Article Lead Image

Neil deGrasse Tyson had stellar science praise for ‘Interstellar’

It's not every day that a science-fiction movie gets praise from Mr. Tyson.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Posted on Nov 10, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 6:03 am CDT

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has often criticized Hollywood science-fiction movies for their shaky grasp of science, but the popular science communicator is giving Interstellar an unusually positive review.

Christopher Nolan’s latest film follows a team of astronauts through a black hole as they search for a habitable planet for humankind to colonize. Although its central storyline is arguably a fantasy, the film’s depiction of wormholes, relativity, and gravity are all grounded in real science, thanks in part to Nolan’s astrophysicist consultant Kip Thorne. One of Thorne’s most noticeable contributions is the shape of the black hole: a planet-like sphere rather than the popularly imagined window or hole into another part of the universe.

Tyson’s Twitter praise for the movie covered this and other aspects of Interstellar that clearly bore the influence of Thorne’s scientific scrutiny.

In #Interstellar, if you didn’t understand the physics, try Kip Thorne’s highly readable Bbook “The Science of Interstellar”

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

In #Interstellar, if you didn’t understand the plot, there is no published book to help you.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

In #Interstellar: They explore a planet near a Black Hole. Personally, I’d stay as far the hell away from BlackHoles as I can

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

In #Interstellar: You observe great Tidal Waves from great Tidal Forces, of magnitude that orbiting a Black Hole might create

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

REMINDER: Never look to me for opinions on new films. All I do is highlight the science one might or might not find in them.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

The astrophysicist mainly discussed Interstellar‘s realistic portrayal of zero gravity and its plausible interpretation of black holes, but he also highlighted Nolan’s casting choices. All of the main characters, he noted, are scientists or engineers, and two of them are women.

In #Interstellar: All leading characters, including McConaughey, Hathaway, Chastain, & Caine play a scientist or engineer.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 10, 2014

Tyson’s commentary will likely settle a few of the Interstellar-related arguments that have been raging online this weekend, but it’s still up to audiences to decide whether scientific accuracy makes Interstellar a better or more entertaining film as a whole.

Photo via Bill Ingalls/NASA (Public Domain)

Share this article
*First Published: Nov 10, 2014, 10:15 am CST