Indiana Jones‘ ‘Nuke the Fridge’ Plot Is, Shockingly, Scientifically Impossible

Sorry, George Lucas, but don't expect to successfully ride out a nuclear apocalypse in your refrigerator.

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With apologies to Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, there were a lot of reasons to dislike Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Now you can add faulty science to the list. And we’re not talking about archaeology — we’re talking about the fact that apparently you can’t actually ride out a nuclear blast from inside a refrigerator. Shocked? Yeah, neither are we.

Remember the scene where Indy survived a nuclear attack inside a refrigerator? Watch the clip above for a refresher.

(MORE: ‘Nuke the Fridge’ in 2008′s Top Buzzwords)

That scene has caused a lot of consternation for scientists and accuracy loving film fans. Could that stunt work? If there’s a nuclear threat, should we all climb in our fridges instead of our bomb shelters? There was just something about the scene that resonated with audiences and has caused this “nuke the fridge” question to linger on the Internet, far longer than the question of why Spielberg thought aliens would spice up the Indiana Jones franchise. Just when the furor was dying down, George Lucas brought it back to life, by insisting that it is absolutely possible to survive a nuclear attack by hunkering down in a fridge.

In response to this claim, a civic-minded scientist has subjected the stunt to the rigors of scientific peer review and posted the results on Overthinking It, a blog with a tagline of “where we subject the popular culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve.” After a careful and extremely thorough crunching of the numbers comparing drag, wind resistance, the energy and force of an atomic bomb blast versus a solid Frigidaire, Dr. David Shechner concluded that, sadly, it just wasn’t possible. Then he goes ahead and lists all the ways that beloved hero and professor of archaeology Indiana Jones would perish in the blast. In short, sorry George Lucas, but it’s back to digging the bomb shelter in the basement.

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2 comments
Behemoth
Behemoth

This is Indiana Jones. The same franchise where we saw the heroes avoid falling to their deaths by sitting in a life raft. Don't see anyone complaining about that.

If you want good science, you probably shouldn't be watching any movies ever.