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Physics in movies

  1. Jun 15, 2009 #1

    EnumaElish

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    I watched Fred Claus on cable; while watching it I figured that http://www.main.com/~anns/other/humor/physicsofsanta.html [Broken] is purely Newtonian -- it does not account for time dilation, or relativity.

    I also rented "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" from Netflix. It shows an alternate future, which is entertaining: everyone in European Space Agency smokes like a chimney, astronauts and ground control.

    I have seen Star Trek the (current) Movie twice, and I think it is going to look to future people just as Far Side of the Sun looks to me now. A huge spaceship traveling interstellar distances -- yet, no robots on board (torpedoes have to be loaded manually). When being attacked, with everyone on board facing an imminent danger of being drifted into space alive, shouldn't they all be wearing pressurized spacesuits? (Today's navy personnel wear life jackets, right?)
     
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  3. Jun 15, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Or how the holodeck can have realistic fully AI characters but the ship's computer has the intelligence of a speak-n-spell (not a trekkie honest, I'm just forced to watch it by my wife!)

    See also http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/
     
  4. Jun 15, 2009 #3

    EnumaElish

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    Both Far Side and Star Trek have good to excellent special effects for their time, respectively. I have seen Star Trek once in analog (me alone) and once digitally (with my wife); some visual effects come through only in the digital version. (Haven't had a chance to view in Imax.)

    Neither of us is a trekkie, although, having grown up with the original series, we are part of the Kirk and Spock generation and feel connected with the characters.

    The best scene in the movie (IMO) does not involve a spaceship: it's Kirk as a (way-hyperactive) child driving toward what looked like the Grand Canyon in Iowa.

    Thanks for the link; I had not seen it.
     
  5. Jun 15, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Wow, I remember watching that movie when it first came out but had forgotten all about it. It wasn't an alternate future, it was a mirror earth. Another earth, a mirror image of our own, so to speak, is discovered in the same orbit as ours but on the opposite side of the sun.

    I had to immediately add it to my queue at Netflix. :biggrin:
     
  6. Jun 15, 2009 #5

    EnumaElish

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    The mirror earth is the story line, as it was intended. What I found most entertaining was the unintentional part: that people back in 1969 thought that smoking was here (there?) to stay.
     
  7. Jun 15, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yeah, it is funny to see some of the old stuff in this regard. My wife and I were browsing the old game shows on TV one night and noticed that they often gave away a carton of cigarettes as a consolation prize! :rofl: This because some shows were sponsored by tobacco companies. But it was a different world back then. Smoking was seen as being fashionable and relatively harmless.

    I remember the first time I was admitted to a hospital for surgery. They asked if I wanted a smoking or non-smoking room.
     
  8. Jun 15, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    OMG, I just realized that when I had that surgery, I was 16 years old!
     
  9. Jun 15, 2009 #8
    The guys on the flight deck wear uninflated life vests. Falling from a flight deck with an inflated life vest can cause serious injury. The vests are inflated by discharging a small gas canister that is attached to the vest. Everyone else is required to maintain a lifejacket. It comes in a small grey hip pack and is usually kept at that person's general quarters station. So all the personnel aboard a ship have lifejackets, but most do not wear them regularly as a part of their uniform. That was over a decade ago, but I doubt that much has changed.
     
  10. Jun 15, 2009 #9

    mgb_phys

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    But does the captain's chair have a seatbelt?
     
  11. Jun 15, 2009 #10
    The captain's chair has whatever he wants on it. He's the captain.
     
  12. Jun 15, 2009 #11
    So out of all the bad physics in the Star Trek movie, you pick on the manual torpedo loading and lack of space suits?
    Surely space suits would be bulky and reduce the crews movement (espcecially with those dam torpedos needing loading)?
     
  13. Jun 15, 2009 #12
    Physics in movies? Where???
     
  14. Jun 16, 2009 #13

    EnumaElish

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    Okay, I digressed and got "practical." With limited knowledge of advanced physics, I say the red matter looks bogus.

    So I'll throw it back to you: what do you think is the most egregious violation of physical laws in the movie, and/or in the series?

    I am sure there is a workable solution. According to the star trek calendar we are probably in bronze age but the astronauts are wearing them, right?

    Maybe they should invent a canister (similar to the one Huckleberry was referring to) that might work for pressurizing a space suit?

    Correction: I have been informed that the correct term of reference is "trekker" not "trekkie." (Which kind of proves my claim that I am not an ardent follower.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  15. Jun 16, 2009 #14
    Well the ship (along with signals which are send between ships) travels faster than light and the crew members somehow survive the acceleration of going from a full stop to warp whatever. They also ignore the fact that time would go at different rates on planets/star bases and the enterprise.
     
  16. Jun 16, 2009 #15
    I can't believe you guys are arguing about the physics of Star Trek and the worst examples you can come up with are the fact that they don't have advanced robots or whatever.

    For crying out loud:

    1) Traveling backwards in time creates logical contradictions, and therefore is not possible according to proof by contradiction.

    2) A ship travels through a wormhole (ie, black hole) without being destroyed by gravity

    3) At the end of the movie, a ship is stuck half-way into a black hole casually holding a conversation while gently drifting inwards. Moments later, the enterprise is pulled towards the black hole at a slow pace with no counter force, but engaging maximum warp speed is not enough to reach escape velocity. However, the wake of an insignificant torpedo explosion IS enough to reach escape velocity, even though pressure waves can't travel through space.

    4) Wormholes and warp drives might be possible, but teleportation of matter is a direct violation of known physics.
     
  17. Jun 16, 2009 #16

    EnumaElish

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    Nice points.

    Any thoughts on the physics of Santa?
     
  18. Jun 16, 2009 #17
    I'm going to go with Junglebeast on this one, although there are plenty more-
    for example: that drill that falls from the ship, hanging from the ship (surviving entry through the atmosphere) drilling a hole to the core of the planet. now it would take a lot of energy to drill down to the core of a planet. but the drill does not cut through the materials it is made of. and to disable it, after losing the charges, they use two tiny guns (insignificant energy discharge compared to that drill).
    It's like coming up to an aircraft carrier and realising you've run out of torpedos, and then sinking it with a 9mm.

    Also, given the dark matter could create a black hole/cause so much destruction on its own, why the need to dig to the core. Surely just detonating it near the surface would suffice.

    I'm no trekkie/trekker what ever you want to call it, but I went with a friend and spent the entire movie debating the science in it.
     
  19. Jun 16, 2009 #18

    EnumaElish

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    Before I saw the fire, I didn't realize it was a drill; I thought it was a space elevator. My reaction was "that's neat!"

    Did anyone else have that thought?
     
  20. Jun 16, 2009 #19
    Not really, it actually took me a while to realise it was attached to the ship. I assumed it was what destroyed the planet.
     
  21. Jun 16, 2009 #20
    I actually think that "the drill" is a plausible invention. It could be constructed by reacting large quantities of matter with antimatter, which would by E=MC^2 generate unfathomable quantities of gamma radiation which could be focused into a laser beam by exploiting properties of general relativity. Well, it wouldn't be easy, but I think it's plausible...and a laser of that magnitude would probably have no problem boring through a planet.

    However it's "red matter" that they drop inside the planet, which supposedly turns into a black hole when it reaches the core. That clearly doesn't make sense because it is a violation of conservation of energy for a particle with the mass of a pea to transform into a super-massive object such as a black hole.
     
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