A Calculated Drama

A Calculated Drama

Department of Computer Science |
Share Story Related Content Add to my report

It’s quite the distance between UBC mathematics professor Robert Bridson’s home province of Newfoundland and Pandora, the lush (and hypothetical) moon in the Alpha Centauri star system made famous in the 2009 movie Avatar. Equally mysterious and far-reaching is the path to Middle-earth, as imagined in The Hobbit movie franchise (2012 and counting) or the eerily silent but gut-wrenchingly ‘real’ space in Gravity, the 2013 blockbuster.

However, it wasn’t luck, it was smarts – and Bridson’s amazing software – that helped create the incredible scenes in all three movies. At the 2015 Academy Awards, those skills won Bridson a Technical Achievement Oscar for these and other silver-screen jaw droppers and his work over the past 13 years.

Mathematicians and ‘movie magic’ might seem incongruous but in an industry now reliant on cost-effective yet ever bigger effects, it’s the behind-the-scenes math expertise that drives the increasingly more realistic computer-generated imaging.

“It has to look real,” said Bridson. “It has to behave real, and the best way to do some of those things is to go to the real laws of physics and math behind nature to simulate it.”

Read more about

Research Excellence

Related Content

UBC professor Robert Bridson receives a Technical Achievement Oscar for his work on several films over the past 13 years, including The Hobbit. Photo Credit: UBC Science

Campus

Vancouver

Mathematicians and ‘movie magic’ might seem incongruous but it’s the behind-the-scenes math expertise that drives the increasingly more realistic computer-generated imaging.

Twitter

Reducing tourist consumption of reef #fish critical for #ocean #sustainability: #UBC study. https://t.co/faz2gQuQJ4 https://t.co/EsW9zRAREW
31 min ago.
#UBC epidemiologist Jennifer Gardy talks about the importance of communicating #science research to the public https://t.co/imFZXkvSI6
about 20 hours ago.
RT @UBC: It's Science Literacy Week at @ubclibrary! See what's happening at both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses: https://t.co/wFcSpifE…
about 21 hours ago.
Even in simple AI applications lie ethical quandaries, researchers say. https://t.co/GAExfD04yK #UBC #Science… https://t.co/ao7COfs6Wa
about 22 hours ago.
RT @AngelaGooliaff: Trying to save owls 🦉 Money raised from prints at tomorrow's opening goes to @OWLRehab Come to @beatymuseum from 5-8pm…
1 day ago.
#UBC #Science alumni Dave Brett, Saber Miresmailli & Daniel Zitting are in Business in Vancouver's 40 under 40 list… https://t.co/15gFKtOJMx
1 day ago.
RT @ubcnews: MEDIA ADVISORY: #UBC experts on Mexico earthquake - https://t.co/FGY7TvfZNh #CDMX #sismocdmx #Sismomexico
1 day ago.
New test supports idea of quantum heat in vacuum, an idea called the Unruh effect after #UBC physicist William Unru… https://t.co/x9m8qvHqeO
1 day ago.
RT @ubcnews: Carlos Ventura available for comment on Mexico City earthquake. Email: ventura@civil.ubc .ca #CDMX #sismocdmx #Sismomexico
1 day ago.
An offhand comment from a professor helped Patricia Schulte realize that she could be a biologist. #UBC #Science https://t.co/Cgv622rSfV
1 day ago.