Scientist Refutes George Lucas's Claim That Indiana Jones Could Survive Nuking The Fridge

Entertainment Editor


Remember that scene (first video below) in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when Indy climbed into a fridge at a nuclear test site, was flung several hundred feet, and somehow survived the heat, radiation, and multitude of impacts with no serious injuries? Spielberg recently took the blame for the scene (but blamed Lucas for the aliens). Then, in a recent interview, Lucas contradicted Spielberg (which is something only billionaires can get away with).

“It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.” In fact, it was Spielberg who “didn’t believe” the scene. In response to Spielberg’s fears, Lucas put together a whole nuking-the-fridge dossier. It was about six inches thick, he indicated with his hands. Lucas said that if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck when the fridge crashed to earth, and if he were able to get the door open, he could, in fact, survive. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said. [NYT]

Despite what George Lucas’s six inches (of documents) may have promised you, Dr. David Shechner of Overthinking It has studied the same scenario and settled on very different results. The “he would be so dead” sort of results.

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. [TIME]

Shechner’s entire paper is a treasure, but I’d like to excerpt my favorite part:

Strictly speaking, however, most of the film would hold together nicely, were it not for two flawed points:

  1. The sequence in which a human being survives a close-range atomic detonation by enclosing himself in a lead-lined refrigerator, and
  2. Every other scene in the movie.

Sure, you say that now, but you haven’t seen George Lucas’s six inches (of documents) on the existence of extra-dimensional aliens or his six inches (of documents) on the ease of training a bunch of monkeys to be your personal army in just a few seconds during a car chase? He keeps all these dossiers in a file cabinet labelled Haters gon’ hate.

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