Exploring the Science of ‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix

Discover the key scientific concepts behind the highly anticipated Netflix series ‘3 Body Problem’ and gain insights from renowned astrophysicist Dr. Erin Macdonald. Explore the three-body problem, higher dimensions, quantum entanglement, and nanotechnology in this thought-provoking series.

Exploring the Science of ‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix

The highly anticipated Netflix series, ‘3 Body Problem,’ has captured the attention of viewers with its complex science and intriguing storyline. Drawing inspiration from Cixin Liu’s book trilogy, the show delves into concepts such as the titular three-body problem, higher dimensions, quantum entanglement, and nanotechnology. To help us understand the scientific aspects of the show, IGN spoke to Dr. Erin Macdonald, a renowned astrophysicist and science advisor to popular franchises like Star Trek. In this article, we will explore the key scientific concepts featured in ‘3 Body Problem’ and gain insights from Dr. Macdonald’s expertise.

Exploring the Science of '3 Body Problem' on Netflix - -1801829943

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The Three-Body Problem

At the core of the show lies the three-body problem, a physics conundrum that explores how three objects of similar mass interact with each other gravitationally. Dr. Macdonald explains that while our Solar System has settled into a stable configuration over billions of years, any additional objects that disrupt this balance are either flung out or captured by other celestial bodies. The three-body problem is extremely challenging to solve due to the chaotic nature of the interactions between these objects, making it nearly impossible to predict their movements accurately.

Higher Dimensions and Unfolding

‘3 Body Problem’ introduces the concept of higher dimensions, where the show’s characters discuss extra-dimensional manifolds. While the understanding of one, two, three, and four dimensions (spacetime) is relatively straightforward, the idea of higher dimensions becomes increasingly abstract. Dr. Macdonald explains that string theory, which suggests the existence of ten or more dimensions, is rooted in interpreting the structure of the universe based on the laws of physics. However, comprehending dimensions beyond our familiar four becomes challenging for our human brains.

In the show, the sophon particles are depicted as shrinking down to a tiny size, representing the coiling up of higher dimensions. When they unfold or uncoil, they appear enormous and block out the sun. This portrayal aligns with the concept of projecting higher dimensions into a lower dimension for human observation. While it may seem fantastical, the idea stems from the mathematical understanding of dimensions.

Quantum Entanglement

The series also explores quantum entanglement, a phenomenon described by Albert Einstein as ‘spooky action at a distance.’ Quantum entanglement refers to the correlation between two or more particles, even when they are separated by vast distances. Changes made to one entangled particle instantly affect the other, regardless of the distance between them. This property has been experimentally proven and is currently being explored as a potential means of faster-than-light communication.

Nanotechnology and Nanofibers

The show showcases advanced nanotechnology through the depiction of ultra-thin cables that possess immense strength, capable of cutting through metal effortlessly. While material scientists might cringe at the exaggerated portrayal, the underlying concept draws from the strong atomic bonds and nuclear forces. Manipulating these forces could potentially create materials with extraordinary strength. The idea of nanofibers as deadly cutting tools, although exaggerated, plays with the uncertainty principle of quantum physics.


‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix combines science and fiction to create an engaging and thought-provoking series. While some concepts may seem far-fetched, they are rooted in scientific theories and hypotheses. By exploring the three-body problem, higher dimensions, quantum entanglement, and nanotechnology, the show challenges viewers to ponder the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. With the guidance of experts like Dr. Erin Macdonald, ‘3 Body Problem’ successfully weaves complex scientific concepts into its narrative, sparking curiosity and fascination among its audience.

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