Meet the Physicist Who Is Changing Movie Science, from ‘Avengers’ to ‘Palm Springs’

Meet the Physicist Who Is Changing Movie Science, from ‘Avengers’ to ‘Palm Springs’
When the filmmaking team behind “Palm Springs” wanted to bring a sci-fi element to a premise similar to “Groundhog Day,” they needed help. The movie finds a pair of wedding guests, Nyles and Sarah (Andy Samberg and Cristin Milotti) stuck in a time loop, forced to live through the same day again and again. To explain that, they needed some science — or, at least, a scientific advisor. Turns out, there’s a toll-free number for that.

Dialing 1-844-need-sci leads to the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a program run by the United States National Academy of Science, which helps connect storytellers with the brainiacs they need. In the case of “Palm Springs,” the answer was swift: Oh, it’s about space-time stuff? You want to talk to Clifford.

That would be Clifford V. Johnson, the British theoretical physicist and USC professor whose input has helped everything from “Avengers: Endgame” to
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