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Film Festival - The Andromeda Strain

Thursday - March 2, 2005
MAC Playhouse - 3:30 pm - 6:15 pm

The Andromeda Strain

Hosted by: Dr. Robert Singer, Professor of English
College Now English Course Coordinator

Dr. Mary Ortiz, College Now Science Course Coordinator


About the Movie: The Andromeda Strain
Director, Robert Wise - Rating G
After an Army satellite lands in New Mexico, it becomes clear that it has brought back something from space: a deadly virus! A team of scientists is assembled in a high-tech, underground facility to identify and defeat the "enemy" before it is too late.

About the Presenter: Dr. Mary Theresa Ortiz
Dr. Mary Ortiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kingsborough Community College. Interested in space since childhood, she has worked for NASA in the Space Life Sciences Training Program at The Kennedy Space Center in Florida and as Faculty Research Fellow at The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Sample ACT Essay

Extra Credit Assignments
The Andromeda Strain (1971) was produced in a time when the notion of bio-terrorism was just a frightening idea that people thought of as science fiction. People believed that a virus, like a bomb, could be "controlled" and "contained" by progressive science, technology, and/or the government/military. Recent events in our history have demonstrated that many forms of terrorism are possible and that destructive biological creations, whether made in a laboratory, found in the environment or even in outer space--such as the viral strain portrayed in the film--are not necessarily fictional. Since 1971, many things have changed in society, and many new areas of research and development in college science classes have been created. These classes in biological and chemical research prepare the way for future scientists to create new science and technology, but they could also create new weapons and possibly lead to developing new, perhaps dangerous life forms. Many people are concerned about issues of responsibility and matters of ethics that involve these changes in scientific education. After all, a scientist could create a cure for a dreadful disease but also create that disease as well!

You have been asked to write a letter to your local congressperson in which you will express your views concerning the issue of funding college classes that freely teach and prepare students for research in "advanced bio-technology." The problem involves funding these classes, since they are very expensive for local colleges to maintain and require extensive research and advanced computer facilities. The principle funding sources for these classes and the use of laboratory equipment and advanced technologies would be from major corporations that develop and sponsor military weaponry and technology. Should industry be involved in what students learn and how they are funded? Who will "own" any discoveries or research that students' develop? Should this research be used as a form of weaponry? Who controls this situation? Should this be solely the college's decision, the public's decision, or something else?

Fully discuss your view; you may refer to past or recent historical events as presented in any form of media coverage, other opinions, or even the film, The Andromeda Strain.

Mini-Research Project

(NOTE: This is NOT a research paper - it is a research-oriented, library experience in which students gather and categorize information. They can prepare outlines, note-cards, bibliography, cite references, or practice any combination of these skills associated with preparing a research paper. The use of the Internet is also encouraged.)

Prepare an investigative project that focuses on any one of the following topics associated with or suggested by the film, The Andromeda Strain.

a) virus and bacteria: essential facts
b) genetic engineering: "....in ten years"
c) women scientists: 1970 - 2005
d) experimenting with animals: pro and con
e) epilepsy: facts and fictions

Standard College Essay

Many issues arise from the analysis and discussion of the film, The Andromeda Strain. Some of these issues involve the role of science and technology and its potential abuse by the government, weaponry and terrorism, sexism in the sciences, the danger of the unknown (the virus), and other important topics for discussion. In fact, the film even concludes with the questions, "what do we do"?

In a full-length essay (approximately 400-500 words), later to be revised for content and correctness, discuss any of the issues raised in the film The Andromeda Strain that you consider to be of special interest either for yourself or for society. Explain why and how these issues are significant not only in the film but also in relationship to your own life, society, or even both. You may refer to this film or any other, past or recent historical events as presented in any form of media coverage, and other people's opinions.

Event Photos The Andromeda Strain - March 2, 2005

The Andromeda Strain
The Andromeda Strain
The Andromeda Strain

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