In the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode "Subspace Rhapsody," the crew gets caught in a situation where everyone on the Enterprise

starts singing their emotions.

Uhura has to find a way to get them out of this predicament, and

as she gets to her own rapturous solo,

we can see several complex vfx mathematical formulas encircling her as she finds a solution (perfect clip here). What kinds of formulas were these? Were they related to linguistics at all, or were they random formulas just copied and pasted there to make it look like she was actually doing something?

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  • 2
    They're backwards and blurry, which makes it hard to identify them. My off-the-cuff guess would be that they're a random selection from a physics book.
    – user888379
    Oct 29, 2023 at 20:28
  • 1
    At 0:06 we see the equations for general relativity Oct 29, 2023 at 21:28
  • 4
    The equations are recognizably as having been created using Microsoft's equation tool for Word, Excel, etc.—a product that almost no one with professional-level understanding of astrophysics uses. Since the most clearly visible ones are concerned with general relativity, they were almost certainly produced or copied by somebody who had little or no idea what they meant.
    – Buzz
    Oct 30, 2023 at 1:38
  • 4
    I have to disagree @KlausÆ.Mogensen When you see a G_{mu nu}, an R_{mu nu}, and a Lambda (not to mention a ds^2), it must be GR formalism. There may be errors and elisions, but I think it has to be an attempt to represent formulae from general relativity. Oct 30, 2023 at 12:41
  • 1
    Certainly not linguistics Nov 1, 2023 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


As the sequence begins and the equations start flowing around Uhuru, we can see one very familiar group at 0:06:

General relativity tensors from a free-frame of "Subspace Rhapsody"

G_{mu nu} is the conventional notation for the Einstein tensor, R_{mu nu} is the representation of the Ricci tensor, and it appears to be being defined in the final line in terms of a contraction of the Riemann curvature tensor. These are all basic quantities used in general relativity; the field equations are expressed in terms of G, R, and the energy-momentum tensor, T.

This is further reinforced by a group of expressions lower down the screen:

Invariant interval, screen-shot from "Subspace Rhapsody"

This appears to define the "invariant interval", ds^2, another common expression used in general relativity. A capital Greek lambda is also used frequently in the sequence. In general relativity this is used to denote the cosmological constant, so it is plausible to suppose that the equations relate to calculating the solutions to the Einstein field equations with a non-zero cosmological constant. Clearly some typographical errors have occurred (such as an orphan "+" within a parenthesis), but I think it is clear that the equations originate from a general relativity text, and were probably copied by the effects department without much care as to accuracy.

  • That's exactly what I was thinking!!!
    – agarza
    Oct 30, 2023 at 14:24
  • If anything it seems like more effort to introduce errors and variable changes than just copy paste some Wikipedia article on tensors. Oct 30, 2023 at 17:55

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