Susana Halpine Science in the Cinema Program

February Meeting

February 28, 2008
7:00 p.m.

The Susana Halpine Science in the Cinema Program
“October Sky”

Mount St. Mary’s College
Rose Hills Auditorium
Doheny Campus
10 Chester Place
Los Angeles, CA 90007

The Science in the Cinema Program returns with the movie “October Sky”. Our speaker will be Raymond S. Baker of JPL. In addition to the film and talk, we will also dedicate the program to Susana Halpine who died unexpectedly in November. Susana was the force behind the Science in the Cinema Program and will be dearly missed.

Our speaker, Raymond Baker, has been a Staff Engineer in the Propulsion Fight Systems Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2001. He has provided engineering and test support for the Mars Lander Engine development for the Mars Science Laboratory. He has also supported the development of a lunar lander mission at BlastOff! in Pasadena and systems engineering for TDRS at Hughes Space and Communications.

Mr. Baker earned his B. S. in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1998 and his M. S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2000.

Homer Hickam’s short article about his life as a young boy growing up in Coalwood, WV and aspiring to be a rocket scientist was called “The Big Creek Missile Agency” and was written for Air & Space Magazine in 1994. It received so much acclaim and interest, he was asked to write a book detailing the whole story. “Rocket Boys: A Memoir” was published by Delacorte Press in September 1998 and the movie based on it, “October Sky” premiered nationwide on his birthday February 19, 1999. The title of the paperback released at the same time was changed to the movie title, which is an ANAGRAM of Rocket Boys (take the letters of rocket boys and move them around to spell October Sky!).

Growing up in a small mining town in West Virginia, the future of many of its young teens were obvious: they would become miners. When 14 year old Homer Hickam, Jr. witnessed the Soviet sattellite, Sputnik fly over Coalwood, WV, he knew he was destined to change the inevitable. Watching Sputnik soar across the night sky helped to inspire Homer and a small group of his friends to build and launch their own homemade rockets, thus leading to a local uproar. Before long, the boys are able to end the discouraging remarks, and win over the hearts of many, including their chemistry teacher Miss Riley, who encourages them to attend college. Based on a true story, the award-winning movie October Sky starring Jake Gyllenhaal was adapted from Homer Hickam’s #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, “Rocket Boys”.

Directions: From the Santa Monica Freeway (10), exit at Hoover and travel south about 3/4 mile. Turn left on Adams Blvd. and travel 3 blocks. Turn left on St. James Place and then right on St. James Park. From the Harbor (110) Freeway, exit at Adams Blvd. Travel 1/2 mile west on Adams. Turn right onto St. James Place and right on St. James Park. The Rose Hills Auditorium is on the north end of campus. Ask at the kiosk and Security will direct you. Parking will be in the AAA Lot on the corner of St. James Place and St. James Park.