Watchmen Science

Dr. James Kakalios, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota, was asked to consult on the Watchmen film by Warner Brothers. Kakalios was a good choice, since he had already been teaching a course named "Everything I know about physics, I learned from comic books."

In the following video, Kakalios looks at some of the super powers in Watchmen, and uses it to sneak a lot of interesting material about real science into the discussion.


(Science of Wachmen video)

Teleportation, for example, is currently impossible on a macroscopic scale, but researchers are making progress. It's been possible to teleport the quantum states of photons from one side of a lab to another for some time, but earlier this year, researchers succeeded in teleporting information about the state of an ytterbium ion. Physicist Michio Kaku, of the City University of New York, now says macro teleportation may be only a "class I impossibility" - something that requires sophisticated engineering, rather than rewriting the laws of physics.

Dr Manhattan can also see into the past and future, making him somewhat indifferent about the fate of lesser mortals, which he believes to be predetermined. (He's in some ways a caricature: the aloof scientist for whom the pursuit of pure knowledge trumps all human considerations.) Given how poorly we understand time, it'd be a mistake to write this off as pure fantasy - it sounds a little like the world envisaged by independent physicist Julian Barbour, in which time really is just an illusion.
( Quantum superheroes: The science of Watchmen )


(Laurie Jupiter and Dr. Manhattan)

But he's not too concerned about the central aspects of Watchmen that can't fully be reconciled with real science, such as Dr. Manhattan's ability to be in two places simultaneously. In superhero movies, after all, he says, "You're asking the audience to buy something that's intrinsically ridiculous."

Still, he thinks it's a good chance to tap into a new market of minds. "The audience for this material…, [they] are also, in general, fans of real science," he says. At the end of the day, a nerd is a nerd, Kakalios admits comfortably, because he is also a comic book aficionado: "Geeks are people who get turned on by ideas" whether that's about spider powers or quantum mechanics.
(How Scientifically Accurate Is Watchmen? )

Read more at the links shown above; thanks to Moira for the tip on this cool video.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/27/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...' - Cory Doctorow, 2003.

Sex In Driverless Cars? Updated With Video!
'...admirable for petting.' - David H. Keller, 1935.

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.' - William Gibson, 1996.

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...' - Philip K. Dick, 1964.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Dockworkers Protest Driverless Trucks
'It resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

Flying Car Concept By Kash Sirinanda
'Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes... On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom...'

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.