In the Spanish version, I posted about a film analysis from the film “The Arrival” (Denis Villeneueve, 2016). Now it’s time to do it in English. When spoilers get close, I will warn you so you can see the film if you didn’t see it (and you want to). As you are reading this because you are interested in knowing some scientific matches that appeared in the film, I suppose you will have watched the film.

Remembering the plot: A linguistics professor called Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is knocked to the door by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to translate some sounds emitted by a few aliens after a spaceship landed over Montana. With Ian’s help (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, they will enter the dildo-shaped extraterrestrial spaceship to figure out a great question discovered at the end of the film: Which is your purpose on the Earth?

Why would some aliens come to visit us? Posible reasons.

  • Colonization. Aliens need more vital space.
  • Exploitation. Aliens want something Earth can give them.
  • Trade. Aliens want to sell things on our planet.
  • Philanthropy. Aliens are good people and wannabe like Bill Gates, through all the galaxy.
  • Evangelism. Aliens are missionaries.
  • Tourism. Aliens are people who go here and there.
  • Conquest. Aliens want to have more area (the typical thing).
  • Zoology, geology, etc. Any animal or another thing has attracted the attention of aliens, like kangaroos to English people.
  • Networks. Aliens want to add us to an interstellar Whatsapp group.
  • Study. Aliens are beings looking forward to learning about the universe.
  • Curiosity. So what?
  • Education. Aliens want us to learn something.
  • Technologic test. Aliens want to try their spaceship works well.
  • Shelter. Aliens escape from something bad.
  • Accident. Aliens are LOST.
  • Tradition. It’s common for them to visit planets.
  • Something we won’t understand.
  • Nothing special.

Two options from the above are the reasons why they come in the film. Not one, but twelve equal spaceships in different places. Denmark, Australia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Japan, China, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Black Sea, UK, Siberia and the US one.

Enter the ship. The first thing they do to get into the extraterrestrial ship is to ride on a crane (like those used by firefighters), to get close to the entrance which is in the lower part. The entrance is opened every 18 hours. Then, a simple jump makes them rise to a ship’s wall. How? With a gravity. And a signal of that is the Colonel’s screen he wears on his arm which starts to spin.

When you set up the option of “screen rotation” on the phone or tablet, you are allowing a gyroscope to work inside. This gyroscope detects the phone’s orientation due to the gravitational force and turns its content horizontal or vertical. But, what if there are two gravitational forces, the Earth one and the ship one? Something similar to when in other films a compass starts to move everywhere: it doesn’t know which gravitational field obey to and as a result, it becomes crazy the gyroscope that makes the screen move too much.


A big gyroscope, that will stand on its tip while spinning. Source: Wikipedia.


But, what if I get intoxicated there? Something that called my attention and then I thought, was why they are so protected and, however, they leave a bird in a cage with no isolation there. There are two types of intoxication they could suffer: chemical-biological and radioactive. If there is a chemical substance that is toxic to humans, PROBABLY it might be for the bird and it would already be dead by entering. If the ship was radioactive: it is emitting constant radiation or it’s too little. In case it isn’t, the bird would already be dead. Maybe it’s dying slowly by being exposed to these conditions. Anyway, taking off the protection suit is a great feat for humans to show themselves how they are really. Finally, they discover it isn’t radioactive. Radioactivity is measured in Becquerels.


Henri Becquerel, a man with a measuring unit of his surname. Source:


In fractions, everything is clearer. Theoretical physicist Ian, after observing a 3D map with dots, discovered that empty space represented a number: 0.083333… It is a mixed recurring decimal number. Decimal because it has cyphers to the point. Mixed recurring because some of them repeat themselves infinitely, but not all. Only number 3 is repeated, 0 and 8 not. Although the number goes to the infinity, it’s rational, which means that it can be represented in fraction form. I explain you how.

The number well represented is 0.08͡3.

We take the number without the point and we subtract the non-periodic part. 83-8=75

Then: we take as 9’s as periodic cyphers are (in our case, only number 3) and as 0’s as non-periodic cyphers are (from the decimal part, and remember the decimal 0) –> 900

We put it as a fraction and we simplify as much as we can. 75 / 900 (:75) = 1 / 12.

A twelfth is a part that the investigators represent in Montana because there are 12 places in where there are ships and they need to do something important: cooperate. Among all the information they collect in the twelve camps, they must accomplish the target aliens wanted.


Everyone on their own. Those who are reading this now, you are doing it in a language: English. Among other things, it is a linear language, written from left to right and every separated unit from another is a word. For heptapodes (seven-feet), the writing is circular, and every ring they form expresses a phrase. The patterns searching on rings will help to find the words they want to say and create a dictionary. They say their writing is semasiographic, that as they say, it expresses a meaning but there is no sound. Furthermore, there is no relation between what heptapodes say (I guess it is the noise) and what they write (the rings).


We are working on it, we can almost write novels in Hectapodish. Source:


Ending explanation. Doubtlessly, the team working divided by 12 would solve earlier the communication between hectapodes and humans. What aliens wanted was to practise a zero-sum game. It’s a kind of situation in which two beings or groups of beings lose and win at the same time, so that, the loss is balanced out with a winning. The aliens have come to show us their language and teach us how to see the future. In exchange, we will have to help them, (it is not said exactly why) when 3000 years passed. Seeing the future? Yes, because even our time is linear, for them, the time can have skips and see what’s going to happen and react before time, etc. As I believe, that feat doesn’t help them to save themselves.

So: what we thought at the beginning that the lead had a daughter who died is not “had”, but “will have”. Her husband will be a theoretical physicist (Jeremy Renner). That explains this:

  • The father left them because the mother predicted that their daughter would die from something very grave.
  • The girl project “Dad and Mum talk to animals” was created from the story she listened to.

In addition, since Louis is the one who has received the ability to foresee the facts, she convinces the Chinese General to abort the war declaration by repeating the words his wife said before she died.

Read the Spanish version here.