Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Way back in the early history of Preposterous Universe (the second post ever, in fact) we mentioned the lovely animated film Les Triplettes de Belleville, in the context of it being robbed by Finding Nemo for the best-animated-film Oscar. Something I had forgotten about, lost in all the excitement, was the appearance of Einstein's equation in the opening sequence. Nobody is quite sure why. (Einstein's equation relates the curvature of spacetime to the amount of energy and momentum. For details, see my short introduction to general relativity [pdf].)
The good folks at the American Physical Society have noticed this, and have even initiated a contest to help ferret out the reason for the equation's appearance.
If nothing else, the filmmakers should be congratulated on choosing a much more profound equation of Einstein's than the hackneyed old standby E=mc2.
By the way, a serious plot flaw in Finding Nemo was pointed out at Rhosgobel:
Clownfish, of Finding Nemo fame, are a good example of a protandrous hermaphrodite: the largest individual fish in a group is female, the next smallest is the reproductive male, and the rest are typically non-reproductive. When the largest female is removed from the population the male becomes female, and a non-breeder becomes male. Thus, in Nemo's case Marlin (Nemo's father) should have turned into Marla once Coral (Nemo's mother) disappeared.Now that's a Disney movie that might have been worthy of an Oscar.