APS News

July 2004 (Volume 13, Number 7)

What’s a Nice Equation Like You Doing in a Cartoon Like This?

Triplets of BellevilleEarlier this year an animated feature called The Triplets of Belleville was playing in movie houses around the country. It got some attention from the critics, and garnered two Oscar nominations (for best animated feature film and best original song). Among its many interesting attributes is something that was probably noticed by only a very tiny segment of the audience: as the opening credits run, the bottom of the screen displays Einstein’s field equations of general relativity (see illustration).

There is no obvious reason for this. Neither Einstein nor physics plays any role in the film itself. The film is a French/Belgian/Canadian collaboration, directed by Sylvain Chomet of France. What were they thinking? Or is this just an act of whimsy with no particular raison d’être? If any of our readers has either some inside knowledge, or a good theory as to why the equations are there, we would be eager to hear about it. We will even offer a copy of the coffee-table book “Physics in the 20th Century” for a particularly convincing explana

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette

July 2004 (Volume 13, Number 7)

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Articles in this Issue
APS Joins Science Organizations in Urging Better Visa Regulations
APS Journals To Cost Less in 2005
QKD, XFELs Highlight 2004 DAMOP Meeting
AIP Plans Outreach Programs for World Year of Physics
Next-Generation Accelerators Could Hold Key to Dark Matter, Energy
Slakey's Low-Key Approach Pays Off for APS Lobbying Efforts
Small Inequalities Can Influence Women's Careers
Did Gamma Rays Cause Ordovician Mass Extinction?
Students Compete in Physics Olympiad Boot Camp
Life's Building Blocks Are Found All Over Galaxy
Who’s the Fairest of Them All?
What’s a Nice Equation Like You Doing in a Cartoon Like This?
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
Washington Dispatch