Interstellar Science at Screen Junkies!

screen_junkies_interstellarAs promised on Tuesday, below you will find my Screen Junkies interview where I chat with Hal Rudnick about some of the science in Interstellar. We covered a lot of topics and went into a lot of detail, but a lot of that is on the cutting room floor in order to make a svelte (but relatively generous) ten minute cut. I hope you enjoy it. (See my earlier thoughts on why I think scientists need to relax a bit when it comes to publicly hating almost everything that borrows things from their field. I don’t think it is always helpful to the cause of getting people excited about science.)

Here it is: (Maybe better to wait until you’ve seen the film before seeing this… LOTS of spoilers are contained within.)


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17 Responses to Interstellar Science at Screen Junkies!

  1. Rami says:

    Dr. I love your appearance on the show! I wish is had awesome teachers like you 🙂

  2. William Brooks says:

    Hello, Dr. Johnson ~

    Even if the water world depicted in INTERSTELLAR possessed completely ideal surface conditions for humans, how advisable would it be to settle on a planet orbiting a giant black hole? Isn’t that like asking to be hit by flying space debris? …or worse, yet, waking up one morning to find yourself being drawn into that gaping, all-consuming vortex?

    (By the way, I thought appearances on THE UNIVERSE were simply fantastic! Please keep up the good work!)

    Bill Brooks

  3. Clifford says:

    Hi Bill!

    Two things spring to mind:

    (1) Maybe you don’t get to pick and choose so much if you’re looking for *any* planet that will support life. A less than ideal one is better than none at all!

    (2) If you are in a stable orbit around a black hole, (and such orbits exist), you are in no more danger of waking up and finding yourself falling in than someone living on our moon orbiting earth waking up and finding that the moon is suddenly falling in to the earth.

    (3) Bonus thing. My understanding from the visuals is that Gargantua is (as the name suggests) a super-large black hole. So that means that the environment of stuff falling in (around the viscidity of the planet) is really probably no more volatile than our own present solar system. There’s stuff whizzing by us a lot all the time (asteroids, comets, etc). We don’t consider it a particularly hostile environment (maybe every 65 million years or so we get a big one, but those are large enough windows of time for us to get along pretty well here…).

    Thanks for watching the show(s)!



  4. Josh says:

    This is slightly off topic, as it’s about a different movie, but I thought it was interesting. In “The Theory of Everything,” there’s a scene where Stephen Hawking is deciding what subdiscipline of physics to study. There is a shot of him with a window behind him. The window has a slight dent in it that causes the image of the scene behind it to be distorted in the same way that a black hole’s gravitational lensing distorts the image of space. I thought this was a very cool effect.

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  6. Clifford says:

    Hi Josh – sorry, I missed your comment here! Yes, that was a nice visual indeed. I’m not sure I noticed it at the time… I shall have to look for it if I see the film again.



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