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From 6-10 November, Nijmegen will host the fifth edition of the science film festival InScience. One of the festival’s attractions is the Dutch premiere of Chasing Einstein, a film about dark matter and gravity starring UvA scientists Margot Brouwer and Erik Verlinde.

Chasing Einstein
Still from the film. Image: Chasing Einstein.

InScience, the International Science Film Festival Nijmegen, is one of the biggest science film festivals in Europe. The program most importantly consists of an overview of the best science films of the year. InScience offers a broad program, with talks, film debates, Q&A’s, meetings, and expositions on the cutting edge of science and art. During InScience, Nijmegen is changed into a meeting place for filmmakers, scientists and the audience for exchanging new insights.

The programme includes the Dutch premiere of Chasing Einstein, a film about dark matter that asks the question whether this matter really exists, and if not, whether we truly understand Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. In the words of the makers of the film:

Exactly one century ago, Einstein published his theory of relativity. Since then, nobody has managed to topple or even shake this theory. In fact, gravitational waves were measured for the first time in 2015, further confirming Einstein’s theory. Nevertheless, the consequence of this theory is that the universe is made of a mysterious form of invisible matter that nobody has observed! Physicists working on a new theory of gravity do not believe that the theory of relativity holds the answer. The response of Einstein followers is that we don’t need a new theory but more advanced equipment to detect the missing particle. Chasing Einstein follows leading scientists to the edge of the universe, who embody Einstein’s famous motto: “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Dutch researchers Margot Brouwer (UvA-IoP and Groningen University) and Erik Verlinde (UvA-IoP) play an important part in the film. Verlinde is well known for his ideas about the nonexistence of dark matter and the role that gravity plays in this; Brouwer was part of the team that carried out the first experimental test of those ideas.

The trailer of the film can be watched below:

Chasing Einstein has been showing in the US for several weeks now, but the Dutch premiere takes place on Thurday 7 November at 7pm. Alongside the premiere, Margot Brouwer and particle physicist James Beacham will debate the existence or nonexistence of dark matter. The discussion will be led by Klaas Landsman. Tickets for the premiere (€ 9,50) are available through the InScience Festival web site.