Science on Screen at the Coolidge Corner Theatre

posted by Michael Zoldessy on February 27, 2009 at 7:45 am

BROOKLINE, MA — The Coolidge Corner Theatre will present “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” Stanley Kramer’s 1967 film about interracial marriage, on Monday, March 2 at 7:00 pm as part of its popular Science on Screen series. Before the film, noted social psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, a pioneer in the study of unconscious bias, will give a talk on the science of prejudice.

Made at a time when mixed-race marriage was still illegal in 16 states in America, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” aimed to debunk racial stereotypes. When young Joanna Drayton brings her new fiance home to San Francisco to meet her liberal parents, their progressive leanings are put to the test when they discover the man their daughter has chosen to settle down with is black. Sidney Poitier stars as the successful and respected Dr. John Wade Prentice, who challenges the preconceived notions of Mr. and Mrs. Drayton (Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn) during dinner one evening. The film earned Oscars for Hepburn and screenwriter William Rose.

Mahzarin Banaji is Richard Clarke Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She has spent over 20 years studying the implicit and explicit prejudices of both adults and children. Her findings have uncovered that all of us (including educated liberals like the Draytons) carry unconscious attitudes about race, age and gender that sometimes run contrary to our admitted beliefs. Her groundbreaking research includes the use of methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a non-invasive medical imaging technique to measure neural activity, and the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a quiz that utilizes word and image associations to measure bias. Through Project Implicit, a Harvard website developed to allow people to participate in the IATs, over seven million of the tests have been completed (

With Science on Screen, the Coolidge presents a feature film or documentary with a basis in science, paired with exciting introductions by notable scientific figures. This monthly series is co-presented by The Museum of Science and New Scientist magazine.

Science on Screen programs are $7.75 for students, seniors, and Museum of Science members and $9.75 regular admission. Members of the Coolidge Corner Theatre get free admission to these shows. Tickets are available in advance at the box office, located at 290 Harvard Street in Brookline, or on-line at

For more details, visit or call 617/734-2500.

Upcoming Science on Screen programs:
April 13 – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD with psychiatrist Steven C. Schlozman
May 11 – THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR: A TRUE STORY ABOUT THE FUTURE with inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil

Previous Science on Screen programs include:

GROUNDHOG DAY with physicist and science historian Peter Galison
THEREMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY with composer and music technology pioneer Tod Machover
CONTACT with astrophysicist Paul Horowitz
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK with archeologist Curtis Runnels
VERTIGO with psychiatrist Catherine Kimble
SUPERMAN with cosmologist Max Tegmark
SLEEPER with Brock Reeve, executive director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
KAIRO with author and physicist Alan Lightman
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE with evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND with memory expert Daniel Schacter
STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KAHN with former NASA astronaut Jeffery Hoffman
DONNIE DARKO with Bruce M. Cohen, president emeritus, McLean Hospital
SO MUCH, SO FAST with Jamie Heywood, founder, ALS Therapy Development Institute
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN with epidemiologist Alfred DeMaria
WINGED MIGRATION with ornithologist David Allen Sibley
FORBIDDEN PLANET with artificial intelligence pioneer Rodney Brooks
RICHARD FEYNMAN: NO ORDINARY GENIUS with physicist, mathematician and business leader Stephen Wolfram
JAWS with marine biologist Greg Skomal
ALPHAVILLE with Sheila Jasanoff, professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY with cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME with cosmologist Alan Guth
DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3-D with experimental psychologist Steven Pinker

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