Film holds an element of “suspension of disbelief.” We easily believe things even though they may not be entirely accurate. For example, the summer blockbuster Lucy was constructed on the concept that humans only use 10% of our brains. Scientists have proven this to be false, yet it stills functions as a primary plot device in many films. Film bends laws of reality and science all the time.
One modern filmmaker who knows how to bend these elements particularly well is English director Christopher Nolan, known for the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. On November 7, Nolan’s latest film, Interstellar, opened. It made over $50 million its first weekend. Nolan, a perfectionist, was aware of the anticipation for his film, which is why he wanted to make his new sci-fi film as scientifically accurate as possible.
That’s where famous physicist, Kip Thorne, comes in. He is best known for his work with black holes and wormholes.
Dr. Christopher Fuse commented on the rare collaboration between scientists and filmmakers, he stated “That’s almost unheard of, to have such a major scientist brought on to consult a major film like this. ” Dr. Fuse is an astronomy and physics professor who will be teaching a class in the Mysteries and Marvels neighborhood called The Science of Superheroes here at Rollins. He received his PhD at Texas Christian University while studying x-rays and galaxies. He had a few things to say about the science of Hollywood’s latest big sci-fi film.
Interstellar follows a team of earthlings that take a ship through a wormhole and wind up on the other side of the universe right next to a black hole.
There’s a whole lot of things that happen when we start talking about black holes,” Dr. Fuse continued. “Let’s say I’m falling into a black hole and you’re on the outside. Eventually, from your perspective, I would just blink out of existence. I’d be gone. No matter or light can enter a black hole.”
He says that what Thorne’s involvement in Interstellar did was allow for the designers to create a fully accurate black hole for the screen.
A wormhole is a whole other beast. Scientists basically believe that with enough energy we could poke a hole in the universe and ride it to the other end. However, the energy it would take to create that is far more than any modern civilization could possibly generate.”
Along with knowing plenty about quantum mechanics, Dr. Fuse is fully versed in the science of what makes a superhero work, similar to Mr. Nolan.
The Hulk quadruples in size and creates matter out of anything. Captain America’s shield can stop bullets in their tracks, and yet it can bounce effortlessly off of buildings. These things are just not possible in the real world, and I really want to discuss them.”
Dr. Fuse’s Science of Superheroes class is being taught next fall. Interstellar is playing now in theaters everywhere.