The three-year-old program is designed for students in the third- to 12th-grades and features high-definition films by the CineMuse Network to teach science. “The goal of the program is to reinforce science in the schools,” said Denise Nelson Nash, vice president of public affairs at Caltech, which developed the program. “And also so that our young people will know that science is fun and intriguing and something that they can study for the rest of their lives,” she said. Program content has ranged from global climate change to weather to space exploration and the natural wonders of the world. Each program includes a graduate student or post-doctoral discussion leader who provides insights into research and engages the students in the film topic. PASADENA – If the sun could fit in Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium, in that relative universe, the nearest neighboring star would be in New York. Venus has a temperature around 900 degrees Fahrenheit and smells like rotten eggs. Parts of Mars resemble Death Valley. Those were some of the things 729 Pasadena area public and private high school and elementary school students learned Friday at Caltech’s Reel Science program. Friday, Kristina Barkume, with Caltech’s planetary science department, led discussions about four films, one about 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler and others about Jupiter, Mars and Venus. Austin Crochetiere, 14, an eight-grader at Sierra Madre School, knew exactly how the program fit into what they were learning at school. “I think we’re going to learn about the universe,” he said, “because we’ve been learning about the universe in our current science class, and I think we’ll be able to conclude the chapter that we’re on.” Crochetiere said he’s interested in astronomy and life science. “It’s amazing the kind of universe we have,” he said. “I don’t know anything about this,” said Olivia Honowitz, 13, another Sierra Madre student. “So there’s a lot of potential, and I’m really excited.” “I know we’re going to learn about the solar system,” said Russell James Schines, 13, an eighth-grader at Grace Christian Academy, “and probably learn about other planets and solar systems, astronomical stuff. I just like all the sciences, but I don’t like life science that much.” “What we try and do is complement the curriculum of what the kids are learning in school,” Nelson Nash said. “We’re trying to align that with the curriculum standards.” There is a companion program, Science Saturdays, and about a third of the people it attracts are adults, she said. “Saturdays are for general audiences,” she said. “We try to look at topics that have a broader nature. Things like global climate change and space exploration.” Science Saturday programs can attract up to 1,000 people, Nelson Nash said. Future Reel Science programs will be “Miracle Planet – Snowball Earth,” on Friday and “Wild Secrets – Galapagos,” on May 11. Last year, more than 5,000 school-aged children and their parents attended both programs. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!