Lyutikov explains physics of hit sci-fi film


The hit science fiction film “Interstellar” earned $186 million during its successful theatrical run in November and December. Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaghey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, the movie drew critical praise for the dramatic performance, special effects and scientific exploration.

The science of “Interstellar” was in good hands with famed theoretical physicist Kip Thorne on board as consultant and executive producer. Twenty years before signing on to “Interstellar,” Thorne, a professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, collaborated with a graduate student on the paper “Vacuum Polarization at the Chronology Horizon of the Roman Spacetime.”

That student was Maxim Lyutikov, now an associate professor of physics at Purdue. The paper was an early career highlight for Lyutikov, who referenced the collaboration with Thorne in his Dec. 17 talk “The Physics of Interstellar” at the West Lafayette Public Library.

Lyutikov spoke to more than 50 students and members of the community at the talk where he covered topics of gravitation, black holes and wormholes, which play roles in the plot of “Interstellar.”

Prof. Lyutikov talks about the physics of

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