The Science of Interstellar with Christopher Nolan

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About This Episode

Unravel the mysteries of Interstellar when Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews filmmaker Christopher Nolan. Find out how Chris got interested in physics when he was 10 years old, why he uses non-linear story telling in his films, and what it was like balancing narrative and science with the help of the film’s advisor, astrophysicist Kip Thorne. In-studio, Eugene Mirman and cosmologist Dr. Janna Levin bring the conversation down-to-earth, but there’s no doubt that the real star of the movie, and this episode of StarTalk, is science. You’ll explore Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the math that supports the possibility of time travel, the physics of wormholes and the practicality of warping space-time. Learn why clocks tick faster on the ISS and GPS satellites than they do here on Earth, why neutron stars have powerful magnetic fields, and why hydrogen appears twice on the periodic table. Plus, Neil recites his poem about falling into a black hole, and Bill Nye “rants” about why there’s no place like home, not even on an exoplanet or Mars.

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  • John M Molloy

    Sounds good to me, haven’t even listened to it yet!

  • Washington Rayk

    <3

  • BUGGY447

    Please, please, please get
    rid of the fuc**ng comedian I’m interested (and I assume most
    others listening) in the science, not a interrupting asshole trying to be
    funny. Its rude and disrespectful to the guests and the audience.

    • Michael Gegoski

      I agree.The comedian on the show doesn’t add to the show at all.If the producers would replace them with another guest that knows about the subject that’s being discussed,it would more beneficial to the show.

    • Al

      Yeah, never was on board with the comedians, especially Eugene. You could tell the cosmologist was getting frustrated with the interruptions, and in the show, every sentence she speaks, she gives Eugene the ” oh boy he’s going to say another joke isn’t he” look which was just sad to see. Many people commented about this in startalk youtube channel too, but I guess he’s here to stay. The only reason I can come up is that perhaps his parents and rich and fund the show.

    • ndnpro64

      It may be annoying, but the intent of StarTalk is to combine science with pop culture. NGT and his team feel that having a comedian helps with their vision. I think it’s good to interject humor into the discussion, but of course it should be done in a less annoying way.

    • aowie1

      This is supposed to be an entertaining show to a broad spectrum of audience. They are tossing in a comedian to lighten the conversation and serve a very specific goal: contextual understanding. I personally think Eugene does a great job of this. He is not overly invasive to the discussion and occasionally shows his intrigue and interpretation into subject matter. Comedians, like Eugene, extract details of the subjects in layman’s terms by asking questions and cracking jokes. He acts as the proxy to the audience. It is neither rude nor disrespectful, it is intentional.

  • Awesome!

  • Sam Hayden

    I’m going to watch this tomorrow. Hope the doesn’t ruin it…

  • Snake

    I’m really glad Eugene turned down his “comic” interventions this time, and focused more on asking interesting questions. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but usually, I really can’t go with his style, and prefer Chuck Nice way more.

    Thanks Eugene, for letting science under the spotlight were it should be, for once ! I don’t know if it was intentionnal, but i was enjoyable !

    Pretty mind-blowing and fascinating stuff in this one. Three-dimensional black holes, that’s something I never really thought about…

  • sepiae

    FINALLY!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 I was sooooooooooo looking forward to this one!!!! AND with Janna Levin as well!! A thousand, scrap that, a billion (with emphasis on the ‘B’, of course) thanks ! 🙂

  • Visionary

    Awesome episode

  • XIGRIMxREAPERIX

    Bill Nye’s rant at the end sounds like it came straight from the science guy show.

  • In discussions with three “Time Dilation Truthers” who have web sites on the Internet, I found that they all think they know “the truth,” and “the truth” is that Einstein was WRONG. The reason they believe that is because they misunderstand the example that Dr. Levin used on the show, where two space ships PASS EACH OTHER in space, and to observers on BOTH space ships it appears that the others’ clock is running slow.

    Whenever that example is used, it should be used with an example where two space ships are traveling in parallel at identical speeds, and observers on both ships see the EXACT SAME TIME. And that time is SLOW when seen by a stationary observer.

    When I try to explain TIME DILATION to people, I ALWAYS use a stationary observer and a traveler. It greatly simplifies the calculations. I do not use MAGICAL abilities to see clocks across the universe, but, if I did, the traveler would see the stationary observer’s clock as running FAST, while the stationary observer would see the traveler’s clock as running slow.

    I think Time Dilation is more easily understood if you do not use MAGIC to see clocks a trillion miles away. Instead, you might try using a “clock” that both can see — such as a pulsar. I do that in my explanation of Time Dilation here: http://www.ed-lake.com/Time-Dilation.html

    Ed

  • Andy123

    Please let me know if I got this correct. The NGC StarTalk TV talk show is going to be a video version of these same podcasts?
    Consequently, this is simply the “audio” of what was shown last monday on NGC?

    • Yes, Andy. Just as when we make podcasts out of StarTalk Live! performances, or, sometimes, YouTube videos, this is the audio from the show.

  • Hi everyone!

    I have a question, but I have to preface it with an explanation of what I understand, (which might be wrong, so please correct where applicable).

    A neutron star is the most dense object second to a black hole, and it’s the rotational speed of the neutron star that creates enough centrifugal force to counteract the gravitational forces which would otherwise cause it to collapse further.

    Here, my understanding is that as the rotational speed of the neutron star slows down over time, gravity wins and it collapses into a black hole.

    So, what would happen if:

    1. we increased the rotational speed of the black hole to counteract gravity, or;

    2. were able to remove some of its mass?

    Would either of these two actions cause the black hole to revert to something similar or equivalent to a neutron star?

    • Andy Long

      Sure. but you’re talking about reversing entropy. There is hawking radiation that causes black holes to loose some of their mass, but not fast enough to reignite them….novel thought.

    • Lucas Luengo

      Neutron stars don’t turn into black holes because of a lack of mass, not because of centrifugal force.
      A neutron star has enough mass to collapse atoms into a compact mass of neutrons. A black hole has even more mass and collapses neutrons into… something else.
      I don’t think that speeding the rotation of a black hole (not even at light speed) can help you counteracting its gravity.
      Removing mass from a black hole (if possible) also won’t recover the neutrons. All information is loss in a black hole. And even if you remove mass from it, the remaining mass will be so compacted that the gravity will still keep it together.

    • Lucas Luengo

      Neutron stars don’t turn into black holes because of a lack of mass, not because of centrifugal force.
      A neutron star has enough mass to collapse atoms into a compact mass of neutrons. A black hole has even more mass and collapses neutrons into… something else.
      I don’t think that speeding the rotation of a black hole (not even at light speed) can help you counteracting its gravity.
      Removing mass from a black hole (if possible) also won’t recover the neutrons. All information is loss in a black hole. And even if you remove mass from it, the remaining mass will be so compacted that the gravity will still keep it together.

  • A lot of people seem to be confused about Time Dilation because of the “two space ship” example where two space ships PASS each other and each sees the others’ clock as running slow. Dr. Levin used it in the show.

    Whenever that example is used, it should be used with an example where two space ships are traveling parallel at identical speeds. In that situation, both clocks would seem to be in sync. Neither would be running fast or slow.

    I think the whole idea of MAGICALLY viewing clocks across the universe is unnecessarily confusing. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to understanding Time Dilation (NOT relativity) by using a natural clock – like a pulsar? If the twins in Einstein’s “twin paradox” counted pulses of a pulsar during the experiment, one twin would still age more than the other twin, but the number of pulses they both counted from the pulsar would be IDENTICAL. Understanding WHY explains Time Dilation in a way that “magic” clocks cannot. In my opinion.

    Ed

  • pcberdwin

    My favorite part of the movie is the end when Brand is shown on her planet breathing the air and walks back to her camp. There was such a feeling of relief and calm after they had been living in such hostile conditions and you realize how stable Earth is right now and begin to feel and appreciate how great things actually are.

  • Andy Long

    Miss the old sound intro 🙁

    • K Lee

      Me too. At least they kept the Beasties for the fade out.

    • Joseph Haythorn

      Ditto.

  • Al

    I think you guys dropped the ball on this one, almost misleading. Christopher Nolan is a great person to listen to and we only get 5 min with the guy. Tyson could’ve asked me some more unique, well-thought out questions but he ended up just repeating his own material.

  • sepiae

    That was a feast ! 🙂 And an hour is way too short. When’s part 2 on? Levin’s awesome, just as always. Will Kip Thorne be brought on at some point in the future?

    • Hetare Kaiser

      I like how Neil says he has to reach out into the aether to get expert help with relativity.

  • sepiae

    That was a feast ! 🙂 And an hour is way too short. When’s part 2 on? Levin’s awesome, just as always. Will Kip Thorne be brought on at some point in the future?

  • Hetare Kaiser

    I like how Neil says he has to reach out into the aether to get expert help with relativity.

  • Stefan

    Every time Chuck Nice says “Check Out” during on of the mini commercials, I hear “Chuck Out” … he should just say that

  • Kevin

    When is Kip Thorne Coming? While a appreciate the relativity expert, Dr. Thorne can explain his own work best. (Invite Dr. Levin back when he visits)

  • Lucas

    I wanted to hear Christopher Nolan, not 5 minutes of him and 55 of explanations…

  • TimS

    Science of Interstellar would be more realistic with addition of phased electrodynamic propulsion.
    http://youtu.be/6zh9abFF3ZE
    http://youtu.be/u8n7j5k-_G8

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