Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Filmmaker needs your help

  1. Feb 10, 2008 #1

    I'm an independent british filmmaker living and working in the UK. I post here as filmmaker, not scientist, so please excuse my ignorance in your field. I am hoping some kind person might be interested in helping me...

    I am currently in the process of developing a short film and am in need of some technical help. Perhaps foolishly on my half (knowing very little about physics) I have written a character who is studying quantum physics. Her boyfriend has also studied in this field but has since ceased his studies and now has to look on as his girlfriend's knowledge and understanding surpasses his.

    I need a very simple scene to illustrate this. My idea being that through a simple exchange I can illustrate this difference in their understanding. Essentially what I want to show is my male character 'not getting' something.

    This very coarse illustration might help you to understand what I'm trying to achieve. Apologies is advance…

    Our female character (lets call her 'Eve') and male character (lets call him 'Adam') are sat in their living room. Eve is reading one of the many books she has scattered around her. Adam decides he will pick one up, and starts reading. Getting to a point that he doesn't understand, he ask's Eve to explain...

    Adam:- I'm just reading about "X THEORY" and it states that "D is equal to N if we assume J is a self recurring phenonemum" but I thought "D could never equal N so long as J and n4 were less than 2"

    Eve:- No, why did you think that.? If "n4 and J equal 2 or more you multiply D by N squared" which gives you the solution stated in that top paragraph there, see?

    Adam:- And J is an exponential?

    Eve:- No of course not. J is greater than or equal to x.

    Adam:- That makes no sense to me.

    Eve:- Adam, do you mind, I have to get on with this.

    Adam:- Sorry. I'll make dinner.

    And so Adam trundles off to the open plan kitchen. Although he obviously can't let this go and he's mulling it over in his head. And then, something hits him...

    Adam:- (Shouting to Eve now) But if x is a negative then surely J can never equal n?

    Eve:- Adam, will you stop it. If x IS a negative then J can equal n if you assume that 7 over q is -1 as stated in Hitchum's Theroem.

    Well, I just re-read that and it all sounds like maths to me. But anyway. I hope you can sort of understand what I mean?

    Ideally what I am after is something which is fairly verbose. I did consider trying to fit something around Hugh Everett's 'many worlds interpretation' but I got too bogged down and realised I really ought to have paid a little more attention in class.

    If you've ever seen ER you might understand that sort of thing I am trying to do - the words become so difficult to understand the audience ends up concentrating on the underlying issues of the scene. I.E. which doctor thinks which other doctor is incompetent etc.

    So, this isn't supposed to make sense to average Joe. We just have to get a sense that he's not getting it, and she is. I initially looked into the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ because the idea of two things being in the same place at the same time (which is my basic understating of his theory) fits in nicely with some of the themes of the film.

    Okay, well. There isn't much I can offer in return. I'm hoping the promise of a 'technical advisor' or 'scientific supervisor' and 'additional dialogue' credit might tempt someone. Plus a copy of the film when it's done?

    This is something I'd really like to collaborate a little with someone on, if they are interested. Please get back to me if you are - I will be eternally grateful.

    Best, Andrew
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    That sounds like a very fun thing to work on!!
    I sent you a private e-mail to your physicsforums mailbox giving you more information about my background and why this sounds so interesting to me.


    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  4. Feb 11, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why not come up with a *genuine* difficulty in quantum theory, which was first understood by Schroedinger and his famous cat, and which has given rise to the many worlds interpretation ?

    A: I just read about Schroedinger's cat, and there it is stated that one cannot get rid of the superposition of cat states. But I thought that upon measurement, one one of those was kept ?

    E: Yes, the problem is how only one can be kept !

    A: well, through some complicated interaction, I suppose ?

    E: You forget about unitarity! Unitarity forbids you to drop the other terms !

    A: And Born's rule then ?

    E: that's the core of the problem: one doesn't know how an interaction can give rise to Born's rule !

    A: But the interaction can be quite complicated. You can't follow all the details. It could eventually result in discarting all the other terms, no ?

    E: No, because the time evolution operator is strictly unitary !

    A: Is that so ?

    E: Of course: its derivative is the hamiltonian! That's a hermitean operator. The only way to have a hermitean derivative is to be a unitary operator ! At least if you start integrating from identity...

    A: and how does that unitary thing make us keep all cat states ?

    E: that's obvious no ? Superposition !

    A: That's not obvious to me...

    E: do you mind ?...

    <<<< kitchen >>>>

    A: but once we have measured the cat being alive, surely it cannot be in a superposition anymore ? So time evolution must result in a projection, right ? Even if it is unitary ?

    E: will you stop it ! That's exactly what is not possible, mathematically speaking !

  5. Feb 11, 2008 #4


    User Avatar

    This is perfect!!
  6. Feb 12, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I want 5% of the royalties :shy:
  7. Feb 23, 2008 #6
    Thanks to everyone who has replied and messaged me.

    I'm unsure what's going to happen with this scene at the moment - hence it's taken me a little while to get back to you. I'm currently in the middle of a re-write and everything is a bit up in the air - that's writers for you!

    However, I will be in contact once I decide what I want to do, or use.

    Thanks everyone.

    P.S. I'd love to give you 5% of the royalties but short films hardly ever make money... I wish they did!
  8. Feb 23, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Still, you should at least be able to afford a "Contributor" rate as a thank you to PF, no? :)

  9. Mar 14, 2008 #8
    Haha. I think promoting scientific accuracy in any form of media is its own reward :biggrin:.

    And @ hiddenlight: props to you for making the effort to do so!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook