Interstellar - science fiction film features a team of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new habitable planet.
  • science - wormhole, black hole, gravity, 5th dimension, time
  • articulated machines - rather than "robots" the machines are tools - functional, multi-purpose, without being humanoid.


What's the problem?
'Interstellar' Science: The Movie's Black Hole Explained (Video) - Making a movie about the future with "real science" can be challenging even when a subject matter physics expert is available to collaborate with the cast and crew. Particularly interesting in this case, movie goers and scientists get to see some science that was know, but had never been "seen" before. The computer-generated graphics for the black hole is based on the actual physics equations. The visual results are spectacular and realistic.
  • Ask - How can the idea of a black hole, known to theoretical physics, be represented in a movie?
  • Imagine - Movies are shown on a flat screen, 24 frames or individual images per second. How do computer graphics programs make objects look real? How can this be extended to make something like a black hole that no one has actually seen, look "real"?
  • Design, Build - The computer graphics software uses calculations about rendering and movement to produce "pictures" or frames of the movie. The information about the black hole is additional calculations. These were added to the computer graphics software. The results were a surprise, even to Kip Thorn, the physicist. He had an idea what it might look like, but the computer generated graphics were even more complex visually than he had imagined.
  • Improve - Using computer graphics based on equations and calculations, theoretical physics is more interesting and understandable.


A 3D projection of an 8-cell performing a simple rotation about a plane
A 3D projection of an 8-cell performing a simple rotation about a plane

That's engineering
  • tesseract - the four-dimensional analog of the cube; the tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. Just as the surface of the cube consists of 6 square faces, the hypersurface of the tesseract consists of 8 cubical cells.

Engineering ideas
  • theoretical physics, time, space, dimension, computer generated images (CGI), visualization

Do It
Challenges for you to work on...
  • Find other science topics discussed in the movie, and how audiences reacted to these.

News, updates

Learn more...


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