Image credit: Facebook page
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Toronto, Oct 5 (Canadian-Media): The film, Amazon Adventure, played at Ontario Science Centre recounts the tale of a naturalist, explorer and scientist Henry Walter Bates' 11‐year of expedition in Amazon Rainforest and his proof to Charles Darwin's then controversial theory of natural selection, the scientific explanation for the development of life on Earth.
“This compelling real life story chronicles the search for experimental proof for Darwin’s theory of natural selection in the remote Amazon basin,” Maurice Bitran, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre was quoted by media, “providing an inspiring demonstration of the scientific method at work as well as highlighting the curiosity and perseverance required for scientific breakthrough.”
Dr. Maurice Bitran joined the Ontario Science Centre as Chief Executive Officer on June 16, 2014. His academic background in physics and astronomy, including a Ph.D. in radioastronomy, and the fact that he had taught science at the grade-school, high-school and university levels best fits his role in the Ontario Science Centre. During his tenure as the 2012 -13 Ontario Visiting Fellow at the University of Toronto, he taught a graduate course on the role of science in public policy.He had been the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Integrated Environmental Policy Division, Ministry of the Environment, where his responsibilities for the environmental policy agenda also included climate change, the great lakes, and air and water quality. As an ADM of Policy and Programs at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, ADM of the Secretariat to the Premier’s Jobs and Prosperity Council, Maurice also had been Ontario's chief negotiator for the trade negotiations with the European Union.
Maurice Bitran: Courtesy of Science Centre
Ontario Science Centre, a Centennial project and an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, reportedly welcomed more than 51 million visitors since it opened in 1969, and has become an international leader in free‐choice science learning by implementing and adopting an interactive approach around the world.
Ontario Science Centre is an iconic cultural attraction and is home to interactive experiences with science and technology. We not only develop and source the world’s best exhibitions but aim to make a fundamental difference in the lives of our visitors by providing them the skills and attributes to create a better future for the planet.
Amazon Rainforest, reportedly, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, well-known for its biodiversity, covers much of northwestern Brazil extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries and is crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the powerful Amazon.
The filmmakers' picturization of Amazon Adventure increases the public’s understanding of the concept of natural selection, the heart of evolutionary, molecular and genetic biology.
This factor also leads to an overall understanding of how the natural world works in the most entertaining and powerful way, so as to become an important part of lifelong learning for students and general audiences.
Amazon Rainforest: Image credit: Unsplash
“On these expanded membranes Nature writes, as on a tablet, the story of the modification of species.” Bates was quoted.
IMAX, according to official reports, is a 70 mm motion picture film format and a set of cinema projection standards developed in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw.
Jonathan Barker, Executive Producer, CEO of SK Films was quoted by the media to say, “The Giant Screen is the ideal format to take audiences to places that they might not normally go; and to see amazing creatures they might not normally see. From a humble background, with an unstoppable passion for science and life, Bates played guitar, had a pet monkey, relied on Amazonian natives to survive and learned many of their languages, and made crucial contributions to our understanding of the natural world. He should be more widely known and we’re thrilled to introduce his remarkable story to the public.”
SK Films is a Toronto‐based, multi‐platform entertainment content provider, founded in 1998 by Barker and late Robert Kerr, the co‐founder of IMAX Corporation, and a world leader in 3D film production and distribution.
Henry Bates: Wikipedia
Born into a family of literate, middle-class stocking makers in Leicester, England, Bates early in his life, develops a passion for the natural world, particularly insects and butterflies.
As a young man, he with his fellow naturalist Alfred Wallace (Ed Birch actor plays Alfred Wallace) get funding from a wealthy London patron for their journey to the Amazon in exchange for regular shipments of specimens. Bates and Wallace decide to split, while on their journey, to cover more territory and Wallace moves on to East Asia, but Bates remains in the Amazon and continues to do his research and study variations of species in the Amazon to answer the question: Do species change?
Reportedly for over 20 years, from the time when he voyaged to remote parts of the world, Charles Darwin (Robert Daws actor plays Charles Darwin) was working on his theory of natural selection, which he finally published in 1859, called On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
It was published while Bates was returning home to England after 11 years of researching and collecting in the Amazon.
While in the Amazon, Bates collected and catalogued specimens from over 14,000 species — 8,000 of them new to science -–including over 100 species of butterflies.
Batesian mimicry reportedly is still being taught in science classrooms around the world.
The extensive team of reportedly more than 100 scientists from various specialties, who have been advisors on the film Amazon Adventure, including many field biologists, have commented on a realistic portrayal of the detailed process of scientific discovery and its time‐consuming nature.
The basic methods Bates used over 150 years ago are still used today, except with more modern technology, DNA and other techniques. However, the process framework is as relevant today as it was then.
Henry Bates used the scientific research approach putting an idea into a theory, testing the idea through observation, specimen collecting, trial and error, testing, analysis and so on.
In order for the audiences to relate to Bates as both a scientist and a regular person, the filmmakers -- including Executive Producers Jonathan Barker & Sean B. Carroll and Director Mike Slee and SK Films' Co-writer, Wendy MacKeigan -- make him more relevant and his science more readily understood by audiences of all ages.
They also make the clues in Bates’ story -- told like a great scientific detective mystery -- unfold in real time in the mesmerizing world phenomenon of animal mimicry, now known as “Batesian mimicry,” whereby a non‐poisonous species slowly and unknowingly changes into a mimic of a poisonous one, to have a better chance of survival.
The common occurrence of competition seen between Bates and Wallace to be the first in their field to present relevant evidence, the isolation and loneliness of Bates as he talks with the creatures for company are often prevalent among scientists today who spend extended periods of time alone or with just one other colleague.
The film also highlights reportedly the importance of patience and perseverance all still relatable to today’s scientists.
Students today also reportedly consider Bates' story as relevant and inspirational contribution to science and their understanding of the world around them.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)