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The brilliant research career of Dr. Irving Langmuir yielded discoveries as varied as the gas-filled incandescent light bulb, submarine sonar, octet atomic theory, surface films, smoke screens, rain making, and weather control. Langmuir, the 1932 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, thrived in the atmosphere of creative freedom cultivated at General Electric's research lab in Schenectady, NY.
Langmuir's interests extended far beyond the laboratory as well, making him an adept filmmaker, pioneer downhill skier, and avid mountain climber. Original footage shot by Langmuir depicts such famous colleagues as Edison, Einstein, Curie, Bohr, Rutherford, Planck, and Heisenberg.
Novelist Kurt Vonnegut tells of Langmuir's eccentricities and also of how Vonnegut based his novel Cat's Cradle on Langmuir and his work.
Whether flying with Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis or climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Langmuir's life exemplified an insatiable intellectual thirst to explore and explain worlds as small as the hydrogen atom and as large as the weather across the United States. Physicist Max Born described Langmuir as "a wonderful human being -- a remarkable mixture of the deepest thoughtfulness and the wildest energy."
Langmuir's World has appeared in more than a dozen film festivals (including Sundance, New York, Newport, Philadelphia, Flagstaff, Houston, and Stony Brook), has won four awards, and has been broadcast on PBS affiliate WMHT.
Geoffrey Gilmore, co-director of the Sundance Film Festival wrote: "The pleasure in watching Roger Summerhayes' account of his grandfather... is the gradual revelation of just how extraordinarily interesting this man was. Langmuir is a fascinating figure and a compelling subject for this fine historical portrait."