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 ")

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'- Philip Jose Farmer, 1967.

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?' - Richard Morgan, 2003.

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... Setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1938.

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.' - John Brunner, 1975.

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.