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News + Events

Chicago Indie Film Awards Official Selection 2021 - "SUPERPOSITION"

On December 15, 2021, the first short film in STAGE Lab's Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist docuseries, "SUPERPOSITION," was announced as an official selection of Chicago Indie Film Awards. The international festival promotes the art of indie filmmaking: a journey of artistic expression, compelling narratives, forms, and experimental story telling in fiction, documentary, experimental, animation, comedy and "all genres of filmmaking which can inspire us or challenge us."

1st Annual MRSEC Symposium

On December 7, 2021, the UChicago Materials Research Science and Engineering Center's Graduate Student and Postdoc Advisory Board organized the 1st Annual MRSEC Symposium. Featuring a screening and panel discussion of Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist's "SUPERPOSITION", the Symposium's poster session was judged by Chibueze Amanchukwu, Shrayesh Patel, Shailaja Seetharaman, and Tracy Chmiel who selected the posters by STAGE's Director of Science Dr. Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar, Neil Dolinskiand Elina Ghimire as the winners.

"Designing a Career as a Communicator" - Horizons by Hopkins

On December 2, 2021, STAGE Lab's Director of Science Dr. Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar was invited to discuss career opportunities at the intersection of science and art with Dr. Michelle Dione Thompson and Dr. Ben Rein. The virtual panel was part of a larger event by Johns Hopkins University planned by graduate students and postdocs from STEMM, the humanities, and social sciences to offer honest and transparent conversations about the nitty gritty of academia.

Sigma Xi 2021 Student Research Conference Interdisciplinary Award - Sanskriti Chitransh

On November 7, 2021, graduate student Sanskriti Chitransh (Maurer Lab) was recognized as one of the conference's Top Presenters when she received the "Tools for Science, Education, and Personalized Learning Award" for her presentation about her work with STAGE: Using Theatre to Communicate Quantum Physics to Non-Scientific Audiences at the Sigma Xi 2021 Student Research Conference.

Sigma Xi STEM Art and Film Festival Best Short Film - "SUPERPOSITION"

On November 7, 2021, STAGE's Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist's "SUPERPOSITION" won "Best Short Film" at the 2021 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting's STEM Art and Film Festival. The virtual festival celebrated the intersection of science and art through visual art, digital art, films, documentaries, animations, and performance art related to or inspired by science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Smart Museum of Art - Just Earth: Films for a Sustainable Future

On November 4, 2021, Ellen Askey's short film "Downstream," made in collaboration with STAGE, was featured along with films by STAGE alums Atman Mehta and Jode Sparks among the works "of established and emerging filmmakers that interweave the pressing concerns of climate change with racial, economic, ecological, and social justice" as part of the Smart Museum of Art's Just Earth outdoor event curated by Erik L. Peterson.

Environmental Studies Workshop - "The River Project: Downstream"

On October 8, 2021, STAGE Collaborator Ellen Askey workshopped "Downstream" her newest short film in collaboration with STAGE to kick off the 2021-2022 UChicago Environmental Studies Workshop series. "Downstream" examines the impact of Midwestern farming practices on the water ecosystem in the US and was inspired, in part, by PME Professor Supratik Guha's Water-to-Cloud (W2C) project using sensor technology to monitor pollution in India's rivers in real-time and Ambedkar University Delhi's Centre for Community Knowledge investigation of the polution's socio-economic impact on riverine communities.

"Exploring the Morality of Cultural Appropriation" by Evan Robinson

On August 11, 2021, Hamilton College interviewed Nathalie Martinez about her Leadership Alliance summer internship with STAGE on The River Project. Nathalie's research took a philosophical approach to her research into cultural appropriation and the arts to help the STAGE team "preclude any chance of misappropriating the riverine communities of India. I see the performing arts, specifically theatre, as an active medium through which stories of individuals whose very livelihoods and personhood are being threatened can be shared."

"STAGE Lab Report" by Sanskriti Chitransh

On July 20, 2021, graduate student Sanskriti Chitransh submitted her report on her Spring 2021 research activities with STAGE as an intermediate elective course: "The STAGE Lab projects are aimed at bringing science closer to the non-scientific community through active storytelling (theatre and film). Each production revolves around a scientific idea/method and connections are drawn between the scientific theory and its human element to bring out the impact of the science and the people involved to a non-scientific audience. The STAGE Lab works in collaboration with principal investigators at the PME to bring a definite science focus to the production. My activities with the STAGE Lab comprised both research and improvisational work and ranged from studying the socio-economic and ecological systems associated with Indian rivers to quantum mechanics papers employing gambling analogies."

"Capturing Science with Animation in Documentary Film" by Nicole Zhong

On May 21, 2021, Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) awarded STAGE Lab researcher and Visual Arts and Biology 2nd-year Nicole Zhong's poster with the Top Humanities & Fine Arts, History, and Linguistics Award at the 2021 CAURS conference. CAURS is one of the largest annual undergraduate research conferences in the country, bringing together hundreds of undergraduate students in the Chicagoland area from all academic disciplines to present their research.

Online Sneak Peek of STAGE’s docuseries Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist 

On June 25, 2020, STAGE held an online sneak peek of the pilot episode of STAGE’s docuseriesCuriosity: The Making of a Scientist. The 24-minute short film "SUPERPOSITION" follows Ph.D. student Nate Earnest-Noble as he attempts to balance the “two states of Nate” while building a device that could have foundational impact for quantum computing. Both online showings include an interactive panel with the scientists and artists. 

“University of Chicago STAGE lab docuseries takes viewers into the lives and labs of scientists” by Maureen McMahon

On June 16, 2020, UChicago’s Physical Sciences Division featured STAGE Lab’s docuseries Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist by interviewing alum Nate Earnest-Noble, Professor David Schuster, graduating Cinema and Media Studies major and "SUPERPOSITION" pilot Co-Director Ellen Askey, STAGE’s Director of Science and Curiosity Director Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar and STAGE’s Director Nancy Kawalek

“Bridging the Methods of Art and Science in a Documentary Web Series, Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist” by Ellen Askey

On May 13, 2020, The College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF) published STAGE Lab researcher and 4th-Year Cinema and Media Studies Major Ellen Askey’s abstract in the 2020 University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium Online Proceedings which celebrates scholarly undergraduate research and creative inquiry across all disciplines.

Redefining the Landscape: Women in STEM a PSD and PME Exhibit + Speaker Series 
On March 5, 2020, PME and PSD held an exhibit to highlight a number of women learning, teaching, and researching at the University of Chicago. The displayed profiles of female scientists spanned many generations and represented a diversity of programs and interests. STAGE's own Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar was among this wonderful group of trailblazing women who recounted pivotal moments, challenges surmounted, and proudest accomplishments. Embedded in their narratives are paths forged through persistence and determination. The exhibit was intended to elicit conversations and discover more about the collective experiences of the incredible women who are paving the way for others who aspire to push discovery further. Click here for Sunanda's profile from the exhibit.

"Scientific process inspires UChicago art/science lab, whose latest play entangles quantum concepts and kung fu" by Louise Lerner

On December 12, 2019, UChicago News featured STAGE Lab's summer workshop in Hong Kong. PME Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering Tian Zhong talked about his experience participating in the workshop to help create STAGE's Entanglement project, "These connections between science and art—at some level, they’re about the same thing. Both start with asking intriguing questions. Then you use existing knowledge to inquire and explore, and the outcome is creation—new knowledge or new art. It’s just the toolsets that are different"

STAGE Lab Visits Hong Kong to Research New Project, Entanglement

In the first week of July, 2019, members of the STAGE Lab visited Hong Kong to workshop STAGE's new multimedia theatre project about quantum entanglement and kung fu. The dynamic collaboration with City University's School of Creative Media included instruction in Hung Kuen kung fu, as well as sessions led by experts on quantum physics, motion capture, media art, and animation. Travel and the workshop were made possible by generous funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex/The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong, the National Science Foundation, the Croucher Foundation, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Find out more about Entanglement here. See photos of our work in Hong Kong here.

STAGE Lab is Part of The Conversation

In the September 2, 2018 edition of The Conversation, an independent global media network of newsrooms, scholars from the Olin College of Engineering write about the importance of thinking "beyond academic silos to solve the world's problems." In the article, the STAGE Lab's "new approach" is referenced, particularly in regard to the way the Lab's work "inspires new ways of asking questions, in both science and art." Further distributed by the Associated Press, The Conversation article caught the attention of The Chicago Tribune, LA Times and SF Chronicle

Unique Inaugural Fellowship Opportunities for Artists and Scientists

STAGE is offering up to six prestigious fellowship positions to work collaboratively on the creation and development of its original theatrical works. These positions are open to those who have completed undergraduate or graduate degrees, preferably within the last two years. These are full-time paid fellowships for one year, renewable on a yearly basis subject to satisfactory performance and in compliance with University policies. While there is no guaranteee, a fellowship typically runs for two years. Find more information about the fellowship opportunities here.

Northwestern’s ETOPiA brings Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen to the STAGE Lab

Copenhagen is set during World War II, when the friendship of two Nobel Prize-winning physicists is tested by the prospect of providing Nazi Germany with the atomic bomb. A mysterious visit by Werner Heisenberg to Niels Bohr's home in Copenhagen in 1941 brings these renowned physicists and dear friends together under trying circumstances and leads to an argument whose consequences may determine the fate of nations. Uncertainty, the quantum mechanical principle discovered by Heisenberg, lies at every turn as he, Bohr, and Bohr's wife, Margrethe, attempt to reconstruct this fateful conversation and unravel their misunderstanding once and for all. This 2000 Tony Award-winning play is based on historical characters and events.

The Renaissance Society brings artist Jana Winderen to STAGE Lab

Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone  is a new live eight-channel mix of underwater sounds recorded in the marginal ice zone, or the transition between open sea and sea ice, in the Barents Sea between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters. This sold-out performance is presented by the Renaissance Society and Lampo, in partnership with STAGE at the University of Chicago. Supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway. See photos...

Intersections of Science and Art: Graphene Kirigami Featured in Nature

Work by Melina Blees and collaborators at Cornell University, including principal investigator Professor Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science and director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC), is featured in the July 29th issue of Nature. Blees, who is currently an IME Postdoctoral Scholar with STAGE, headed by IME Professor and Distinguished Fellow in the Arts, Science, and Technology, Nancy Kawalek, works on research dealing with an intriguing intersection between science and art known as "graphene kirigami." Watch the Nature video here, which details this fascinating and groundbreaking research.

A staged reading of the Tony Award-winning play, Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn, starring Nobel Laureates David Gross and Alan Heeger as Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, and Award-winning British actor Fiona Shaw as Margrethe Bohr, opens the 100th anniversary celebration of the legendary Solvay Conferences in Physics. Playwright Frayn attends and participates in a post-play discussion.