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News Picks : Film animation taps into scientific expertise

By: Physics Today
Fri Jul 25 11:25:00 UTC 2014

Los Angeles Times: Physicists, engineers, and other scientists are discovering an alternative to the more traditional career paths in aerospace and academia: the movie industry. One physicist who has made the switch is Ron Henderson, a former Caltech faculty member who specializes in fluid dynamics. Henderson now works for DreamWorks Studios, where he devises complex algorithms to simulate natural phenomena, such as water and fire, for animated films. He has even won an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his development of a fluid-simulation system called Flux. He says that besides the potential to make more money, the film business offers the challenge of finding solutions to technical problems and the opportunity to work as part of a team with people from many different backgrounds. One of Henderson’s most recent projects was to create computer-animated simulations of bubble-like spheres for tiny aliens to live in for a short, animated film titled Home.

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