Monday, May 10, 2010

Caltech in Hollywood ... and Vice Versa

It isn't rare for movie and television producers to collaborate with the minds at Caltech. Or even ask for help in filming shows (see Numb3rs by the Numbers) to substantiate scientific claims. Even in a blockbuster film like Iron Man 2, much goes into the science of movie making. And Caltech physicist Mark Wise had a hand -- really a head -- in guiding the all important particle accelerator production that Iron Man needs.
"They wanted to use the science to show what it (a particle accelerator) would really look like and they also wanted to do it in a way that was entertaining," said Wise. "They even wanted to know the behind-the-scenes stuff -- stuff that you wouldn’t see."
Fascinating ideas from Pasadena to Hollywood. And the other way around, too. James Cameron, director of Avatar, was recently on campus discussing possibilities of a real Pandora.

And if all the talk of avatars and accelerators isn't enough, how about the logistics of time travel? It's not as far fetched as one may originally think. In fact, another Caltech physicist, Kip Thorne, built upon the Einstein-Rosen bridge theory:
If you can build a wormhole, you can also turn it into a time machine. By dragging one of the mouths of the wormhole around space at nearly the speed of light, we can create a two-way tunnel connecting two points in time. Even better, you don't need to worry about mucking up history. A time machine built from the laws of general relativity is necessarily self-consistent, and thus your history will remain safely as you left it.