Neil deGrasse Tyson's Twitter Critiques the Science of Interstellar

Monday, 10 November 2014 - 10:08AM
Astrophysics
Physics
Science of Sci-Fi
Monday, 10 November 2014 - 10:08AM
Neil deGrasse Tyson's Twitter Critiques the Science of Interstellar

Neil deGrasse Tyson took to his Twitter last night (in what looked like a live-tweeting session) to tell the world his thoughts on Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. 

 

With the help of renowned astrophysicist Kip Thorne, the film is extremely scientifically accurate for its first half, particularly in its depiction of wormholes and time dilation as predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then, in the second half, Interstellar's science (as well as its plot) begin to fall apart. Tyson's main scientific quibble with the film is the same as many other scientists' who have seen the movie: the astronauts' exploration of Gargantua, a planet located near a black hole:

 

 

According to astrophysicist Dr. Roberto Trotta, the explorers would not have been able to survive their time on Gargantua. They would likely have died from radiation emitted from the disk of superhot material circling the planet, and/or their bodies would have been "spaghettified, stretched out, like a piece of spaghetti, into a filament of matter."

 

Although he doesn't tag Interstellar in this one, so it's not completely clear, it seems that he tweeted this at the point that Hathaway gives that idiotic speech in which her character, a SCIENTIST, decides that those pesky "theories" are not as reliable as true love:

 

 

He sums up his feelings on the physics of Interstellar:

 

 

Which gives rise to this sassy gem about the nonsensical plot:

 

 

He doesn't make any further comment on the plot, as he clarifies that he is not a film critic:

 

 

But he did offer this fact, which implied approval of the gender dynamics in the film:

 

 

Although this can be considered progress if we're grading on a Christopher Nolan curve, this fact doesn't make the film an overall win for female scientists. Jessica Chastain's character seemed perfectly capable, but Hathaway's character was stereotypically erratic, and I sincerely doubt that Nolan would ever have given that "love transcends time and space" speech to a male astrophysicist.

 

I'm also a little disappointed that he didn't directly make fun of that "love as a fifth dimension" nonsense, but he was probably trying not to spoil his many followers on opening weekend. Or maybe behind all the sass, he's a big old softie at heart.

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