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Intersellar - great film

  1. Jun 9, 2015 #1
    I know if takes some liberties (most glaringly the relative time dilation on Miler's planet), but it provides some wonderful scenes.

    The Launch
    The Wormhole
    The Black Hole itself

    Incredible. I bet it sparks an interest in astronomy and physics for a younger generation
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

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  4. Jun 9, 2015 #3

    I love the film. Like I say, I know its liberties can be a bit glaring, but at the same time it does things I've never seen on screen
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  5. Jun 9, 2015 #4


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    The ending is a little too much. Spoiler: Controlling the past from inside a black hole. Somehow waking up in a hospital bed. Earth building a super generational spaceship with all the amenities when it can't even feed itself.Nah..
  6. Jun 9, 2015 #5


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    All of this was beaten to death here in a VERY long thread about the movie. If you want a LOT of discussion about the movie, do a forum search for threads already here on it.
  7. Jun 9, 2015 #6


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    I think all three of your points have missed the mark.
    1] Sending a signal to the past by way of a 5-dimensional matrix (constructed by an advanced species, solely for that purpose) which is accessed via a black hole.
    2] I've woken up in a hospital bed. Not really implausible.
    3] They can't feed themselves because the food is dying - not because they've lost all their ingenuity. Once free of the Earth, they blossomed to full former glory and beyond.
  8. Jun 9, 2015 #7


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    1. Sending a signal to the past is controlling the past. Yeah, advanced technology=magic.
    2. But after diving into a black hole?
    3. The spaceship somehow has food. Think about that. If they can build a spaceship that can grow food, they could build a base on Earth that could grow food. (Although, you could argue that the spaceship houses only a negligible fraction of the human population, but the movie just kinda skips over that significant detail.)
  9. Jun 9, 2015 #8


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    1. Sending a signal to the past is controlling the past. Yeah, advanced technology=magic.

    No. Sending a signal is sending a signal. You can extrapolate as you wish, but that's a different ball of wax.

    2. But after diving into a black hole?

    Yes. The advanced race that built the Tesseract is demonstrably able to manipulate 5 dimensions and black holes.

    3. The spaceship somehow has food. Think about that. If they can build a spaceship that can grow food, they could build a base on Earth that could grow food.

    That's an oversimplistic summation. Lots of stuff happened that the (already 3 hour) movie left to our conjecture. The movie does not spoonfeed its audience. And love it it all the more for it because it does not insult our intelligence.

    Although, you could argue that the spaceship houses only a negligible fraction of the human population, but the movie just kinda skips over that significant detail.)

    Many spaceships. As many as are needed, in time.
  10. Jun 21, 2015 #9
    Regardless of it's inconsistencies, it is an amazing movie.
  11. Jun 22, 2015 #10
    Best and most accurate review was one I read by a physicist. 'Entertaining movie with the use of lots of sciences words with no actual science. The bar is set so low for any science in science fiction movies that I give it a 2 out of 10 for not having any lasers.'

    Another movie that is fun to watch but leaves the public with a distorted view of science and technology. It's Hollywood. The Ten Commandments...parting of the Red Sea. Interstellar...zipping through a Worm Hole. All good Hollywood entertainment.
  12. Jun 22, 2015 #11
    Not that this justifies anything, and I am no scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it avoids being completely disingenuous. The movie is slightly in the future and the plot is able to continue because they have discovered new physics or I think they referred to it as a way to harness gravity. That new physics is clearly fictional but at least interesting to wonder about.
  13. Jun 22, 2015 #12
    'New Physics' is no different than saying 'Magic Wand'. As the physicist said, science words with no actual science. The physical properties of matter and energy are what they are.

    I enjoy a good story. I enjoyed this movie . But...it is 'silly'. Silly willy. It's fine to recommend it, extolling its entertainment value but it is fantasy.
  14. Jun 22, 2015 #13
    I see your point, but I would say that the term "new physics" can be very different than saying magic wand. The term is often used very vaguely and while I see how it can masquerade as a "magic wand" for the convenience of hollywood, "new physics" is real. The folks at the LHC work diligently to perfect or move past the standard model of physics, the possible discovery of the Higgs Boson potentially represents "new physics". In the 1960s and throughout there were scientists that scoffed at the idea as silly. At one point believing that the world was a sphere was absurd and heretical. Simple as the example sounds that point was profoundly consequential to how science could be approached.

    That being said, yes there was a ton of scientific jargon, not too much explanation. I don't think that was the point though. Spoiler Alert Matthew McConaughey leading a crack team of astronauts into space and a world where Anne Hathaway has a PHD is silly. Him jumping into a black hole without experiencing spaghettification was silly. But the movie raises excellent social questions and definitely glorifies a scientific education, which we definitely need, in a way that Birdman and Transformers doesn't. That in itself is incredibly valuable to the scientific community.
  15. Jun 22, 2015 #14
    What scientists scoffed at the idea of a Higgs Boson? Nobody scoffed at anything because the concept was presented within the framework of know physics...not out of a magic book. I'm sure some physicists were skeptical because of known physics...not because they thought the idea magic.

    What this movie does is have actual physicists tearing their hair out when it is put on some pedestal as representing anything other than entertainment. It further dumbs down the public's knowledge of basic fundamental physics. Vampire movies don't do this because there is no misdirection that they are anything other than fantasy. In contrast when some move full of anti science devices to move the plot along claims to be more 'scientific' then the very essence of science is undermined.
  16. Jun 22, 2015 #15


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    Well, let's hope they're not getting their physics "knowledge" from entertainment films.

    What we should hope for is that it inspires young folk to get interested enough to pick up a book, or maybe even a college application form.
  17. Jun 23, 2015 #16
    Peter Higgs himself said that former colleagues laughed at many of his theoretical proposals, and not just regarding the god particle. Thomas Hobbes convinced himself that he had squared a circle and went to his grave believing he did so. In his life he drafted a series of inconclusive "proofs" using the frame work of real geometry and was still wrong every time. This is because the task was impossible, and it wouldn't be until Ferdinand Von Lindemann introduced the world to transcendentals, that people would accept the impossibility of something that we all learn about now in junior high school. My point is known physics is certainly subject to change and to take such a definitive stance about what we think we know can lead to disgraced legacies such as Hobbes, so again the magic book metaphor is a bit much because I am sure the concept of pi seemed like magic to the leading minds of the 1600s.

    To say that Interstellar is misleading is a pretty strong statement. First of all it is of the genre "Science Fiction" which automatically is a disclaimer that it is fantasy and entertainment, and as the meaning of fiction suggests, not real. No one pedaled this movie off as a text book and all suggestions of its scientific accuracy stem from movie reviews from critics that read the opinions of real scientists that gave their academic opinion about it. You have the Neil DeGrasse Tysons and Michio Kakus who think its a fun movie that have some relative accuracies as well as the Lawrence Krauss that absolutely detest the movie.

    Speaking of relativity, I would say that relative to other movies in its genre, Interstellar uses more real science than others. No one is going to tell me that Gravity is less problematic than Interstellar. I saw both Gravity and Interstellar in theaters close to their release dates and unfortunately more people clapped at the end of Gravity than Interstellar. Do you think that the two movies are comparable in terms of accuracy? I don't and Gravity offered little depth outside of its science or lack of science rather. I think we are spending too much time here trying to consider how Interstellar harms science and not understanding the good it does. First of all anyone intelligent to have an appreciate for science is intelligent enough to understand that you don't watch a movie and take it literally, you take it as allegory. Allegorically speaking, as I said before, Interstellar raises relevant social questions, regardless of the science in the movie it emphasizes that the key to our future is an education in science. It demonstrated that the real heroes aren't the pop artists and celebutantes that our generation is obsessed with, it is the people who sometimes stay in on a saturday studying, doing research, theorizing ways to make the world a better place, and maybe even save it one day. The movie says that you don't have to look like a supermodel or a steroid junkie to make a difference, you can do it by thinking. I think that is a great message to send, and while the science may be inaccurate and wacky it tells people to keep wondering beyond the scope of possibility, which is an attitude that any good scientist should have.

    Interstellar does not undermine the essence of science.
  18. Jun 23, 2015 #17
    I hope so. Ironically shows like Star Trek, Interstellar, etc. can have the reverse effect. Did Star Trek inspire manned space flight? Unfortunately young people's interest in manned flight was dead after Star Trek. When I was was a kid in the 60's we knew all the cosmonauts, astronauts just as we knew the Beatles. Star Trek permeated culture with bad science, fantasy concepts of the ease of space flight.

    In contrast, space flight and science is about study, attention to details, developments in technology, etc. Yes, Johnny you 'do' have to take mathematics, engineering and chemistry. There was a dumbing down of what space flight was all about. In contrast, a public coming out of WW2 was steeped in reality.

    I remember a SA poll from about 15 years ago. The question was purposely written to show the lack of space knowledge of the public: 'Do you think than we should return to Mars and establish a base like we have on the Moon?' Over half the respondents said 'yes'. The Star Trek generation! Star Trek inspired blockbuster space fantasy movies but not much actual interest in the baby steps needed for space flight in the real world. A lot of folks think there are astronauts zooming around between the stars. Ask your friends where they think the ISS travels to.
  19. Jun 23, 2015 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Kennedy announced the goal of reaching the moon in 1961. Star Trek didn't start airing until 1966

    Interest in space flight was waning before the Apollo program was over. The goal was to get to the moon and we did. That is why interest declined. But it was certainly renewed with the Space Shuttle Program. To say it died after Trek is simply not true.

    Not only can one find countless examples of scientists and engineers who were inspired by Star Trek, I would bet that a poll of scientists who grew up with Star Trek would approach 100% saturation. EVERY nerd I knew watched Star Trek. One favorite example of mine is the scientist who developed the first deep-space ion propulsion system for NASA. He was a HUGE Trek fan and said the first time he was exposed to the idea of ion propulsion was on Star Trek. In the documentary "The Captains", William Shatner tells the story of an aerospace engineer and the owner of a commercial airline company who told him Shatner that his career was inspired by Star Trek. Shatner says that until that moment, he had always been a little embarrassed to be known as Captain Kirk. But for the first time he began to realize the profound influence that Trek has had.

    And the first Shuttle was named after the Star Ship Enterprise!!! What more does one need to recognize how much this had influenced the people at NASA?

    Here are couple more examples that took about five seconds to find.


    And you think people are ignorant today? I was once in a room filled with older retired people who had all decided that the earth goes around the moon. That was your pre-Trek generation. ;)

    Star Trek and science fiction doesn't make scientists or educate the public. But it inspires young minds and fires the imagination. And that is what drives people go to college, get an education, and to do great things with real science.

    Nimoy speaking about the Shuttle
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  20. Jun 23, 2015 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    Gotta thrown in the Alcubierre warp drive concept - which might allegedly allow for FTL travel some day. Alcubierre chose the name "warp drive" with Star Trek in mind.

    Wouldn't it be funny if we have operating warp drives in 400 years that were so named specifically in honor Star Trek? :biggrin:
  21. Jun 23, 2015 #20


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    I reiterate. The effect of Sci-fi - especially Star Trek - was not to teach, but to inspire. And it did so quite spectacularly
  22. Jun 24, 2015 #21
    How did it inspire? There was way less interest in manned space travel after the show than before it. It did not inspire interest in science and technology.
  23. Jun 24, 2015 #22


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    Correlation does not imply causation.
  24. Jun 25, 2015 #23
    That means....? Other than a hackneyed sound bite?

    Star Trek warp drive is synonymous with 'Magic Wand'. Star Trek did not inspire manned space flight technology, it polluted it with fantasy.
  25. Jun 26, 2015 #24


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    The reason it sounds like a hackneyed sound byte is because it is the response to a oft-made, naive logical error.

    There were fewer infant mortalities after Star Trek than before. Does that mean one caused the other?

    That is an opinion, sure. But does it stand up to scrutiny? There's a missing connector between two dots. What does it actually mean to "pollute something with fantasy"? As someone earlier pointed out, I'll bet the correlation between engineers and Star Trek fans in the decades after 1967 was close to 100%. What connects the dots between a fantasy show and a reality job? That the engineers of those decades were trying to build fantastical craft? Their heads were literally filled with warp drives and transporters and this caused them to screw the bolts on backwards on their Saturn rockets? Connect those two dots for me.

    (Or do you think possibly that they were not so dumb as to confuse their inspirations with their vocations?
    That they were capable of abstracting what they love about the show (one of the very few positive visions of the future) from what they did between 9 and 5? That a love for the stars and exploration did not mean the only way they could see how to get to them is with fantasy engines?)

    Let me reiterate that. The inspiration of Star Trek was not about warp drives. It was about looking toward (and building toward) a bright, positive, enlightened future for humankind.

    Ask them. See what they say.
    I have. They did.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  26. Jun 28, 2015 #25
    More tripe.

    The proof is in reality. Manned space flight and it's exploration of the Moon and Mars took a nose dive. Dead. It will soon be over a half century since man stepped on the Moon. A generation was fed fantasy flakes instead of science.
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