Saturday, August 25, 2018

Don't Go To The Movies With A Physicist?

OK, no one tell any of my friends that, or I'll be going to the movie alone from now on.

This article interviews professors Maxim Sukharev and Michael Dugger of the Applied Physics Lab at Arizona State University on the physics that they noticed in the movies. The article focuses on light, as in lasers, since these scientists are experts on them.

“Lightsabers? I don’t know what those are supposed to be,” said Dugger in puzzlement, as the two settled into Siskel and Ebert mode. “If that’s a laser, particles of light would never just stop abruptly like that."

“Of course, if you see somebody on the big screen with a Russian accent doing science, that person will turn out to be a bad character,” Sukharev said with a chuckle. He completed a doctorate in the Department of High-Power Lasers in the General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. “But what’s really laughable to me is when a spacecraft is shown speeding through the vacuum of deep space and yet we hear, ‘Zoom, zoom.’ 

I'm not that critical of the scientific mistakes or outrageous applications of science in the movies. They are, after all, fiction. But I can suspend my disbelief only so much, and if a movie takes too many liberties and transgression against science, then the movie is not longer that credible, because one can just make things up without regards to anything.

I can't wait for Avengers 4!


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