Meet the Two Female MIT Physicists Who Helped Ghostbusters Stay as Close to Reality as Possible

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Whether you realize it or not, the new Ghostbusters is packed with as many close-to-reality details as humanly possible. This was done thanks to the efforts of the two MIT physicists who served as consultants for the film: Janet Conrad and Lindley Winslow. You can catch their work in all the assorted notes strewn about Yates and Holtzmann’s lab in the university, and even the books in Gilbert’s office. As well, the equations on the whiteboard behind Gilbert early on in the movie are (mostly) all real. Aside from the Paranormal Studies Lab reference, the equations (apparently) tell the story of a failed physics theory called SU(5). What you see on the board was transcribed from some notes given by Winslow. Neat, right?

But the detail doesn’t stop there. Apparently even the papers strewn about their desks were held to a ridiculous amount of detail. There were grant applications, physics papers, and all sorts of goodies everywhere that I didn’t even realize were floating about until I read about them today.

What’s even funnier is that Conrad took the opportunity to take a poke at string theorists, of all people, by giving Rowan North (the villain) a string theory paper. Said Conrad, “Of course we made the woman a neutrino theorist and the bad guy a string theorist.” Ha ha, take that, string theorists. (Jessica said, with all these advanced science jokes totally going over her head.)

Anyway, you should check out the full story over on WIRED. It’s a fun read, even if you (like me) aren’t an MIT physicist.

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Author
Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.