7 Times That "Rick and Morty" Got the Science Right

Rick and Morty is a great example of sci-fi fantasy, and some of the episodes are actually based on truth.
Christopher McFadden
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 If you are a fan of "Rick and Morty" you might be surprised how accurate some of the episodes are in science reality. Here are 7 examples of how the series got some science right.


How old is "Rick and Morty"?

"Rick and Morty" first aired on December 2nd, 2013. This makes the series, at the time of writing, just under 5 years old. 

Has "Rick and Morty" been canceled?

According to an article by The Independent, "Rick and Morty" has not been canceled by Adult Swim. In response to a tweet by co-creator Dan Harmon back in 2018 is not the case.

This led to some understandable confusion from fans at the time but int was in fact unfounded. 

What is "Rick and Morty" based on?

"Rick and Morty" are loved by millions of people around the world, but what, if anything, was the inspiration for the series? According to Mental Floss: -

"The show was inspired by Roiland's vulgar take on Back to the Future" The basic foundation of Rick and Morty spun out of one of Roiland's earlier Channel 101 ideas called The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti."

Examples of times that Rick and Morty got the science right

So, without further ado, here are some examples where "Ric and Morty "got science right. The following are in no particular order and are far from exhaustive.

1. Cockroach mind control is actually a thing

In Season 3, Episode 3 of Rick and Morty, "Pickle Rick", Rick is in fact turned into a pickle. While this is probably never going to be possible in reality, another part of the episode is not that far from scientific reality. 

Pickle-Rick managed to trap a cockroach and takes control of it by manipulating the insect's brain using, of all things, his tongue. Discussions of whether or not a transmogrified human-pickle would have a tongue aside, the idea of controlling insects through nervous system manipulation is certainly a science fact. 

Researchers have been able to do just that through "brain" stimulation

"Precise anatomical location aside, there is a spot in the insect brain that, if you poke it, you'll get legs to move (among other things): It's called the central complex," Matt Brady wrote in his book "The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth's Stupidest Show."

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In the episode, Rick's tongue saturated with potassium and sodium is able to disrupt the normal functions of the cockroach's mind. In the real world, kits have been developed to perform a similar function but take a little bit of cockroach surgery to work. 

2. Multiverses are a staple of the show and physics

Multiverses are another common theme of the show. But, as you are probably already aware, it is also heavily championed by many scientists around the world. 

One prominent proponent is Prof. Brian Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University in New York City who has produced a model of nine multiverses.

Another example is Max Tegmark, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has suggested that there could be up to four multiverses.

"A large number of physicists now believe at least one version of what Greene and Tegmark have proposed, or something very close to it," Brady writes in his book.

"Figuring out what type of multiverse, that's going to be the trick," Brady adds.

What is interesting is that the concept of "infinite" multiverses often cited in "Rick and Morty", and by extension, infinite copies of everyone and everything is well within the realm of possibility - - at least theoretically.

After all, if true, why would there be a limit on them?

3. The constant interplay of ethics and science

Another common theme of "Rick and Morty" is the issue of unforeseen circumstances and by extension the importance of ethics, from Rick's scientific developments. Rick's agenda in the series is often in conflict with what most people would consider "right" or acceptable.

Human cloning and human genome manipulation being a prime example. There are various episodes where Rick creates a clone of either himself or other characters to perform some action according to Rick's desires.

Scientists have made significant advances in cloning since Dolly the sheep was created in 1997. Many are confident it could be possible to clone a human being too. 

But many warn that it may lead to significant developmental deformity or death of the clone. Not to mention the basic ethics of performing such action.

"To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum [playing chaos theory mathematician Ian Malcolm in "Jurassic Park"], 'You can do this, but should you do this?' That's one of the strong arguments that we've historically made in science," Brady explains in his book. 

4. Microscopic medical machines might be a reality soon

In Season 1, Episode 3, "Anatomy Park" of "Rick and Morty" Rick shrinks Morty and injects him into a homeless man to save a place called "Anatomy Park". But this is nothing new in science fiction.

It has was first introduced in the 1966 sci-fi classic "Fantastic Voyage" and the later 1987 (dare we say, classic) "Innerspace".

But, this might soon be a reality - - in a manner of speaking. Nanotechnological developments are making significant progress in developing microscopic medical machines.

Experiments have been conducted successfully to send inject and operate such machines in living animal subjects. With some more development, these could readily be used in human beings to deliver drugs to specific areas in the not too distant future. 

5. Robots giving birth is actually a thing

In Season 1, Episode 7 "Raising Gazorpazorp" of "Rick and Morty", Rick becomes the father to an alien baby. Not out of the norm for sci-fi except for the fact that the" mother" was a robot. 

After impregnating the robot, the mother gives birth to a half-human, half-gazorpian child. For extra context, in the episode, Gazorpazorp is a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy where females incubate sex robots to continue the species without the need to mate with males. 

What is interesting, is that there are actually machines that simulate problematic births today. Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital has developed a robot, called Victoria, which acts as a "highly realistic" patient simulator for c-sections. 

6. That time "Rick and Morty" made a nod to Schrodinger

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Source: Dhatfield/Wikimedia Commons

In Season 2, Episode 1, "A Rickle in Time", Rick and Morty are in a quantum-uncertain state of existence. After an argument between some characters, two alternative timelines are created.

This creates a rift in the space-time continuum that needs to be resolved leading to some typical "Rick and Morty" shenanigans. However, the main message of the episode is when Rick explains that there are not any timelines, only uncertainty. 

To explain his point, Rick opens a garage door to reveal their house floating in the middle of a space surrounded by cats. This is an obvious nod to Schrodinger's famed 1935 thought experiment.

7. "Total Rickall" is basically about rabies

In Season 2, Episode 4, "Total Rickall", the Smith Family are put into lockdown in an attempt to eliminate some parasites that invade people's brains to manipulate their behavior.

What is interesting, from a scientific perspective, is the fact that this exists in reality - - to a certain degree. Rabies, a contagious and often fatal viral infection, tends to take control of the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus of victims (inluding humans).

The affected parts of the victim's brain help control memory, fear response and, by extension, and emotions. Rabies can, given half the chance, also dictate how the host releases serotonin.

In this sense, a rabies infection can and will alter how the host thinks and feels. 

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