Physics-inspired sci-fi movie in the works

Good news for hard sci-fi fans: Christopher Nolan, the critically-acclaimed director of the Dark Knight movies, is looking to direct and produce a science fiction movie based on the theoretical work of renowned CalTech physicist, Kip Thorne. The script for the movie, titled Interstellar, was co-authored by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, and features “time travel and alternate dimensions and sees a group of explorers travel through a wormhole.” The movie is tentatively slated for a 2014 release.

Thorne, one of the world’s foremost experts on general relativity, has been a mainstay of gravitational physics for decades. He co-authored the seminal textbook on the subject, Gravitation, with two other giants in the field, Charles Misner and John Wheeler, and also wrote the outstanding popular-level science book, Black Holes and Time Warps. For nearly two decades Thorne held the position of Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at CalTech, named after the legendary physicist Richard Feynman, who, like Thorne, had a particular interest in making physics concepts accessible to a wider audience. Thorne retired from the position in 2009 to focus on other projects, including penning a classical physics textbook and co-authoring the script for Interstellar.

This is not Thorne’s first foray into science fiction, however. When another well-known popularizer of science, Carl Sagan, approached him for help with Sagan’s novel, Contact, it was Thorne who suggested the use of wormholes to transport people over vast distances through space. Thorne subsequently developed the idea theoretically, which has since seen even more popularization in science fiction, most notably three of the later Star Trek television series.