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April 19 Randy Olson lecture and film screening part of SU Showcase

April 15, 2010

Will Wallak
(315) 443-5887

Author and “scientist-turned-filmmaker” Randy Olson will visit Syracuse University on Monday, April 19, to give a lecture and participate in a screening of his latest movie. The events are part of the daylong  SU Showcase program featuring SU Showcase Fellows presentations on the Quad and in Hendricks Chapel, as well as forums and other activities across the SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry campuses. 

Olson’s lecture about his book “Don’t be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style” (Island Press, 2009) will be held at 4 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. A free screening of Olson’s latest acclaimed feature film, “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy,” is at 7:30 p.m. in Marshall Hall Auditorium on the SUNY-ESF campus. The filmmaker will lead a discussion afterward. 

After earning his Ph.D. in biology at Harvard University, Olson taught marine biology at the University of New Hampshire. In 1994, he embarked on a career change by moving to Hollywood and entering film school at the University of Southern California. Since then, he has written and directed a number of short films and features that have premiered at film festivals such as Tribeca and Telluride. 

Part documentary and part mockumentary, “Sizzle” takes a serious and humorous look at the confusion around global warming. “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus” is Olson’s first acclaimed feature documentary, which presents contemporary public debates over the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in American schools. 

Drawing on Olson’s experience as a scientist, tenured professor and filmmaker, “Don’t be Such a Scientist” offers advice on how scientists can become better communicators in order to convey complicated subjects and grab the public’s attention. 

This year’s SU Showcase, restructured and focused around the theme of sustainability in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, is coordinated through the University’s Soling Program

For more information about Olson’s lecture or film screening, contact Bob Wilson, assistant professor of geography, at or 443-9433.

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