The Prestige

Monday, December 10
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2hr 10mins // directed by:Christopher Nolan // featuring:Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johannson

Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) takes a page out of the master illusionist’s book of tricks with this twisting tale of two rival magicians locked in an all-consuming battle for supremacy in turn-of-the-20th-century London. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the illusion deepens.

Charismatic showman Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and rough-edged purist Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) start out as friendly competitors, honing their skills as audience plants in the show of a successful elderly magician. Years later, driven apart by a stage stunt that ended in tragedy, the two men are fierce enemies, immersed in a bitter contest of revenge and one-upmanship that seemingly knows no bounds. When Borden ups the ante with his most astonishing trick yet – a seemingly impossible feat of teleportation – Angier vows to uncover his rival’s secret. His obsession takes him to Colorado, where the answer to “The Transported Man” may or may not lie with famed inventor Nikola Tesla (rocker David Bowie) and his groundbreaking experiments with electricity.

At a time when mastery of science and technology could seem as fantastical as magic, the real-life Nikola Tesla, like his movie counterpart, was hailed as a wizard. Today he’s known as the genius who lit the world and the greatest geek who ever lived. Tesla developed our modern alternating current electrical system, the AC induction motor (considered one of the ten greatest inventions of all time), and the famous Tesla coil. Among his other contributions: fluorescent lighting, the original basic design of radio, X-ray transmitting tubes, early forms of wireless technology, and the first hydroelectric power plant. His greatest dream was the transmission of wireless power to anywhere in the world.

Join us before the film as physicist Peter Fisher explores Tesla’s singular legacy and the future of wireless power.

About the speaker

Peter Fisher is a professor in the Physics Department and head of the Particle and Nuclear Experimental Physics Division at MIT. He also holds appointments in the university's Laboratory for Nuclear Science and the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. His primary physics interests are dark matter and high-energy interactions, as well as the development of new particle detectors and new power systems for space flight. Professor Fisher is co-founder of WiTricity, a company founded in 2007 to commercialize an exciting new technology for wireless electricity. He was a member of the MIT research team that developed both the theoretical basis and experimental validation of WiTricity’s novel method for wireless power transfer.