Science documentary “The Believers” screens tomorrow

The science documentary “The Believers” screens tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium. Image courtesy of 137 Films

If you saw “Fermilab: Science at Work” when it premiered at the laboratory last month or the award-winning “The Atom Smashers,” then you’re familiar with the thought-provoking work of 137 Films. Tomorrow, March 15, at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium, the Fermilab Lecture Series will bring you another 137 Films documentary, “The Believers.”

“The Believers” begins in 1989, when two respected scientists announced a startling claim: They can solve all the world’s energy problems using seawater, batteries and a mysterious glass contraption in a process they called cold fusion. Within days, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were media stars. But only three months later, their careers in tatters and their reputations ruined, they fled the country and “cold fusion” became synonymous with “bad science.” An embarrassed press, a confused public who witnessed this highly unusual science fight and the entire mainstream science community—knowing cold fusion violates the laws of physics—all assumed the concept was dead. This film tells the story of a group of professional and amateur scientists, a high-school whiz kid, and an Internet deejay who more than 20 years later believe that Pons and Fleischmann were right after all. The ailing Fleischmann himself is also featured, filmed not long before his death in 2012.

Following tomorrow’s screening, there will be a 30-minute panel Q&A session with the film’s directors, Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross, and two physicists, Eric Prebys of Fermilab’s Accelerator Physics Center and Heidi Schellmann, professor of high-energy physics at Northwestern University.

Tickets are $7. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit the Fermilab Arts and Lecture Series website.