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Culture, history and society

Culture, history and society

3 Body Problem: a deep dive into the Netflix show

30 Apr 2024 James Dacey

This episode of Physics World Stories explores the science, politics and ethics in the Netflix series 3 Body Problem. Adapted from the celebrated Chinese novel The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, the multi-layered story centres around humanity’s first contact with an alien civilization. As the drama unfolds, with physicists among its lead protagonists, the plot navigates the challenges of communicating with aliens across interstellar space – and the inevitable tensions that arise on Earth.

To discuss 3 Body Problem, podcast host Andrew Glester is joined by three special guests:

  • Matt Kenzie: the series’ science adviser, a particle physicist at the University of Cambridge. Kenzie’s role in informing the show’s scientific elements gives him unparalleled insight into the integration of physics into its narrative.
  • Jennifer Ouellette: a renowned science writer who reviewed Cixin’s book The Three-Body Problem for Physics World back in 2015. Ouellette shares her thoughts on the book’s themes, and assesses the merits of the TV adaptation by the creators of Game of Thrones.
  • Hannah Little: a linguist at the University of Liverpool who is also a member of the SETI Post-Detection Hub. That initiative, based at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, considers how we should communicate with aliens should we discover we are not alone in the cosmos.

(Image courtesy: Ed Miller/Netflix)

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