May 27, 2022

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What’s true about Nolan’s movie Interstellar

Interstellar It’s one of Christopher Nolan’s masterpieces, and it manages to piece together many issues that worry and excite us, from the environmental crisis to time travel: it’s science fiction but has a solid foundation in science, perhaps more than one might expect.

Interstellar cast

Courtesy Warner Bros.

The cast is excellent, needless to say, with Matthew McConaughey as protagonist Joseph Cooper and Michael Caine (Brand) and Anne Hathaway who are two scientists, a father, a daughter, and three actresses playing Morph, Cooper’s daughter, since childhood, as a child. Young and old woman, as well as very young Timothée Chalamet.

The point is that time flows at different speeds according to places and situations, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. But what is true then in Interstellar?

Interstellar, plot

In the not too distant future, the Earth has become almost uninhabitable due to a disease that destroys all crops, lack of oxygen in the atmosphere and constant sandstorms. An extreme solution that scientists are studying in a hidden bunker is to escape into space, and find other habitable planets: the hero will instead end up taking a journey in space-time, two concepts we know are related even if they are not self-evident. to understand them. The Road.

Are wormholes possible?

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Warner Bros.

The entire plot of the movie is based on the idea that wormholes are possible. Characters use this wormhole to travel to another galaxy where there are potentially habitable planets. The real name used in theoretical physics for this wormhole is the Einstein-Rosen bridge.

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The concept is that a wormhole is a shortcut between two points in the universe. It’s well explained in the movie: it’s like having a piece of paper and fold it, then make a hole with a pencil, and create a shortcut from one side of the paper to the other.

The Einstein-Rosen bridge, or wormhole, has never been seen in space. It is a completely theoretical hypothesis and has many problems. Most theories state that the wormhole would be too unstable to actually be used for travel – another theoretical substance called alien matter or negative energy would be needed to stabilize it.

Paradoxes of time and time travel

Architectural Engineering,

Images courtesy Paramount

The hero finds the government’s secret lair by deducing the coordinates from a series of sand streaks that formed on the floor of the house after the storm: they are written in binary code. At the end of the film we see Cooper, swallowed by a black hole, which ends up in a small piece, that is, a four-dimensional space, he manages to communicate with his daughter who has grown up and become a scientist, helping her solve equations that will save humanity. But even before that, he was able to communicate the coordinates of the vault to himself in the past by creating lines on the sand. This creates a classic time loop, or irony, because if Cooper hadn’t communicated with himself in the past he wouldn’t have started, but precisely because he started he was able to draw those lines.

Black holes and interstellar time space

Another great idea in the movie was time dilation. One of the planets that scientists are exploring is closer to a black hole than the other, so the time spent on the surface would be much longer from the perspective of a ship or Earth. While Cooper and Brand descend on a planet and stay there for a few hours, their 23-year-old colleague Rommelli is on the support ship. The reason this happens is that gravity is simply the curvature of space-time from an object’s mass. This curvature not only distorts space, it distorts time.

A black hole is called that because you can’t see it. The black hole distorts space and time so severely that light cannot escape its grasp, hence the color black. In theory, since we haven’t actually experienced a black hole, there is a tipping point where light or something else can escape called the event horizon. Because of this property we can’t see what’s inside and therefore we can’t tell what’s going on.

In fact, compared to what happens in the movie, there are other factors that play a role in the fall into the black hole. There is a special type of radiation called Hawking radiation, the only evidence of something escaping from a black hole that could kill you if you got close enough. There are also other forces that will stretch and crush you the closer you get to the black hole.

The Science of Interstellar, the book

The film is based on the equations of Kip S. Thorne and his research on black holes. The scientist was part of the screenwriting process as a consultant to ensure the accuracy of the scientific aspects. There are many theoretical physics concepts in the movie, all based on real science. Proof of this is the depiction of the black hole in the film of Gargantua. It is the first fully accurate representation of a black hole in a movie, based entirely on physical equations. Then Thorne wrote a book to better explain the concepts of the film: space-time travel. interstellar science.

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