What did you think of the science in Interstellar? The film was based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne and Neil deGrasse Tyson thought the science was credible.
Originally shared by Science on Google+
Science of Interstellar
Theoretical physicist Professor Kip Thorne served as a scientific advisor to director Christopher Nolan on his film, Interstellar. Professor Thorne was a academic at California Institute of Technology from 1967 to 2009 and remains an Emeritus Professor. Professor Thorne has released a book explaining the science behind the script, including discussion of wormholes, black holes and interstellar travel (http://goo.gl/KF5kQW).
Professor Thorne tells Nature News & Comment that the initial idea for the film came from him and his producer and colleague Lynda Obst, which initially interested Steven Spielberg, but that the Nolan brothers eventually took over the script and changed most of it except the “warped space-time and splendidly fulfilled our vision of a science-fiction movie with real science woven deeply in its fabric.” Thorne’s equations were used to “compute what a camera would see through the wormhole”: He explains:
“Black holes do not emit light, so you visualize them through gravitational lensing — how they bend light from other objects. I took equations based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity and created a description of a wormhole with three parameters: diameter, interior length and the degree of flare where the wormhole joins the external Universe.” (http://goo.gl/YBAorD)
You can watch Prof. Thorne speaking about his scientific input in the video below or head to the film’s website to see more of the science as it appears in the film, including Prof Thorne’s equations! (http://goo.gl/GoegmQ) .
Thumbs Up for Science
Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has been critical of the science in other films like Gravity, has given Interstellar the nod of approval in terms of its depiction of science. On Twitter, deGrasse Tyson says the science is solid, and except for critiquing a scene involving violence between two scientists, he also notes that the film is notable in having depicted gender diversity amongst its central STEM characters. Below are his tweets:
In #Interstellar: The producers knew exactly how, why, & when you’d achieve zero-G in space. http://goo.gl/ogDgTF
In #Interstellar: You observe great Tidal Waves from great Tidal Forces, of magnitude that orbiting a Black Hole might create. http://goo.gl/dY2OOU
In #Interstellar: You enter a 3-Dimensional portal in space. Yes, you can fall in from any direction. Yes, it’s a Worm Hole. http://goo.gl/fgdpYQ
In #Interstellar: They reprise the matched-rotation docking maneuver from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but they spin 100x faster. http://goo.gl/Ydsk79
In #Interstellar: Of the leading characters (all of whom are scientists or engineers) half are women. Just an FYI. http://goo.gl/2N4dtk
In #Interstellar: On another planet, around another star, in another part of the galaxy, two guys get into a fist fight. http://goo.gl/uG3w67
In #Interstellar, if you didn’t understand the physics, try Kip Thorne’s highly readable Bbook “The Science of Interstellar” http://goo.gl/eCWF5C
In #Interstellar: They explore a planet near a Black Hole. Personally, I’d stay as far the hell away from BlackHoles as I can http://goo.gl/yGzY75
Hollywood Meets Science
Thorne is not the first high-profile scientist to consult on a big budget film, of course. Professor Brian Cox for example was the Science Advisor on Danny Boyle’s Sunshine. While the basis of the science for the film was correct, Cox has explained that the producers asked him to tweak the science. Watch him talk about how he “scientifies the film,” in director Danny Boyle’s words (http://goo.gl/JkhnJy).
Astrophysicist and Science on Google+ moderator, Professor Brian Koberlein, recently wrote that while films are now aiming for stronger scientific “reality,” he has mixed emotions about the impact of cinematic attempts to capture astrophysics. He argues that films can either help the public make an emotional connection to science, or feed misinformation:
“If a manned mission to Mars can be made with the hum of a computer rendering farm, what’s the big deal about landing on a comet. Our real triumphs pale in comparison to cinematic dreams. Then again, these dreams might actually inspire us to continue exploring. From cinematic dreams we may find the ambition to make them real.” (http://goo.gl/x3Jkf0)
Over to You, Science Lovers!
If you’ve seen the film, what did you think of the science? Please keep comments focused on science rather than other aspects of the plot please. Are there other films you love that are scientifically accurate?
#SoG+CuratorsChoice #science #stem #physics #astrophysics #space