Should Hollywood Movies and TV Shows Be More Scientifically Accurate?

Two years ago, my Physics I professor mentioned the movie “Gravity” when talking about torque, velocity, and other basic physics concepts… because the movie’s writers got them all wrong. He warned his students that the way Hollywood depicts physics will make it more difficult for us to understand real-world physics.

In a way, he’s right. We watch movies and TV shows “believing” (or getting used to the idea) that huge explosions can result from minor collisions, people can jump across huge gaps, people can stand up after getting hit by a heavy object… Yeah, in the back of our minds we know that cinematic effects are added to scenes to make on-screen stories seem more interesting than everyday life. But some subtle unrealistic depictions in movies and TV shows can seem realistic… so realistic that we choose to believe them without question.

“The most frequent sci-fi physics sin is, without a doubt, the incredible sounds emitted by all those zooming spacecraft, all those exploding planets, all those laser beams whizzing by. As every student learns very early on, sound waves need a medium through which to pass in the form of vibrations to be heard. Air, water, the membrane of your eardrum–all are sufficient media to transmit these vibrations. And as we all know, the cold vacuum of space is unfortunately devoid of anything substantial enough to serve as a transmissive medium. It’s true, however, that those unfortunate enough to have their spacecraft destroyed be in a spaceship while it was exploding would certainly hear quite a racket for a few split seconds from inside, as the sound vibrations passed through the ship itself and into what was left of the cockpit’s pressurized atmosphere as it broke up. But once the damage was done, we’d be back to space’s normal, somber silence. But hey, I guess all those sound designers and THX-equipped theaters need to be used for something, right?” (Source: PopSci)

On the other hand, sci-fi films and shows like “Star Trek” have inspired future STEMists. A lot of techies and “Star Trek” fans love to talk about how the show introduced the idea of the cellphone, but there are, of course, other inventive concepts that the show introduced such as the tablet.

Remember when the iPhone was revealed back in 2007? There were rumors about how Apple will compete with cellphone companies, but no one expected Apple to introduce a “button-less cellphone”.

The iPhone gained popularity SLOWLY. Today, a lot of people (especially young adults, teenagers, and pre-teens) are obsessed with using touchscreen smartphones for gaming, messaging, camera, news, shopping, and social media apps. But back then, can you believe that few people realized how valuable the iPhone’s multi-functional capabilities are, let alone how a “button-less phone” is possible?

So, should movies and TV shows be more scientifically accurate?

In some ways, yes. Movies that try to tell more believable stories like “Gravity” should get their scripts reviewed by scientists. Fun fact: Neil deGrasse Tyson (the iconic guy behind the “We got a badass over here” meme) complained about how the stars in the night skies shown in “Titanic” were inaccurate, and James Cameron updated the scenes after hearing Tyson’s complaint because he loves science.

In other ways, sci-fi should still be promoted in the entertainment industry.

One of my favorite sci-fi scenes of all time is from the movie “Blade Runner”, starring Harrison Ford. That movie’s villain, Roy Batty, is an AI robot who said one of the most emotional movie quotes of all time – his “Tears In Rain” monologue:

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

You don’t really have to understand what that movie’s about. Those two things I mentioned about the villain can make some viewers think about a future of “Astro Boys”, robot ethics, innovative things, … etc.

A lot of things that seem unrealistic in Hollywood films now may end up becoming real in the future.

What if, in the future, someone invented special listening devices to hear sounds in outer space? That’s a far-fetched thought, but I guess it’s an interesting thought.

I read Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” when I was in elementary school, and little did I know that Jules Verne is regarded as an influential man for many inventions that characterize the 20th-century. I’ve seen Leonardo da Vinci’s odd sketches of planes and tanks when I was a kid too, and little did I know that he imagined those vehicles before someone built them.

It’s pretty evident that some people come up with creative ideas and solutions that are related or inspired by unrealistic phenomena depicted in films. So, because of that, I’m against the idea of making movies “more scientifically accurate”.

Instead, I’d like to see more STEM educators teach students about biology, technology, physics, etc. through analyzing popular films that students have most likely seen. That should keep students interested in STEM, and help them better understand abstract STEM concepts.

Review: “Anthropoid”

My review of the 2016 historical thriller movie “Anthropoid”.

Anthropoid (2016) is a movie based on Operation Anthropoid — a mission carried out by Czechoslovak soliders-in-exile to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich.

Kudos to my mother for successfully selecting a marvelous film. She deserved the hug that I gave her after we finished watching it.

As someone who enjoys learning World War II history, I was amazed by the heroic tale of the Czechoslovakians to the point where I immediately researched the accuracy of the film and the true story.

After reading this webpage, I was shocked to learn that the actors did closely resemble the people involved in the attack, and that the film was mostly accurate.

It baffles me how I have never heard of Operation Anthropoid and the historical figures involved in it (such as Heydrich) in all of my years of schooling.

The planning, execution, and success of the mission were a huge slap-to-the-face for the Nazis, which woke them up to the reality of how weak they are compared to the Czechoslovakians, the Allies, and the common man.

The mission also shows how the Czechs and Slovakians have a common history of being strong and united people despite the eventual dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

I would love to visit the church, the street where the attempted assassination took place, Heydrich’s house, and the Prague castle.

I have been to Prague once many years ago, and I was enchanted by the quaintness of the little town.

The next time I visit Prague in the near future, I will surely walk through its historical streets again with another fresh pair of eyes.


25 Things I Learned From Hitler


1. You think you’re right, but you’re actually wrong.




2. Dab.




3. There’s no future in being an artist.




4. Your religious affiliation doesn’t totally define who you are.




5. People can’t be controlled unless they allow it.






6. Speak loud and proud (especially without a microphone).




7. Stand straight and tall.

Hitler rehearsing his public speeches in front of the mirror 11.jpeg



8. The more you tell a lie, the more it seems truthful to people including yourself.




9. One man can change the world.





10. Anyone can be a politician.




11. There are those who treat people as expendable.




12. Never underestimate anything. Always overestimate everything.




13. Trust nothing and no one.




14. No matter how much power one man can hold, he’s not God.




15. You can have a heart and be heartless.




16. You are the author of your life.




17. Dress how you want people to view you.




18. Feel free to dress comfortably, but only look ridiculous privately.




19. Even when the whole world is against you, you do you.




20. Live by your own rules.


Adolf Hitler salutes troops of the Condor Legion who fought alongside Spanish Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, during a rally upon their return to Germany, 1939..jpg



21. Nobody’s perfect, but you can make yourself seem perfect.




22. Your dreams can put you to sleep… for good.




23. Whatever thought comes into your mind, there’s always someone out there who shares that same thought with you.




24. Let your imagination run wild.




25. You won’t always get rewarded for your accomplishments (especially if you’ve done more harm than good).


Coulomb’s Law

Here are some important notes about Coulomb’s Law:

  • any two charged objects will create a force on each other
  • opposite charges will produce an attractive force
  • similar charges will produce a repulsive force
  • the greater the charges, the greater the force
  • the greater the distance between the two objects, the smaller the force
  • since the forces are force pairs of each other, they will always be equal in size and opposite in direction
  • the net force on a charge is the sum of the forces from all the other charges