18 February 2007

Good science in movies

Channel surfing yesterday, I watched a bit of Contact. Jodie Foster's character said that the frequency of the extraterrestrial transmission was "hydrogen times pi." I never noticed this earlier. They claimed that it was about 4Ghz and change. I thought, couldn't be hydrogen mass, which is just over one by our own scale. It had to be some universal scale - so I checked out Contact on Phil Plait's site, and that phrase isn't mentioned.

So, googling around, found that the the 21 cm hydrogen emmisions are also called the hydrogen line at 1,420 Ghz.

1 420.40575 * pi = 4 462.33627

I'm impressed that this was correct although hidden in the dropped word "line" from the statement. Or am I too much of a geek?

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