Is there room for human values in a worldview defined by modern science? How does our scientific understanding of the world compare with other ways of knowing? These are some of the core questions addressed by the Kira Institute in an ongoing program of research and education. So far, the Kira members have published several academic papers, and they started in 1998 to conduct a series of annual Summer Schools, aimed mostly at graduate students in the sciences or related areas. In addition, they are preparing a series of books, some of which will be addressed to a wider audience.
Recently, the Kira Institute has considered a different medium, through which to communicate its views, in the form of films. The Infinity Foundation is sponsoring an initial study by the Kira Institute of ways in which to incorporate Kira-related questions within a film script. The research will be carried out on behalf of the Kira Institute by Piet Hut, in collaboration with Shekhar Kapur, director of films such as `Bandit Queen’ and most recently `Elizabeth’.
Hut and Kapur met each other in January 2000 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to which both were invited as Forum Fellows, to address current issues in science and art, in the light of economic and political globalization. They soon realized that they had widely overlapping interests in astrophysics as well as the role of human experience in a scientific worldview. In addition, they realized that their complementary backgrounds might be well suited to a collaborative effort. Therefore, they decided to explore ways to develop a film script in which both elements, astrophysics and human experience, could be combined.
The Kira Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of the Infinity Foundation, providing travel funds for Piet Hut to visit Shekhar Kapur, during the year 2000, to start their collaborative investigation.