How crazy was it to see Patrick Stewart in character?
Pill: It was really thrilling. But the nice thing about it, and Patrick has spoken of this, is that he honestly lost track of where he begins and Picard ends. And so, there is definitely an element of once you know Patrick, you kind of know Picard, they are very closely related to each other. And they're both awesome. [Laughs.] So meeting Patrick and listening to him quote Shakespeare, listening to his thoughts and stories about RSC days -- just the best stories. But as to getting into the groove of him being on the ship, that was all very exciting. The first time he said, "Engage," we all did get chills.
I definitely teared up, just watching it on TV. Speaking of which, I also want to talk about Devs -- it's insanely good and insanely weird. How did that come about?
Pill: Alex [Garland] reached out to me, and I was so fucking excited because I don't think there's anybody working today that has just consistently turned out such interesting art. I was so thrilled by Ex Machina. I don't watch that many movies. I don't really like that many movies. [Laughs.] But I kept thinking about it, the philosophical discussion, the technological discussion, the gender discussion, the makeup of this group of humans sitting in a house, the glorious way it was shot. So when he sent me these eight scripts, I was pretty much like, I'm gonna love this. It inspired me and I hope it inspires others to feel that they're more capable of asking big questions than they might think. I think a lot of us struggled with high school math, and then didn't think we were capable of even understanding science or higher math. I mean, I don't understand the equations, but the actual thought process involved in it is fascinating. I wish we read more about the history of science and math, because the progression of ideas I think is really fascinating and really helpful. Our minds are more capable than we think. I think there's an invitation to be that smart. I don't think it's meant to be like, We're cooler and smarter than you. Like, please, no, come along on this ride, because these are crazy concepts. They are unnatural concepts for our brains to even comprehend. This invitation to think big thoughts is my favorite part of the show.
Could you give me a rundown of quantum physics real quick?
Pill: Sure. Okay. So, one of the most important experiments is the double slit experiment. Niels Bohr did it. This is, like, 100 years ago. They were able to see in sending particles through, like, you could either see it on the back -- oh my god, it's so hard to explain without a drawing. Okay, so there's a wall in front with two slits, and there's a wall in the back with a sensor. And, basically, sending particles through, you expect to see them going to random sides, but you end up, on the back, seeing a pattern that makes it look like they're operating like waves in their effect on each other. You can see how one going through one side and one going through the other, they kind of bump up against each other the way that waves would bump up against each other. But you've only been sending one particle through. Right?
Pill: So, how are they operating like waves bumping into each other, and showing a pattern like that on the back? They've bumped in a kind of -- I'm doing a lot of hand movements right now. It's like the way you see water lapping up against something, and then if there's a wave that comes in from a different side, how that wave gets knocked off course and cut short. So, the thing can't decide between being a wave and a particle. It acts as both. So that's crazy. And then there's this whole thing about the physics of the observer. A particle will seem as though it's gone through both slits until you put a sensor on one of the slits, and then it seems to decide which one it went through. And then you get into spooky action at a distance, which is, you know. [Sighs.] It's really mind-blowing. So, there are two related particles, they can be literally light years apart, and their spin-up spin-down will be the same, no matter how far apart they are. There's not enough time for them to communicate. It's an instantaneous reaction. They've done experiments across the globe with two related particles, and they behave in the exact same way at the exact same time. There's no time for them to communicate, because according to time-space you need time to cross that space. There needs to be a lag in their reaction. There's got to be a lag in the same way that there's a lag when you try to sing with somebody on FaceTime. But there's no lag. They seem to be communicating with each other. They're tiny particles, they've moved in the exact same way at the exact same time. There seems to be some sort of connection that defies the time-space continuum.
Pill: [Laughs.] So there's a lot of shit that you're like, This defies everything that I believe about the physical world. Things are not the binary sense that we have. This is not the way we operate in the Newtonian universe.