‘3 Body Problem’ And The Laws Of Physics | In Defense Of ‘Out Of Place’ Plants

Science Friday

Apr 1 2024 • 23 mins

Particle accelerators, nanofibers, and solar physics: The science advisor for the Netflix adaptation breaks down the physics in the show. Also, in her new book, Jessica J. Lee looks at how humans have moved plants around the globe–and how our migrations are intertwined with theirs.

How ‘3 Body Problem’ Explores The Laws Of Physics

Last week, Netflix released its adaptation of the Hugo Award-winning sci-fi book The 3 Body Problem by Cixin Liu. It follows the journey of several scientists, from the Chinese Cultural Revolution to the present day, as they seek to understand why their fellow researchers are dying and why their scientific results no longer make sense. Along the way, they discover an ultra-advanced VR game and a dark secret that suggests we might not be alone in the universe.

Guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross sits down with the show’s science advisor, Dr. Matt Kenzie, an associate professor of physics at the University of Cambridge, to talk about what exactly the three body problem is, why he gave the actors physics lessons, and what he hopes audiences take away from a show focused on scientists.

In Defense Of ‘Out Of Place’ Plants

The new book Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging unpacks how we think about the migrations of both plants and humans, as well as how those ideas shape our perceptions of what we call “non-native” or “invasive” plants like giant hogweed or English ivy.

Dispersals traces the history of how we moved plants around—including cherry blossoms, mangoes, and soy—and asks: What does it mean to be a plant out of place? And how does the migration of plants mirror our own?

Guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross talks with environmental historian and author Jessica J. Lee about Dispersals and what we can learn from the histories of plants.

Read an excerpt from Dispersals at sciencefriday.com.

Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com.

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