According to the American Journal of Physics, Interstellar should be taught in schools. “Visualizing Interstellar’s Wormhole” suggests the film can introduce elementary school students to general relativity, allowing them to draw connections between the underlying mathematics and the visual splendor of scientific concepts as depicted in the film.
From the paper’s introduction:
In 1988, in connection with Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, later made into a movie, one of the authors published an article in this journal about wormholes as a tool for teaching general relativity.
This article is a follow-up, a quarter century later, in the context of Christopher Nolan’s movie Interstellar and Kip Thorne’s associated book “The Science of Interstellar.” Like Contact, Interstellar has real science built into its fabric, thanks to a strong science commitment by the director, screenwriters, producers, and visual effects team, and thanks to Thorne’s role as an executive producer.
Although wormholes were central to the theme of Contact and to many movies and TV shows since then, including Star Trek and Stargate, none of these have depicted correctly a wormhole as it would be seen by a nearby human. Interstellar is the first to do so. The authors of this paper, together with Christopher Nolan who made key decisions, were responsible for that depiction.
This paper has two purposes: (i) To explain how Interstellar‘s wormhole images were constructed and explain the decisions made on the way to their final form and (ii) to present this explanation in a way that may be useful to students and teachers in elementary courses on general relativity.