Inside Rensselaer
* Stealth Education in 3-D: 3-D IMAX Version  of “Molecules to the MAX” Premieres
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Stealth Education in 3-D: 3-D IMAX Version of Molecules to the MAX Premieres
The Molecularium Project is going to be in your face like never before. A new 3-D IMAX version of the project’s latest movie, Molecules to the MAX, made its premiere Sept. 22 in Indianapolis at the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s 2009 International Conference and Trade Show. With sharp visuals, rich audio, and a new 3-D version, the “stealth education” movie is now optimized to be shown in either 2-D or 3-D on IMAX flat screens, IMAX domes, and other giant screen theaters.

“The original 2-D version of Molecules to the MAX was excellent, but this incredible new 3-D version brings the film to life in exciting new ways,” said Richard W. Siegel, director of the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center and the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, who helped produced the new movie. “In many of the scenes, it really feels like you’ve been shrunk down to being a few nanometers tall and that you’re dwarfed by the vast molecular landscape of atoms and molecules.”

The animated 40-minute movie follows the adventures of Oxy, Hydro, Hydra, and Carbón as they navigate the nanoscale landscapes of everyday items, including snowflakes, coins, and plastic toys. Produced by Rensselaer, funded by Trustee Curtis Priem ’82, and supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the state of New York, Molecules to the MAX aims to boost national and global science literacy through the use of story, song, excitement, and fun. The new 3-D version of the movie will be released this fall. Plans are under way for national and New York Capital Region premieres.

The background animations of Molecules to the MAX are based on scientifically accurate molecular modeling simulations provided by Shekhar Garde, professor and head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Some of these simulations are among the most complex ever attempted, and it took massive computational power to both perform the experiments and translate the results into a format usable by the film’s animators.

Siegel, Garde, and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Linda Schadler are executive producers of Molecules to the MAX. Toronto-based SK Films is distributing the film. The production studio behind the movie is Nanotoon Entertainment, which employed many Rensselaer students and graduates.

Schadler developed the original idea for Molecularium in 2001, with the goal of boosting global science literacy and energizing more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering. By carefully engineering the characters, plot, look, and feel of a fun family movie, the Molecularium team sought to create an experience where viewers would get swept up in the storyline and learn or re-learn plenty of important science — without even trying.

For more information, visit: www.moleculestothemax.com and www.molecularium.com.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 10, October 9, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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