York U engineer creates computer models for Hollywood film ‘Clara’

John Moores

John Moores, associate professor in Earth Science & Space Engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering, is internationally known for his research in planetary science, but now he’s got a new role to add to his resume: scientific consultant for a feature film. Moores provided visuals for the film Clara, as well as computer code and graphs for the film’s art department. At the producer’s request, he and McMaster University Professor Doug Welch ensured the script met scientific standards.

Moores ran novel computer simulations about what some of the key plot points would look like in real life. He published a paper about an important part of the simulations in the journal American Astronomical Society earlier this year. Clara is a drama featuring former Suits star Patrick J. Adams and actress Troian Bellisario. The film will be released in theatres on Nov. 30.

The film’s synopsis involves Isaac Bruno (played by Adams), an astronomer obsessed with searching the cosmos for signs of life beyond Earth, despite the collapse of his personal life right in front of him. His relentless research of the night sky leads him into the path of an unqualified but confident amateur astronomer named Clara (played by Bellisario). Working together, their efforts ultimately lead them to a shocking and profound scientific discovery.

Below, a GIF showing a computer simulation.