Scientists have called for Interstellar to be shown in schools, to teach children about astrophysics.
Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi/organ music recital prided itself on accurately visualising how wormholes and black holes may actually look, based on the best current theories. He consulted scientists including Kip Thorne, who believe that wormholes would appear in 3D space as a spherical ‘crystal ball’ with distorted images of stars seen within, rather than the traditional flat circle and maw concept.
Now those same scientists are saying the film should be shown in classes on general relativity, both to assist students in visualising the phenomenon, and to explain the visualisation methods themselves. Published in the peer reviewed American Journal of Physics, the paper ‘Visualising Interstellar’s Wormholes’ posits that the movie would help students “construct a light-ray-tracing map backward in time from a camera’s local sky to a wormhole’s two celestial spheres” and explore “the wormhole’s Einstein ring and particularly the peculiar motions of star images near the ring.”
Meanwhile a paper by the same authors in Classical and Quantum Physics (‘Gravitational lensing by spinning black holes in astrophysics, and in the movie Interstellar’) describes Interstellar as “the first Hollywood movie to attempt depicting a black hole as it would actually be seen by somebody nearby.”
“We hoped that by dramatising science and making it something that could be entertaining for kids we might inspire some of the astronauts of tomorrow,” director Christopher Nolan told BBC News “That would be the ultimate goal of the project.”