Published Online: June 6, 2006
Published in Print: June 7, 2006, as Film Shows Brains of Cyclists at Work

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Film Shows Brains of Cyclists at Work

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Creators of a new IMAX film on how the brains of world-class bicyclists work hope the 40-minute documentary will spark students’ interest in science and math.

“Wired to Win” follows two cyclists in the Tour de France as they navigate the 2,112-mile course from the peaks of the Alps to the streets of Paris.

A computer-generated image of a Tour de France cyclist competes in
A computer-generated image of a Tour de France cyclist competes in "Wired to Win."
—Courtesy of National Geographic

Viewers will see, through computer-generated imagery, exactly how the human brain interacts with the body’s nervous system, muscles, and other inner workings to combat pain and fatigue.

Dr. Martin A. Samuels, a professor of neurology at the Harvard Medical School and the chairman of the neurology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was one of a team of medical experts for the film.

“The problem with teaching science to people is that they’re intimidated by it,” he said in an interview.

“What this [film] does is not just get people young enough before they develop a phobia about it,” he said, “but [also shows that] science can be very exciting.”


The National Science Foundation provided a grant to help finance the film, which was produced by the nonprofit Partners HealthCare system, based in Boston, and sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc., of Titusville, N.J.

A teacher toolkit on three aspects of the brain—the senses, metacognition, and emotions—is available online at www.wiredtowinthemovie.com.

Classroom- and family-activity guides, podcast commentaries on the film by its director, editor, and producer, and photo galleries and posters for the film are also on the Web site, as is a list of the jumbo-screen theaters worldwide where the film is being shown.

That list includes the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center.

Vol. 25, Issue 39, Page 14

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