By now everyone has probably seen the high-larious clip of Morgan Freeman inhaling helium for his hit science show Through the Wormhole, which kicks off its fifth season this Wednesday on the Science Channel. The velvet-voiced Oscar winner took it up a few octaves all in the name of science, and that's why fans keep coming back for more. As host of the Through the Wormhole, Freeman makes you want to unravel the mysteries of universe. Think of him as a modern Mr. Wizard, only cooler and with some serious Hollywood cred, having starred in films such as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, and Million Dollar Baby.
We caught up with Freeman and talked about the science behind the show's appeal, his helium high and whether there may be any alien encounters in our future.
Through the Wormhole has been on for five seasons now. How do you explain the appeal of the show?
It might sound self-congratulatory, but if you have clever writers, you are going to intrigue your audience and we seem to have done that from young people to septuagenarians. The show makes complicated subject matter understandable. And we try to find new ideas, even if it’s shocking or surprising sometimes.
Most of us know you as an Oscar-award winning actor, but for this show, you help explain complex scientific ideas. Were you a science whiz in school?
I was terrible at science, I responded very well to physics, however. All the rest of the sciences in high school were a different story. I didn’t understand chemistry at all. But physics stayed with me.
In a clip from the upcoming season you explained a gravity experiment after sucking on helium. Can you tell us how that idea came up? What was your reaction when they floated the idea?
I had never done that before. And it does tickle you when your voice comes out like that. Our writing team comes up with all of these things and my response is usually, “What!?”
We know you've been fighting to get the word out about climate change for years. But a recent study showed that most people are apathetic about engaging on this topic. How are we doing on the issue of climate change?
Scientists who are concerned with climate change are doing the best they can to get the word out to the populous. But some say there’s no way to reverse the process. And if that’s the case, we’re just going to have to take our lumps.
A number of the show's episodes explore what alien life would be like. You've had a chance to meet with leading scientists and talk to them about this subject. Do you think there's life out there?
Absolutely, I do. Let’s look at this mathematically. We’re in one galaxy with 200 billion stars. There are countless galaxies out there, but you can say that in most of those galaxies there can be 200 billion stars. It’s inconceivable that in all that possibility there is not more life. It depends on the environment. . .but there’s life for sure.