Is it possible to survive a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator?

by | May 8, 2009 04:00 PM ET

You Asked:

Is it possible to survive a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator? --- Zain, Brampton, Canada

Marshall Answered:

I assume you are referring to this scene from "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", where Indy gets inside a refrigerator seconds before a nuclear bomb detonates:

You see stuff like this in movies all the time - stuff that is just totally, ridiculously impossible - but you accept it because it is in a movie. If you think about this, our acceptance of the ridiculous is "normal" - a movie like Spiderman or Harry Potter or Star Wars would be impossible to create unless people are willing to accept ridiculous stuff within the context of a story. The art is in creating a story that is rich enough and expansive enough to allow this suspension of impossibility.

Is it possible to survive a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator? No. Ignoring the heat and the radiation and the physics, the idea that a refrigerator could be thrown that far with no visible denting or deformation is ridiculous. The movie shows for a moment the label reading "lead-lined refrigerator" - even that is ridiculous. Why would anyone create such a thing (unless for a lab storing frozen nucleotides), and why would it not deform even more on impact? Why can a car crash at 50 MPH kill a person, but a crash at 100 MPH in a refrigerator does not? Why does the small critter at the end stand there during the blast, the door opening, etc.? It's as believable as a talking dog. But movies have talking dogs in them all the time. That kind of impossibility does make for fun movies.

For more info see: Can you really outrun an explosion, like Sydney does every other week on "Alias"?

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