Interstellar - the film features a team of space travelers who travel through a wormhole



Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace, David Gyasi

When a wormhole is discovered, explorers and scientists unite to embark on a voyage through it, transcending the normal limits of human space travel. Among the travellers is a widowed engineer (Matthew McConaughey) who must decide whether to leave his two children behind to join the voyage and attempt to save humanity from an environmentally devastated Earth.

Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne was a scientific consultant for the film, to ensure the depictions of wormholes and relativity were as accurate as possible. "For the depictions of the wormholes and the black hole," he said, "we discussed how to go about it, and then I worked out the equations that would enable tracing of light rays as they traveled through a wormhole or around a black hole—so what you see is based on Einstein's general relativity equations."

A wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that would fundamentally be a "shortcut" through spacetime. A wormhole is much like a tunnel with two ends each in separate points in spacetime.

The theory of general relativity predicts that if traversable wormholes exist, they could allow time travel.

The impossibility of faster-than-light relative speed only applies locally. Wormholes might allow superluminal (faster-than-light) travel by ensuring that the speed of light is not exceeded locally at any time. While traveling through a wormhole, subluminal (slower-than-light) speeds are used. If two points are connected by a wormhole whose length is shorter than the distance between them outside the wormhole, the time taken to traverse it could be less than the time it would take a light beam to make the journey if it took a path through the space outside the wormhole. However, a light beam traveling through the wormhole would always beat the traveler. As an analogy, sprinting around to the opposite side of a mountain at maximum speed may take longer than walking through a tunnel crossing it.

In a Euclidean space, the separation between two points is measured by the distance between the two points. The distance is purely spatial, and is always positive. In spacetime, the separation between two events is measured by the invariant interval between the two events, which takes into account not only the spatial separation between the events, but also their temporal separation.

Spacetimes are the arenas in which all physical events take place—an event is a point in spacetime specified by its time and place. For example, the motion of planets around the sun may be described in a particular type of spacetime, or the motion of light around a rotating star may be described in another type of spacetime. The basic elements of spacetime are events. In any given spacetime, an event is a unique position at a unique time. Because events are spacetime points, an example of an event in classical relativistic physics is (x,y,z,t), the location of an elementary particle at a particular time. A spacetime itself can be viewed as the union of all events in the same way that a line is the union of all of its points, formally organized into a manifold, a space which can be described at small scales using coordinate systems.

Related Pages: Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Matthew McConaughey

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