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

Quantum physics movie - What the *$@! are we thinking? And upcoming movie

  1. Nov 25, 2004 #1
    Quantum physics movie -- What the *$@! are we thinking? And upcoming movie..

    My friend who is learning calculus and physics, and I teach him what I know, works at movie theatre.

    He told me about a new movie in 2004, called "What the fuc* are we thinking?"

    It's about quantum physics and the development of science. Anyone seen this movie? I can't see it yet. Probably because of the damn title, I'd love to see it! But I live in a small town (lake havasu) 3 hours away from phoenix. We probably wouldn't get it from its messed up title.

    However, I know my movie theatre is getting a movie called:

    A Sound of Thunder

    One small step for man
    Cast: Edward Burns, Ben Kingsley, Catherine McCormack, Corey Johnson, Jemima Rooper
    Set in a near future where time travel is possible, this is the story of a travel agency, Time Safari Inc. (owned and managed by Kingsley's character), that arranges hunting trips for wealthy customers back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Each trip is carefully planned, with a scout identifying dinosaurs about to die, and then sending the clients back just seconds before, so the course of time is not altered by the kill. However, in this case, a nervous hunter steps off the trail, and steps on a butterfly. The historical repercussions of the death of a single butterfly, compounded by millions of years of effects, leaves the hunters to return to a future that is not quite the one they came from... Now, Travis Ryer (Burns), the lead dinosaur hunter, must team up with Sonia Rand (McCormack), the inventor of the time machine technology to stop the "time waves" that are rippling up from this event, threatening to erase humanity from existance.

    Release Date: 03-11


    Here's my view on what we know on time travel and quantum stuff, please correct me and/or give me your views, I might have this mixed up, thanks:

    There are much less problems in travelling to the future than in the past.

    If you were to travel in the past, you would make an entire timeline of yourself. You could be your grandfather, daugther, etc?

    Anyway, if you made a time machine. You couldn't go back in time before the time machine was made..since it didn't exist.

    This movie is about a guy who makes a time machine, goes back into time and takes people to visit hunting when the dinosaurs roamed.

    They were supposed to follow a certain path, but this one person went off that path. He stepped on a butterfly. This independant reaction caused several other dependant reactions which were dependant on the independant reaction (stepping on the butterfly). This caused several other chain reactions, which ultimately changed history. So when he came back into the future everything was different.

    The point is: Is it possible in reality to change history?

    If you went back into history, and changed history on your time line? Could you? If you did, would you appear in another parallel universe when you travelled back to where you were?

    Are there actually multi universes? I heard from someone this can't be true because it would need an infinite matter in the universe. And they say that would be impossible. I don't like the word impossible; because its complete negation. You're saying its not possible, you're saying it doesn't have A CHANCE of being possible.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2004 #2
    I got a feeling that the movie would be more jurassic park than QM 101. Alot of the questions you asked a speculative, and a look at string theory or certain interpretations of QM would help. Physicists don't really bother with finding multi-verses or extra dimensions and stuff like that (i mean devoting your carrer to that).

    Feynman's sum over histories can be an example. Every quantum object takes every possible path (or exists in every possible reality) until a measurement is made on it, which produces different results. Some think that each "reality" corresponds to a reality in a parellel universe, stuff like that. But then again, such stuff is highly speculative.

    Multi-verses are allowed and expected in string theory. But string theory itself can be said to be speculative, so........

    I don't know if time machines can make you have a sex change. I don't know how possible it is to be a grandfather and daughter at the same time. Perhaps some far-out solution to the equations of special relativity can help.
  4. Nov 26, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  5. Nov 26, 2004 #4
    Yes, that is the movie I'm talking about.
  6. Nov 26, 2004 #5
    I understand that the what-the-bleep-do-we-know movie is funded by some sort of cult thing and has quantum theory "experts" who are a bunch of mystic hippies. :grumpy:

    The butterfly-stepped-on-changes-history story is originally by Ray Bradbury, I think. I seem to remember reading it in school. The Simpsons parody it in one Halloween episode, with Homer going back in time because of his toaster, I think it was. :biggrin:
  7. Nov 26, 2004 #6
    That's not quite true. David Albert is one of those experts. Although he is famous for supporting the "many minds" interpretation, he has written several very clear and accurate phillosophical books about the foundations of quantum mechanics.

    However, despite this I have heard that the movie is a load of bleep, although I haven't seen it myself yet.
  8. Nov 26, 2004 #7
    ^ yes indeed, i saw the website, the only thing remotely scientific imo is the wall paper which showed the lines of particle decay. But if it generates interest in quantum physics, then that's a good thing.
  9. Nov 26, 2004 #8
    Here you say:There are much less problems in travelling to the future than in the past. ..the reason being is the future has NOT happened, it does not exist?..you have aboslutely no chance of Stamping on a Butterfly, Pupae or Caterpiller, all do not prevail in a non-existing Future!..you can be almost certain this event has not occurred (Future Stomping)..because we are all still here in the present time discussing Past and Present events.

    You state:If you were to travel in the past, you would make an entire timeline of yourself. You could be your grandfather, daugther, etc? How do you explain the fact that all previous 'Happened' events dictate and create Present Time Realities?..you cannot change something that has allready Happened?..you can ONLY change events that have not actually Happened?..I know this appears contradictory with my reply to your first 'Future Time' quote, but there is a fundemental reason.

    You got it:Anyway, if you made a time machine. You couldn't go back in time before the time machine was made..since it didn't exist. The machine is made from perishable materials?..if for instance the machine consists of Bio-Degradable products, the journey would inflict the products to decay more rapidly, therefore you would be vaporized by fact that the machine would be going off into a decay tangent that would not protect you.

    A "Time-Machine" has to be immune from Time's impact upon it!..it has to be a 'TIMELESS' product!
  10. Nov 28, 2004 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I disagree... and disagree VERY strongly. This movie doesn't generate interest in quantum physics. It generates an interest in outlandish and unproven metaphysics, while at the same time, manages to bastardized established physics. The general public already has a problem separating between scientific evidence, and anecdotal/unproven/bogus/etc evidence. This movie simply blurs the boundary even more and mixes what is physics with hocus pocus.

    It is of my opinion that this movie does more HARM than good regarding physics.

  11. Nov 28, 2004 #10
    I agree with you zapperz on the account that the movie itself is not very scientific and the website is full of new age sh*it. Heck, heavy metal makes water turn cloudy?

    But I think that quantum physics is a very underexposed branch of science among the general public. And heck, some may even want to know more about it, and at least get some popular physics books regarding this (which points them in a correct direction).

    Its almost like an argument among say, a group of real hardcore heavy metal fans. They argue whether this newer band, while it don't really capture the true essence of heavy metal,and its a little bit "pop", is it any good for the metal community? It is not good because it does not play "real" metal, it is good because it gets more people interested in metal, and hopefully,these new converts would be inspired look for some "real" metal bands.
  12. Nov 28, 2004 #11

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    While the general public could stand more exposure to accurate and sober descriptions of quantum physics, they surely don't need any more of the nutty "Fred Alan Wolf" style nonsense that this movie seems to promote (I haven't seen it). Bookstore shelves overflow with it already.
  13. Nov 28, 2004 #12
    Well, Wave's hand particle, I study more macroscopic bodies such as black holes.

    I'm 16, and still learning calculus :/

    So, sorry if some of my theories are incorrect, I'm still learning.

    I get great joy after school in teaching mathmatics to the students for school credits, on my own time at school.

    I remember in Science last year when I was a sophmore, atoms were the hardest to understand. I was very good at physics with macroscopic bodies we see everyday on our planet (Cars, etc.)

    However, atoms can be very confusing and unpredictable.

    It was mainly about atoms converging from one energy level to another.
    How many eletrons most atoms need to be stable. Was it 8?

    Anyway, it was very simplistic freshmen class, heh.

    I HATED it, the atoms were so annoying and confusing. I still had a 112 percent in the class, the highest grade of all the students in all 6 periods.

    When we got to light, and sound, I did the best in that. It was exciting, learning about radiation, the light spectrum, and that all light is really a spectrum of colors.

    One thing I do not understand is this:

    If light has a finite speed, (186,000 miles per second) why can't we reach it? I know this is a fast speed..but why does light have so many paradoxes if its a finite speed?

    I dont know why, but I *think* it is because EVERYTHING we see has light reflecting off of it. If it didn't, we wouldn't see it!

    Anyway, hoping someone can clear this up for me.

    Oh yeah, wavehandparticle, here's a link I found out about a scientist actually creating a time machine by twisting spacetime though lasers:

    http://www.walterzeichner.com/thezfiles/timetravel.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  14. Nov 28, 2004 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Nice call caribou. I was wondering if anyone else remembered that story. Of course the original ends when the hunting party returns to the present to discover a despot has won the recent election. The story closes with the phrase "the sound of thunder" which was the last thing heard by the dude who squished the butterfly as the hunting guide shot him... I'm in high demand when trivia night rolls around.
  15. Nov 28, 2004 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Goodness Zapper, I cringe in horror during just about any kind of futuristic film. Some of the liberties they take with plain old newtonian physics is enough to set off the cow pie alarm in a grade schooler. My personal favorite is the 'evils of science' genre where they expose the terrible abuses heaped upon humanity by dimwitted, arrogant scientists. I was so annoyed after watching 'The China Syndrome' I wanted to put my foot in James Bridges' donkey. Personally, I'm looking forward to the TV movie "Black Hole" scheduled for release in 2005

    Plot Outline: An experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island goes catastrophically awry...
  16. Nov 28, 2004 #15
    QuantamTheory, Space and Time are inversly proportional.. They are so linked that we should NEVER just say space, but we do. Truely as Einstien said, its Space-time.

    As you move faster in space you take from time... Time slows. And as you go faster you come up to the point where there is no more time to give. Hence you cannot got faster.
  17. Nov 28, 2004 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    But there is a difference. Those movies are fictional as in "sci-fi". This movie in question is a "documentary", and touted itself to have "real" physicists (or experts). I hate to think that for most people, this is their first (and probably ONLY) source of info about quantum mechanics.

    And speaking about BNL and Blackholes, I've mentioned this before on here a long time ago, but the Comedy Central did a "report" on the possible creation of blackholes at RHIC after the brouhaha created by Frank Wilczek's article. The report aired on John Stewart's The Daily Show, and I appeared on that for about 1 1/2 seconds! They were filming at the NSLS instead since they could not get access to RHIC, and I was still working as a postdoc there when they were filming it. I still have a bad copy of the tape which I show to everyone I can to accumulate my 15-minute worth of fame. I still have around 14 minutes left! :)

  18. Nov 28, 2004 #17


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Acknowledged. Calling it a documentary makes bad thing even worse. Unfortunately, people see crap like that and tend to take it to heart, no matter what you call it [a conspiracy theory thing, I suppose]. After 'the China Syndrome' came out, people who knew I worked in nuclear deluged me with well intended [and equally well misinformed] questions about all the hazards. Explaining they were ridiculously overblown by the movie seemed, seemed on the whole, to create even more suspicion. It got to where I amused myself by telling particularly incredulous souls:

    "Yes, there are problems. Why do suppose the NRC is always hanging around plants? You think they just show up at random to do inspections? Of course not. It would be much too expensive to hire enough people to ensure all plants are safe. When they do show up something awful has happened and their job is to make sure it doesn't leak to the public causing mass hysteria, power outages and economic disaster. I'd tell you more, but both of our lives would be in danger."
  19. Nov 28, 2004 #18
    Yes, I remember more now that you mention all this. Even the title now seems familiar.
  20. Nov 29, 2004 #19
    The more you look at such movie the less likely you are to understand something in QP

    because this is complete waste of time
    because psychedelic images won't help you in any way
  21. Nov 29, 2004 #20
    I am certain that the link provided:http://www.walterzeichner.com/thezfiles/timetravel.html [Broken] I have seen before, I can only give my own personal opinion, so its not worth commenting on.

    One thing I do understand is that you can 'mimic' light-speed effects in many un-real events, just take a look at QM, it uses variables that are 'virtual', as if untouched by SR and GR.

    Falsifying your speed Relative an observer and observation does not mean you exceed 'actual' speed relative to Light, to counter this effect what you need to do is actually remain MOTIONLESS!..being still with respect to everything else that is in motion,..and that would of course invoke a PERFECT frame of Universal reference!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook