Mechanical Engineering Professor Debuts "Energy at the Movies" on PBS

From the gushing geysers of “Giant,” to the plutonium-powered time machine of “Back to the Future,” Hollywood has entertained us with unforgettable, often iconic images of energy. “Energy at the Movies” is an hour-long educational special that illustrates the history of energy using Hollywood films as a road map. The show promises to enlighten audiences about the ways films influence how we think about energy, and in turn, how we influence energy policy.

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Taping of "Energy at the Movies" at Studio 6A at KLRU TV, Austin PBS. Photo by Sam Butler.

“I want to change the way you think about movies,” said Michael E. Webber, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the show’s creator and host. “Movies are historical documents. So by watching movies we can actually learn the history of energy.”

The program uses pop culture to draw audiences into the complex subject of energy, helping spark deeper interest and promote greater science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy.

Beginning March 29, “Energy at the Movies” will be available for national syndication on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations via the National Educational Telecommunication Association (NETA). Viewers are invited to check local listings for broadcast dates and times in their specific area. PBS currently reaches more than 220 million people.

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“Energy at the Movies” is presented by Dr. Webber and brought to you by the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, with additional support from the American Clean Skies Foundation and AMD. It was taped before a live audience in the historic Austin City Limits Studio 6A at KLRU TV, Austin PBS.

Watch an extended trailer of “Energy at the Movies” on the Cockrell School’s YouTube channel. For more information about the program, contact producer Juan Garcia at 512-900-1973. Visit Webber Energy Group for more information on Dr. Webber’s research.