Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Science of Interstellar

Interstellar's Idea of Wormholes

Image result for interstellar      Interstellar is a 2014 epic science fiction film written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. and directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie is set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, and follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for humanity. The movie was positively received by critics, holding a 72% approval rating based on 349 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic.

In this film blog, we are going to analyze the use of wormholes for travelling in the movie. So the question is: Can the astronauts use wormholes to travel long distances? The answer is probably not.

Wormholes are theoretical tunnels through the fabric of space-time that could potentially allow for faster travel between long distances. While wormholes are possible according to Einstein's theory of general relativity, these voyages are purely science fiction. But why? It has to do with a wormhole's instability. If you don't have anything threading them to hold them open, then the walls will collapse so fast that nothing can go through them. While it is possible to hold them open, it would require a lot of energy.

Also, traversable wormholes cannot occur naturally. But in interstellar, there is a wormhole near Saturn that was created by mysterious being.

Image result for wormholes

Monday, November 18, 2019

Contact Movie Blog

Image result for contact movieContact is a science-fiction movie starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, in which an SETI scientist who finds strong evidence of extraterrestrial life and is chosen to make first contact. The movie elucidates stirring scientific concepts and theological inquiry at the expense of satisfying storytelling, making for a brainy blockbuster that engages with its ideas, if not its characters. In the movie, there is a correct explanation of the twin paradox, but at the end of the movie, the idea of the twin paradox is incorrectly used. Overall, the movie gets its physics right, with the exception of the twin paradox. 

So what is the Twin Paradox? The twin paradox is the apparent paradox arising from relativity theory that if one of a pair of twins makes a long journey at near the speed of light and then returns, he or she will have aged less than the twin who remains behind.

In the movie, when we first hear about the twin paradox, we are given a correct explanation of the twin paradox. The correct explanation is that when Ellie (Jodie Foster) leaves Earth and returns, she will only be 18 hours older, and everyone else on Earth will be 40 years older. However, at the end of the movie, Ellie claims to be gone for 18 hours, but only 4 seconds passed on Earth. This is wrong, as the relative object would experience time dilation and experience less time than the other object. 

In order to correct this, the movie would have to have the pod disappear for 18 hours, and have 40 years pass on Earth when the pod returns.

Overall, the movie would be given a PGP-13, because the movie was good about its physics up until the ending.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Goldfinger Ejector Seat Analysis

Goldfinger Ejector Seat Scene

By Logan Yenser

Image result for goldfinger movie posterGoldfinger is one of the quintessential Bond films. It stars Sean Connery as Agent 007, as he tries to stop the titular villain from contaminating the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The movie was well received by critics and audiences, with it having a 97% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 89% audience score. The movie gave us some of the most famous lines from the franchise, "A martini. Shaken, not stirred." as well as the gadgets that would become the series' trademark.

One of these gadgets would be the technologically advanced Aston Martin DB5, and the part of that that we are going to analyze is the ejector seat that was placed in the car. The question that we are going to analyze is A) What is the final velocity of the person in the ejector seat? and B) How much force is needed to use that seat effectively?

We are going to start with question A: What is the final velocity of the person in the ejector seat? In order to answer this, we have to use the formula:


In order to effectively use this formula, we have to look at each part of the formula and determine what each part of the formula is. 

vi^2 = Δp=m(vf-vi)
Δp=m(vf-vi) = 100 kg (vf-0)
vf = -9.52 m/s

vf^2=(-9.52 N)+2(-9.8 m/s)(2.4 m)
vf^2=904.96 m/s^2

The final velocity of the person in the ejector seat would have a final velocity of 904.96 m/s^2.

Now we are going to answer the second question, which is how much force would the ejector seat have to have in order to eject the person. To do this, we have to use the formula:


Now, we have to look at each part of the formula like we did on the previous question. 

ΔP = 952 N 
We determined this in the previous formula
ΔT = About 1 second
If you look at the scene, it takes about one second from when Bond presses the button to when the henchman is lifted through the roof and out of the car. 

Plugging in the numbers into the formula, we can determine that:

                                                                         <F>=952 N/1 Sec
                                                                                =952 N

The ejector seat would need 952 newtons of force in order to eject the henchman from the car.

Overall, the ejector seat and the movie as a whole is an entertaining two hours to spend, with the key takeaway being that if you were to watch any of the James Bond films, this is the one to watch.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Martian:

Image result for the martian book coverThe Martian: Just How Accurate is the Physics in the Film?
Image result for the martian movie poster

The Martian is a film that follows Mark Watney, a botanist who gets stranded on the Red Planet after a severe dust storm forces the crew of the Ares III to evacuate. However, they left without Mark Watney, a botanist, who, during the sandstorm, gets knocked back by a satellite dish and is presumed dead. However, he is not, and he spends the majority of the film trying to figure out how to survive on Mars with limited communication with NASA. The film was positively received by critics, receiving a 91% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as receiving a nomination for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards amongst its seven nominations. However, the purpose of this blog post is to analyze just how realistic the space physics are portrayed in the movie, as according to Phil Plait. 
Plait states that there are 10 major rules that movies that portray space physics like to break, so we are going to look at these ten rules and determine if the Martian breaks any of these rules.

1) Whoosh! Our Hero's Spaceship Comes Roaring Out...
Sound needs something to bounce off of. Space is a vacuum, and, as such, there is nothing for sound waves to bounce off, so there would be no sound in space. The movie violates this rule, because when Watney is leaving Mars and is heading towards the crew of the Ares III, you can hear the rockets in space, even though you should not be able to.

2) ...of a dense asteroid field...
The vast majority of asteroids in space are located between Mars and Jupiter. According to Phil Plait, if you collected all the asteroids in the main belt and balled them up, they would be in total the size of a grain of a sand. If you were to travel through space, you could spend months without seeing an asteroid. In The Martian, this does not come up at all, so the movie neither violates nor follows this rule.

3) ...banks hard to the left...
There is no air in space, so there is no way for a space ships to turn without firing a rocket in the opposite direction that you want to turn. In the Martian, they (the producers of the movie) knew to have the crew members of the Hermes increase the orbital speed as it reduced its orbit in order to reach Mark as he is leaving Mars atmosphere.

4) ...and dodges laser beams from the Dreaded Enemy...
Since there were no laser beams fired in the movie, there is no violation of this rule.

5)...who have come from a distant galaxy...
The Martian did a really good job in terms of accurately portraying the scale of space, but there were no enemies in which Mark Watney or the rest of the Ares III to escape from.

6)... to steal all of Earth's precious water...
Since there were no enemies in this movie, there was no plot to steal all of the water on Earth. In fact, the movie takes place on Mars, so of course there is not going to be any plot to steal the water off Earth.

7) The Dreaded Enemy tries to escape Earth's gravity, but is caught like a fly in Amber
Again, there is no enemy in the Martian, and the movie in which the character tries to escape is Mars, not Earth, so there is no violation of the rule here.

8) As Stars Flash by...
This rule applies to the use of light-speed travel and being able to constantly see stars and planets in movies. Space is big and vast, so you won't be able to constantly see stars and planets and asteroids. In The Martian, there was no light-speed travel, and they could not see any stars to make a reference point, so this passes the rule, and shows us as an audience that the producers of The Martian are actually knowledgeable of how space really is.

9)... Our Hero gets a lock on them and fires! A huge ball of expanding light erupts past us, accompanied by an even faster expanding ring of material as the Dreaded Enemy's engines explode.
There are no explosions in the movie, so there is no violation of the rule.

10) Yelling joyously, Our Hero flies across the disk of the full Moon, with the Sun just beyond. 
There is no moon in the movie, so there is not really a violation of the rule.

Overall, the movie would be given a GP because it did a good job of sticking to the laws of space physics, even though some of the physics regarding the gravity on the Hermes spaceship are not that realistic.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fat Man & Little Boy: Is it Right to Develop Nuclear Weapons?

A Moral Argument for Nuclear Weapons

Is it right to develop nuclear weapons? Personally, I think that it is right to focus research on weapons of mass destruction, just because we get so much information on nuclear physics. When you look at the aftermath of the Manhattan project, during the late 1940s and 1950s, we got so much information about nuclear physics that we did not have before, and, although it led to the increase of nuclear weapons, those nuclear weapons were never used in combat. On top of that, we can use that knowledge that we gained from the Manhattan project and apply it to other things, such as in medicine, generating power, and identifying and dating materials. Although the use of nuclear weapons do have the ability to wipe out countries, they have never been used in conflict outside of the dropping of Fat Man and Little Boy on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Overall, the development of nuclear weapons can lead to further research on nuclear physics, which in turn can be used to advance medicine, engineering, and other fields.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Climate Change

Climate Change and the Evidence behind It
By Logan Yenser

    Although the topic of global warming has been talked about for decades now, it seems that only recently that the topic of global warming has been a major topic of discussion. People like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and activist Greta Thurnberg have been the among the people at the forefront of the discussion, calling for a change in the current climate change policy. But what evidence is there for climate change? There is plenty of evidence that supports the fact that climate change is very much a real thing, with 97% of climate scientists agreeing that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Some of the evidence that supports climate change is a global temperature rise, warming oceans, and shrinking ice sheets. In this blog post, we are going to focus on the global temperature
    According to NASA, the latest annual average temperature anomaly (in 2018) was 0.8 degrees celsius, which is 33.44 degrees fahrenheit. The graph below illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. 18 of the 19 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with 2016 ranking as the warmest on record. This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Also, the time series included in the link below shows the five-year average variation of global surface temperatures. Dark blue indicates areas cooler than average, and dark red indicates areas warmer than average.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Apollo 13: What is Weightlessness?

Weightlessness and How it Applies to Apollo 13

     Weight is defined as a body's relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a downward force. So when you look at the word weightlessness, it implies that there is a lack of gravity. This is impossible, because in order to get a lack of gravity, you need to get infinitely far away from any other object, as per the formula for the force of gravity, which is:

g= G * ((m1*m2)/(r^2)).

Before we proceed into what exactly weightlessness is, we better define weight in terms of forces.

Weight is not actually the force of gravity but actually the force normal to the force of gravity. The normal force is a contact force from the object one object is contacting, equal and opposite to the applied force. 

When talking about weightlessness, one must also mention orbital motion and "Zero-G." How do things stay in orbit when there is clearly only one force.

There is a velocity tangent to the orbit path and perpendicular to the acceleration. So long as the velocity is large enough proportionally to the acceleration, the object will continue orbiting in free-fall--as there is a net force implied by the acceleration. In essence, the object is "falling infinitely," or "falling around the object it is orbiting." And by virtue of it being in free fall, there is no normal force and as such there is weightlessness.

Overall, I would give the movie a GP, as director Ron Howard wanted the movie to be authentic in terms of the weightlessness.