert Wise's 1951 film is considered by many critics and fans to be one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.

About the Speaker

Dr. Steve B. Howell is currently the head of the Space Sciences and Astrobiology Division at the NASA Ames Research Center following his success as project scientist of both the Kepler and K2 missions. He received his PhD in astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam and has over 900 scientific publications spanning research on variable stars, instrumentation, spectroscopy, and exoplanets. Dr. Howell has written or contributed to numerous scientific books, and his textbook on digital imaging detectors  is the standard in college courses around the world. Working as the scientist in charge of the planet-hunting Kepler mission inspired the creation of A Kepler's Dozen, a collection of short stories about real exoplanets, including his first science-fiction work. A frequent invited speaker at scientific conferences and public forums, Dr. Howell has a passion for sharing astronomy with people throughout the world.