We’ve all watched the scene. Maybe it’s the scientist character trying to provide a huge dollop of exposition to the rest of the team, maybe it’s in a montage as the cast grope towards the breakthrough that will drive Act II.
Whatever it is, it features a blackboard / whiteboard / cave wall covered in equations that supposedly relate to the situation at hand. Some shows—such as Numb3rs—really try to match what’s on the board to the plot. Others just pick science equations at random, or delegate a junior props guy to scribble a grab-bag of greek letters and math symbols on the board. But can people really tell the difference? What follows are some equations (and hints) that relate to classic science-fiction scenarios — see if you can identify them. Answers and explanations tomorrow.
- Forget no bucks—without this equation there’d really be no Buck Rogers. This is the equation that made space travel possible.
- This equation puts a limit on the destructive power of one of the most awesome celestial entities believed to exist.
- Even if you don’t recognize the maths, you’ve probably heard of this equation’s name in more than a few shows and movies. Essential to modern physics, it comes in many flavors—and has even appeared in a Wierd Al Yankovic video.
- Important for some nuclear-weapon-related plots, this equation ultimately also provided the name for one of the most successful series of video games.
- The general form of this equation pops up throughout science, but this particular version has relevance to scary plague movies.
Image: Screenshot from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog