The Science of Interstellar

Author: Kip Thorne

Price: $12.81

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 7, 2014)

Language: English

Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10 inches

1. Introduction

A journey through the otherworldly science behind Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film, Interstellar, from executive producer and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.

Interstellar, from acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, takes us on a fantastic voyage far beyond our solar system. Yet in The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, the physicist who assisted Nolan on the scientific aspects of Interstellar, shows us that the movie’s jaw-dropping events and stunning, never-before-attempted visuals are grounded in real science. Thorne shares his experiences working as the science adviser on the film and then moves on to the science itself. In chapters on wormholes, black holes, interstellar travel, and much more, Thorne’s scientific insights―many of them triggered during the actual scripting and shooting of Interstellar―describe the physical laws that govern our universe and the truly astounding phenomena that those laws make possible.

Kip Thorne is the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, an executive producer for Interstellar, and the author of books including the bestselling Black Holes and Time Warps. He lives in Pasadena, California.

2. Comment

1) By a physicist on November 11, 2014

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In this book, Dr. Thorne painstakingly explains what are the well-established science and what are the speculations behind the movie Interstellar.

The movie is very long, and contains a lot of things --- and in places it was a little bit puzzling. This book takes us back to the movie, and explains to us the many aspects of science that this movie touched on, including: the biology and geophysics behind the dooms-day scenario at the beginning of the movie, the astrophysics and gravitational physics of black holes, the science of planets, and the (very wild) scientific speculations on wormholes and quantum gravity.

I watched the movie together with a group of physicists and astronomers; afterwards, we had a lively debate about whether many details in the movie was really plausible, as Dr. Thorne had promised to us previously. After reading this book, I can see that Dr. Thorne had (of course!) realized most of the problems that we were debating. In places when astrophysics or planetary science were involved, Dr. Thorne provided the (sometimes very unlikely but nevertheless possible) scenarios that our difficulties might be resolved. In places involving speculations in fundamental gravitational and quantum physics, Dr. Thorne provided motivations from the frontiers of theoretical physics. It was great fun to read these details.

Finally, this book reveals the untold story in the movie: it all started from the detection of gravitational waves!!!

2) By Rob on November 8, 2014

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The best thing about this movie, as far as I'm concerned, is that it was designed from the beginning to treat some of the most interesting effects of general relativity in an accurate manner, and to make these counterintuitive effects central to a compelling human story. That story may be unrealistic in many ways, as most interesting stories are, but everything that occurs in the movie is consistent with the laws of physics as far as we know them (the material at the end delves into very speculative issues, but it does so in ways that are inspired by serious work in quantum gravity).

The fact that the main features of the movie are scientifically realistic could come as quite a surprise to many viewers, and this book gives them the opportunity to take the next steps toward understanding this surprising and incredibly beautiful science.

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