Science vs. Fiction: Darren Aronofsky

Join us in celebrating filmmaker Darren Aronofsky in our new signature series, Science vs Fiction. Hosted by our Director of Sciences, astrophysicist Janna Levin, Science vs Fiction is inspired by the idea that scientific discovery and fictional world-building can be complementary. Each is driven by a love of complexity, a curiosity about the workings of the universe, and the capacity to imagine alternative realities or entirely new worlds. Step into the wilds where science and fiction, observation and fantasy, and nature and technology intertwine to spark new ideas in science and beyond.

Before and after the conversation, join us for stargazing with the Amateur Astronomers Association of NY and food by Eat Off Beat will be available all night long.

About the Participants

Darren Aronofsky is an Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker born and raised in Brooklyn. Aronofsky heads Protozoa Pictures based in Chinatown NYC. His upcoming film “The Whale” for A24 stars Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. Aronofsky wrote and directed 2017’s “mother!” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. Before that, Aronofsky made the 2014 box office hit “Noah” starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins. In 2010, Aronofsky received a Best Director Academy Award® nomination for his indie box office phenomenon “Black Swan” starring Natalie Portman, who won a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance. 2008’s "The Wrestler" starring Mickey Rourke won the Golden Lion for the best film at the Venice Film Festival. Previous to that were the acclaimed and award-winning films “The Fountain” (2006), “Requiem for a Dream” (2000), and “π” (1998).

As a producer under his Protozoa label, Aronofsky has been responsible for “Jackie” which garnered three Academy Awards, the documentary “Some Kind of Heaven'' which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, artist Prune Nourry’s docu-memoir “Serendipity” which made its world premiere at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, “Pacified” which won the Golden Shell top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival, “Catch the Fair One'' which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Audience Award, the documentary feature “The Territory” which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won both the Audience Award and Special Jury Award for Craft in the World Cinema Documentary category, and “The Good Nurse” starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne.

Aronofsky has executive produced the six-part docu-series “Welcome to Earth,” the Emmy-nominated series “One Strange Rock,” and “Limitless” starring Chris Hemsworth for National Geographic. His first book “Monster Club” written for middle school readers was released September 13.

Janna Levin is the Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works and the editor-in-chief of Pioneer Works Broadcast. She is also a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a PEN-award winning novelist. She is the presenter of the NOVA feature Black Hole Apocalypse, aired on PBS—the first female presenter for NOVA in 35 years. She is the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, and Black Hole Blues. Her latest book is Black Hole Survival Guide.

This project is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, bridging the two cultures of science and the arts.