Neil deGrasse Tyson Criticizes ‘Gravity’s Scientific Inaccuracies

| by Khier Casino

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity” – starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney – was the weekend’s record breaking box office sensation. The film collected $55.6 million. However, astrophysicist and science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was not having any of it.

In the movie, Bullock and Clooney play shuttle astronauts trying to stay alive after their spacecraft is destroyed.

Tyson says “Gravity” has numerous factual mistakes, so he logged on to Twitter to point them out. Tyson tweets that he did “enjoy #Gravity very much,” but criticized the scientific details of the film. He even reprimanded the title saying, “The film #Gravity should be renamed ‘Zero Gravity’” or “Angular Momentum.”

“Why Bullock's hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head,” Tyson also asked.

“When Clooney releases Bullock's tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together,” he continued to tweet.

This is not the first time Tyson called out a Hollywood film for its scientific inaccuracies. He slammed the director of “Titanic,” James Cameron, for a scene where it appears that Kate Winslet’s character is looking up at the wrong field of stars. Cameron edited the part when it was released for 3D.

Tyson is not the only one calling the film out. Jeffrey Kluger of Time points out, “...science is science and facts are facts and when a movie purports to traffic in both, it’s only fair to point out the blunders…”

Here are other rants from Tyson’s Twitter (Warning: spoilers ahead):

  • “The film #Gravity depicts a scenario of catastrophic satellite destruction that can actually happen.”
  • “Mysteries of #Gravity:  Why Bullock, a medical Doctor, is servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.”
  • “Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.”
  • “Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space”