Astrophysicist DeGrasse Tyson Pokes Holes in Gravity

Astrophysicist DeGrasse Tyson Pokes Holes in Gravity

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space.

Neil deGrasse Tyson enjoyed Gravity very much, but as an award winning astrophysicist he found one or two things to beef about. Twitter being the best place by far to air grievances, he kicked off a series of Mysteries of #Gravity messages, taking aim at everything from zero gravity to Sandra Bullock's hair. Some of it's the kind of thing you'd expect an expert to notice, but the others ... well, take a look, and wonder (spoilers ahoy!):

Why Bullock's hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.

Satellite communications were disrupted at 230 mi up, but communications satellites orbit 100x higher.

Nearly all satellites orbit Earth west to east yet all satellite debris portrayed orbited east to west.

Why anyone is impressed with a zero-G film 45 years after being impressed with "2001:A Space Odyssey."

When Clooney releases Bullock's tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.

Why Bullock, a medical Doctor, is servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.

How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.

Astronaut Clooney informs medical doctor Bullock what happens medically during oxygen deprivation.

None of which means he didn't have fun watching the movie, but if anyone is ever going to stand still and be quiet when science is at stake, it's probably not going to be him. "That was three-weeks-worth of Tweets in one evening. Sorry to overload your Twitter streams," deGrasse Tyson concludes. "Good night universe."

Source: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Permalink

Hey look, a new excuse to bring him back in for a segment on Colbert. I await patiently.

I like doing this too to these sort of movies. I had a field day with Moon. :P A film I still greatly enjoyed, by the way.

Anyone else, I'd say: 'shut up and enjoy the film.' Because it's NDT,I'll let it slide.

I love this brilliant man and his sweet, sweet mustache. Now I definitely won't pay to see this film. I'd just be looking for the flaws the whole time.

I used to poke holes in the science of movies all the time. The thought of "ancient aliens" used to give me chills.

However, as I've grown, I've come to see whats most important: that the public are engaged in science. Its fun to point out flaws in movies and shows, but the more engaged the public is with these topics, regardless of absolute crystalline scientific veracity, the better it is for science in general.

Better than obsessing over dwts or honey boo boo child.

Scratch the bit on ancient aliens though, that show is bad for everyone.

Me studying physics keeps throwing me out of the moment when watching Sci Fi movies and while I was able to enjoy this movie for the most part

thiosk:
I used to poke holes in the science of movies all the time. The thought of "ancient aliens" used to give me chills.

However, as I've grown, I've come to see whats most important: that the public are engaged in science. Its fun to point out flaws in movies and shows, but the more engaged the public is with these topics, regardless of absolute crystalline scientific veracity, the better it is for science in general.

Better than obsessing over dwts or honey boo boo child.

Scratch the bit on ancient aliens though, that show is bad for everyone.

I tend to agree, but as Tyson points out people always just assume everything is fact. A ton of media and hashtags have been stirring up 'science appreciation' lately, but in many ways it makes this problem worse. Knowing random facts that you'll never apply to anything is one thing, but hat we have is one or two facts being stated over that people then use to attach complete and utter bullcrap to. Since very few people will ever fact check many people get steered in the opposite direction of correct science.

You can teach an ignorant man; you cannot teach a man who assumes he is already right.

Honestly I felt that if the movie was 100% scientifically accurate Sandra Bullock would have died horribly and it would have been about 30 minutes long.

TiberiusEsuriens:

thiosk:
I used to poke holes in the science of movies all the time. The thought of "ancient aliens" used to give me chills.

However, as I've grown, I've come to see whats most important: that the public are engaged in science. Its fun to point out flaws in movies and shows, but the more engaged the public is with these topics, regardless of absolute crystalline scientific veracity, the better it is for science in general.

Better than obsessing over dwts or honey boo boo child.

Scratch the bit on ancient aliens though, that show is bad for everyone.

I tend to agree, but as Tyson points out people always just assume everything is fact. A ton of media and hashtags have been stirring up 'science appreciation' lately, but in many ways it makes this problem worse. Knowing random facts that you'll never apply to anything is one thing, but hat we have is one or two facts being stated over that people then use to attach complete and utter bullcrap to. Since very few people will ever fact check many people get steered in the opposite direction of correct science.

You can teach an ignorant man; you cannot teach a man who assumes he is already right.

I agree, there seems to be a trend to listen to the more vocal people over the truth because it sounds better. Popular Science removed the ability to comment on articles because of how misleading they could be and people would believe them over the actually article.

I can't wait for Cinema Sins to pick up this one. They never let me down.

Speaking as one who is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Gravitational Wave Physics (General Relativity and I must learn to become best friends), here's the secret to dealing with any sci-fi film: just take the suspenders off, sit back, and enjoy the ride. I have yet to see a space/sci-fi film that didn't make me spend the entire time cringing when I had my full physicist mindset engaged. It's just impossible to enjoy the film if you sit there and nitpick every little inaccuracy. As long as it's not completely off the beam, just enjoy it and have fun. That's my opinion, at any rate.

geizr:
just take the suspenders off, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

I not only second this for sci-fi but for all movies as well. Now when they violate their own rules it irks me but even then I try not to let it suck out the enjoyment.

As a man of physics, I honestly don't care about movie inaccuracies. If I did, I wouldn't be able to enjoy any movie with an action sequence. Besides, I can't enjoy any movie with Sandra Bollocks, so I'm probably never gonna see this. Her "acting" and her face just piss me off more than Ryan Reynolds.

FoolKiller:

geizr:
just take the suspenders off, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

I not only second this for sci-fi but for all movies as well. Now when they violate their own rules it irks me but even then I try not to let it suck out the enjoyment.

Agreed

I tend to believe if you're going to movies to find the flaws in realism, you're going to the movies for the wrong reason..

I don't feel that every movie has to be completely accurate. If they violate laws of reality, who cares? It is a movie. If they violate their own laws introduced within the movie, that is lame then.
Otherwise, just learn to enjoy things and not be such a killjoy.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but I read the synopsis on Wiki, and the easy travel to both space stations made me roll my eyes a little bit, because anyone who played KSP will know that unless the orbits are deliberately planned to be very close to one another, getting from one orbital object to another for docking requires a fuckton of energy.

Karloff:
Movies is magic!

C'mon... After mutating neutrinos, can't we let Hollywood off the hook for this one?

Rufus Shinra:
Haven't seen the movie yet, but I read the synopsis on Wiki, and the easy travel to both space stations made me roll my eyes a little bit, because anyone who played KSP will know that unless the orbits are deliberately planned to be very close to one another, getting from one orbital object to another for docking requires a fuckton of energy.

This was kind of my reaction. You can't just drift to another satellite or shuttle or the damn ISS. And all the debris flying around, just...no.

I can still enjoy sci-fi, and I have no doubt Gravity is entertaining, and it looks pretty. But, really, the premise is a tad ridiculous.

And anyway, regardless of anything else, this falls under the same category of space movies that Apollo 13 does for me: Space Movies I Will Never See As Long As I Still Want To Be An Astronaut. I know what can go wrong. I don't need to see it.

Science serves the script and not the other way around. A scientific idea can support a good story, but a good story should never be hamstrung by lack of reality, because it's not reality anyway. Even the most tightly adapted script about a real event is a total fiction no matter how many technical details it gets right.

The same applies to emotional realism, if the character lost their sanity and became a gibbering wreck too paralysed to do anything then the story would end. Drama is all about moving forward and conflict. Reality is often not that accommodating.

All that said, I appreciate when film makers take time to get these details right and to be fair they are serving a story and characters so sometimes working a head around a situation to make it plausible is hugely admirable. An astro physicist with years training in that field criticising a movie writer or vfx artist on certain details is a little unfair sometimes as there are so many balls to be kept in the air making the movie entertaining. That said, there is no harm in pointing these things out as most movie makers strive to please all of their audience and critique leads to growth.

Gota love all those people who uses the wors excuse ever invented. that excuse being "because its a movie". it being a movie does not excuse it being wrong.
Also why would he go out and say such a stupid thing about 2001.

Hah, that's funny. Perhaps movies should pay him for a little consulting, eh?

MCerberus:
Hey look, a new excuse to bring him back in for a segment on Colbert. I await patiently.

Like there's ever an excuse needed to bring him back. I DEMAND MORE NDT!

Meh. He's probably just angry because he can't poke holes in Sandra Bullock.

Kidding, kidding, gees! Settle down!

Yeah I'm with the whole "it's just a movie" crowd on this one. While nitpicking films can be an entertaining past time, one should never take it too seriously, as none of the critiques mentioned do anything to spoil the films entertainment factor for the majority of film goers. Well unless you are just one serious grade A OCD geek.

Strazdas:
Gota love all those people who uses the wors excuse ever invented. that excuse being "because its a movie". it being a movie does not excuse it being wrong.

But if it's not trying to portray itself as being right, then is there really a problem? The only way I could see an issue arising would be if people started trying to parrot something they saw in a film as being reality and fact, using the film as their example, and that's just laughable to everyone who isn't them.

Psychobabble:

Yeah I'm with the whole "it's just a movie" crowd on this one. While nitpicking films can be an entertaining past time, one should never take it too seriously, as none of the critiques mentioned do anything to spoil the films entertainment factor for the majority of film goers. Well unless you are just one serious grade A OCD geek.

But at the same time, even a lot of the people criticising it are saying they enjoy it. Including deGrasse Tyson. So obviously, it's not really an issue.

shrekfan246:

But if it's not trying to portray itself as being right, then is there really a problem? The only way I could see an issue arising would be if people started trying to parrot something they saw in a film as being reality and fact, using the film as their example, and that's just laughable to everyone who isn't them.

Yeah, but we're not going to get any hilarious aeronautics and space fails from this....

There are points where I could see being wrong as a problem, but I don't see them here. People who brag about accuracy and make shit up, for example. Things so big that they take you out of the movie, especially if you don't have to be an expert.

Hah, I thought zombie Newton was about to shit his pants when I got to the actual article.

Cheeky, very cheeky.

For one glorious second, I thought the laws of physics had been broken. Oh well.

I love how he always give Jon Stewart grief when he's on The Daily Show for the earth rotating the wrong way during the opening sequence.

Spaceman Spiff:
I love this brilliant man and his sweet, sweet mustache. Now I definitely won't pay to see this film. I'd just be looking for the flaws the whole time.

NDT is like a walking tvtropes when it comes to movies with some sort of sciency stuff to them.

I honestly want, nay, NEED a Riff Trax audio track with him in it for such movies.....

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here