Scientists noticed an error in the new season of 'Stranger Things'

Season 3 of Netflix's "Stranger Things" expresses a subtle appreciation of science and gives an even bigger nod to science fiction. But the curiosity voyage...

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 5:59 AM

Season 3 of Netflix's "Stranger Things" expresses a subtle appreciation of science and gives an even bigger nod to science fiction. But the curiosity voyage gets a little off track with its science, and we're not talking about exploding rats or people consuming copious amounts of chemicals.

As our young heroes try to save the world from ending again, only one thing can help them close the gate to the Upside Down and effectively kill the creature trying to destroy everything they hold dear in 1985: Planck's constant.

Planck's constant, named for physicist Max Planck, is a key quantity in quantum physics. It's the amount of energy carried by a photon with the frequency of its electromagnetic wave.

On the show, grownups Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers have infiltrated a secret Russian base deep beneath Starcourt Mall, and they're trying to crack open a safe that contains two keys to close the gate. Before he was murdered, Russian scientist Alexei told investigative journalist Murray Bauman that Planck's constant is the code needed to open the safe.

But when Hopper plugs in the code, it doesn't work. Bauman remembered Planck's constant incorrectly.

Dustin realizes that the one person who can help in them in this pre-Google age is his new girlfriend from Camp Know Where, Suzie. But Dustin lives in Hawkins, Indiana, and Suzie lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, so he uses the homemade ham radio he placed at the highest point in Hawkins to reach her.

Of course, to coax this number out of Suzie, Dustin must serenade her with the theme from "The Neverending Story." But that's another story for another day.

After chastising him for not remembering it, Suzie recites Planck's constant as 6.62607004 (without the units that come after it). Hopper tries the code, and the safe opens so he and Joyce can retrieve the keys.

But scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology noticed during their viewing of "Stranger Things" that this is the value established for Planck's constant in 2014.

In 1985, when the show is set, it would have been the value established in 1973, which is 6.626176* 10^-34.

The constant has changed as scientists have learned to measure it better over time with modern instruments, said Ben Stein of the institute's public affairs office.

In 2018, the number was updated again and adopted as part of the redefinition of the International System of Units, Stein said. That effort redefinited the kilogram and other units in terms of fundamental constants.

Planck's constant is currently known as 6.62607015* 10^-34 Joule seconds. Thank them the next time it comes up at trivia.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3147735

Reported Deaths: 36846
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles106550515184
San Bernardino2628581594
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2255582344
Orange2214932625
Santa Clara964351181
Kern89095590
Fresno847441043
Sacramento828611157
Alameda69693886
Ventura64404507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54416487
Stanislaus43938788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30027278
Santa Barbara26514264
Solano26494111
Imperial25562493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24761247
Kings19760160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16437151
Madera13781151
Santa Cruz12687130
Marin11930163
Yolo11014138
Shasta9920129
Butte9711134
El Dorado800259
Sutter792783
Napa782847
Lassen526916
San Benito514348
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada329674
Mendocino325635
Amador304232
Lake268132
Humboldt249425
Glenn198522
Colusa18549
Calaveras167223
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3873
Mariposa3464
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Oroville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Chico
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 28°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 28°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Some snow and rain possible Sunday into Monday. A major winter storm will bring up to 7 feet of snow to the mountains and multiple inches of rain to the valley Tuesday through Friday and keep temperatures cold.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events