Breaking Down The Physics Behind ‘3 Body Problem’

The science advisor for the Netflix adaptation of the sci-fi novel delves into the physics behind the show.

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a woman wearing a forboding black dress with a sword against her back hovers against an orange sky in front of a simple graphic of three circles, each smaller than the next, enclosed in one another
Credit: Netflix

On March 21, 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.

Meet the Writer

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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