Why Automation and STEM can make you famous

By Nancy Bartels, managing editor, Control

Jul 13, 2015

So the kids are still unimpressed by all your lectures about how STEM careers are cool and pay well. Try this tactic on them. Study your sciences and you too can become the subject of a movie. You can become the next Dr. MegaVolt.

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That's what happened to Austin Richards, who has a doctorate in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is the subject of an independent film documentary by Victoria Charters called "Dr. MegaVolt: From Geek to Superhero" that will premier at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival on July 11 in San Diego.

The 70-minute film chronicles Richards' journey from a precocious and curious young boy who loved to play with electricity, to a graduate student at U.C. Berkeley where he built a giant Tesla coil. The movie highlights Dr MegaVolt's escapades as a legendary and popular performing artist at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, as the guest star on many science-minded TV specials, and when he added a female performer, Victoria Charters, to his performance, delighting the audience with "his and her" high-voltage adventures.

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According to writer/director/producer Victoria Charters, "This is a story about the spirit of science and the intersection of art and science in Industrial Art. Themes explored include love of extreme experiences, a driving passion to understand the physical world through science, creativity and collaboration, invention and, ultimately, the responsibility of 'passing the baton' in a world where tactile learning is out and digital is in."