The Science of Cinema
Even the most fantastical films require the expertise of Earth-bound scientists to create compelling worlds and characters. Here, UCR researchers share how they helped make it possible for viewers to believe in movie magic.
A udiences gasped out loud when Darth Vader revealed he’s Luke Skywalker’s father in “The Empire Strikes Back.” They screamed when a tiny monster emerged from an astronaut’s chest in “Alien.” Who among us didn’t shed a tear when Ellie died during the opening scene of “Up,” leaving a heartbroken Carl alone to mourn her?
Though all these moments are wholly fabricated, careful attention to detail has allowed millions to suspend the knowledge that what they’re watching isn’t real and just enjoy the show. Here are several examples of when UCR scientists loaned their knowledge to make some big-budget stories much more believable.