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Coming up on Connections: Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Bryan Steffy

First hour: What is considered art?

Second hour: Astrophysicist Adam Frank on the scientific requirements for aliens to reach our atmosphere

We discuss what, exactly, is considered art. At the core of this conversation is a question: Should a comic book movie be a contender for the Best Picture Oscar? The new Spider-Man film from Marvel is getting a heavy public relations campaign for the Oscars. On one side, fans and some critics say that the film's themes and performances make it worthy. On the other are critics who say that we should enjoy super hero movies for what they are: pure entertainment, not serious art. Our guests debate it:

  • Mona Seghatoleslami, host and producer on WXXI's Classical 91.5 FM
  • Jackie McGriff, owner of Jackie Photography, and co-founder of the Our Voices Project
  • Kristen Edmond, super hero TV and movie lover
  • Jesse Edmond, founder of, podcasts, and blog about all things geek culture

Then in our second hour, astrophysicist Adam Frank joins us to discuss the scientific requirements for aliens to reach our atmosphere. You might have read that UFOs are all the rage lately, and that has Frank wondering: if those blips on radar are truly aliens in our skies, what technology did they create to get here? What can we learn from that, as we think about colonizing the stars in the future? We also discuss news about exoplanets and more. Frank is the co-author of the 13.8 science series on the Big Think website. Our guest:

  • Adam Frank, Helen F. & Fred H. Gowen professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester; author of numerous books including "Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth"
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Emmarae Stein is the production assistant for "Connections with Evan Dawson."