I always enjoy the National Film Board’s curated Rendez-vous de la Francophonie film programs. It’s the NFB’s 19th year participating in the RVF, and five film programs are on offer — all about discoveries of one sort or another.
Program one is called La tête dans les étoiles (Head in the Stars). It’s a fascinating look at the work of Laurie Rousseau-Nepton, a Quebec-born Innu astrophysicist leading a massive research project studying the formation of stars at the prestigious Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, which is at the summit of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.
This five-part series starts with Laurie and her dad talking while sitting in front of a campfire at the Ashuapmushuan Wildlife Reserve in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. The scene shifts to Mauna Kea, with Laurie telling us more about her project and its goal. Laurie’s fascination with the stars started while hunting with her father at their traditional hunting grounds at Ashuapmushuan, focusing on observing nature’s fine details and making connections. Understanding how the various natural systems are interconnected has made her a better hunter, but it has also made her a better astronomer.
Subsequent episodes demystify some of the mysteries of star formation, the connections between astronomy and Innu oral tradition, her work with Hawaiian Indigenous communities, and the place of women and people from diverse backgrounds in science.
Image: Office national du film
Catherine Fisher, blogger