The Contenders

3 minutes

Video gamers solve a biological puzzle that has stumped scientists for years

Video games are frequently seen as an unproductive pastime, but the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington hopes its crowdsourcing puzzle game, Foldit, might eventually help cure debilitating and terminal diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. Taking inspiration from classic 8-bit video game sights and sounds, Lucy Walker’s The Contenders reveals how nine Foldit players ended up as the first gaming group ever to co-author an academic research paper. The film argues for the value of basic human intelligence and for crowdsourcing as agents of positive change in the modern world.

Director: Lucy Walker

Producer: Joseph Peeler

Video/History of Technology

Breakthroughs, quackery and strange beauty: the afterlife of outmoded medical devices

5 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Ethics

If soldiers act with unjust aggression they are as culpable as civilian criminals

6 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Neuroscience

A happy life is built on pleasures such as sex and food, but also company and variety

7 minutes

Idea/History of Science

Science funding is a gamble so let’s give out money by lottery

Shahar Avin

Essay/Physics

Minding matter

The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground

Adam Frank

Video/Evolution

What the spitting archerfish might tell us about small-brain intelligence

4 minutes

Video/Mathematics

A brilliant ‘geometric ballet’ of sound, shape and symmetry on the theme of 180°

5 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Cosmology

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

Michael Strauss

Essay/Mathematics

How to play mathematics

The world is full of mundane, meek, unconscious things embodying fiendishly complex mathematics. What can we learn from them?

Margaret Wertheim