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MACH 33: Heart of the Stars

A screenplay-in-progress about Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics.

  • May 14, 2016, 4pm
  • Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1216 E. California Blvd, Pasadena, Ca.

In the early 1930s, a young scientist travels from Madras to Cambridge to test the limits of physics, humans, and the stars. What he discovers will not be accepted for nearly forty years.

A screenplay-in-progress with Bryan Penprase, Brian Brophy and Caltech science advisors Manan Arya, Utkarsh Mital, and Grant Remmen. 

Actors: Zachary Abbott, Steve Sobelman, Utkarsh Mital, Friar McCollister, Manan Arya, Utkarsh Mital, Janinda Gunawardene, Jake Mattinson

Post show panelists: Rana Adhikari, professor of physics at Caltech and a LIGO scientist; Brian Brophy; Utkarsh Mital; Manan Arya.

Rana Adhikari is professor of physics at Caltech and a LIGO scientist. On March 9, 2016 he gave a public lecture about LIGO titled "Listening to the Thunder of Gravity in the Cosmos."


Chronology of the project:

March 2015:   Bryan Penprase pitches Brian Brophy the story of Chandra, along with a detailed "beat sheet" of his life at OPJindal University (OPJ), Haryana, India.

Fall 2015: Manan Arya, Utkarsh Mital, and Brian Brophy begin to develop a screenplay

March 2016: Brian returns to OPJ and met Shiv Visvanathan, the nephew of Chandra and his sister Prem

March 2016: Brian meets Usha Damerla, writer, artist, and filmmaker at OPJ and they agreed to be writing partners on the project

March 2016: Usha and Brian meet Chandra's eldest sister Rajam, her daughter Vasanti, and her husband Ram. Great personal insider stories about Chandra.

March 2016: Usha and Brian pitch the movie project to the CEO of 2D Production, the production company of the famous Tamil superstar actor Suriya. 2D Productions requested a final draft, due in August.   

early May 2016: Usha Damerla visit the pre-eminent historian-physicist and biographer of Chandra in Syracuse for several days

May 9 - 14, 2016: Usha Damerla is writer in residence with Theater Arts Caltech

May 15 - 16, 2016: Yerkes Observatory in southern Wisconsin give Brian and Usha a tour and special viewing of Chandra's office and observatory

May 16 – 18. 2016: Kathleen Feeney Head of Archives Processing and Digital Access Special Collections Research Center at University of Chicago Library has granted access to the Chandrasekhar Papers here in Special Collections