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Science @ the Oscars: Kavli Google+ Hangout Explores 'Interstellar,' 'Theory of Everything'

Black Hole Gargantua in 'Interstellar'
The supermassive hole, dubbed "Gargantua," plays a large role in the sci-fi epic "Interstellar," which was been nominated for five Academy Awards. (Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Researchers will discuss the science that underpins several Oscar-nominated space-themed movies during a Google+ Hangout today (Feb. 19).

The Hangout, which is hosted by the nonprofit Kavli Foundation and begins at 4 pm EST (2100 GMT), will explore the universe of "Interstellar" and investigate how accurately the ideas of physicist Stephen Hawking were portrayed in "The Theory of Everything" — films that snagged five Oscar nominations apiece. You can watch the webcast here at the Kavli Foundation's blog website.

You can submit question to the researchers using the hashtag #OscarsScience on Twitter or Google+, or by emailing You can also watch the Hangout live here on, courtesy of Kavli.

Participants in the Hangout — cosmologist Mandeep Gill, physics PhD student Katie McGill and neuroscientist Sean Escola — will also discuss the mathematics of codebreaking in "The Imitation Game." 

"How does the science fare?" Kavli officials wrote in a statement. "Did 'The Imitation Game' explain why mathematician Alan Turing was called upon to help decrypt Hitler's top-secret messages? Did 'The Theory of Everything' capture the totality of Stephen Hawking's theories and ideas? Just how likely is it that wormholes exist in space as they're shown in 'Interstellar?'"

The Oscars will take place Sunday night (Feb. 22). "The Theory of Everything" was nominated for best picture, best adapted screenplay, best actor, best actress and best original score.

"Interstellar," which centers on the efforts of a small band of explorers to find a new planet for humanity to call home, got nods for best original score, production design, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects.

The visuals in "Interstellar" are making a splash in the scientific community as well: The film's special-effects team just published a paper in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity describing how they constructed the wormhole and supermassive black hole depicted in the film.

Kavli, a private foundation, has several institutes at universities across the United States and internationally. Institute researchers study topics ranging from astrophysics to nanoscience to neuroscience.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+. Originally published on

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.