After much anticipation, the new Ghostbusters film is finally here (hooray). The female fronted reboot of the 1984 classic tells the same story as the original Ghostbusters but with a new, modern take. The bare bones of the film still stand — including the story about how an eclectic mix of Manhattanites came together to discover and bust ghosts. But is any of the science in Ghostbusters real?
While the exact formulations seen behind Kristen Wiig in the film's first trailer may look like a bunch of random letters and numbers combined, they might actually mean something. As it turns out, Ghostbusters 2016 director Paul Feig brought in two scientists to consult on the use of science in the film — how cool is that?
According to a very interesting feature from Wired, Feig wanted the film's setting to look as accurate as possible — which meant meeting with professors and touring labs at MIT. Kristen Wiig plays a character in the new film named Erin Gilbert who is a physicist and physics professor at Columbia University in New York City. In order to make that as convincing as possible, Feig took notes on his tour of MIT. Those random numbers and letters written on the whiteboard behind Wiig in the film's trailer? They're actually real equations written by one of the film's consultants, Lindley Winslow. How is that for accurate?
"They wanted it to be authentic. Right up to the point when the ghosts show up," Winslow said.
So while the science in the film looks pretty accurate and tries to be as accurate as possible, the key word is try. Meaning, yes Kristen Wiig might play a pretty convincing physics professor, the millions of people living in Manhattan might not be seeing ghosts any time soon.
Not only was Wiig's character based on a real professor, the proton packs used to bust ghosts are also based on real science. According to Popular Science, Feig also called in particle physicist James Maxwell to help design the proton packs the women wear on their backs.
"I wanted to add real-life physics to a fantastical device," Maxwell said. "I had to consider, 'If a proton pack were to work, how would it?'"
Considering how critical some people have been towards the film having a female lead, it is incredibly assuring to know that people can't be critical of the science in the film — the science is accurate. Not only is it accurate, it is empowering to see women being smart and badass on the big screen in the film, all across the nation.