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The 3-Body Problem: What is the countdown that affects scientists?



Series The 3-Body Problem starts strong by presenting many mysteries from its first episode, and one of them is enough to disturb the spectators: what is this countdown that only certain scientists can see?

Considered by many to be the series of the year for Netflix, The 3-Body Problem is finally available on the streaming platform. And barely has the first episode launched when a first mystery already strikes the spectators: a terrifying countdown, which only targets scientists.

Indeed, after a particularly violent introductory scene, the story does not give its audience time to catch their breath and catapults them to a crime scene in England. We then meet Inspector Da Shi, studying the walls covered with a countdown in blood letters. The victim, a researcher who died in grim conditions, was tipped to win the next Nobel Prize in Physics.

Later, it is Auggie Salazar, member of the group of five heroes of the series, who will be targeted: but what is this strange countdown and what does it mean?

Warning: the rest of this article contains spoilers from the series The 3-Body Problem on Netflix, including one of the major twists and turns of season 1.

What is the countdown that attacks scholars in The 3-Body Problem ?

From the start of the series, we know that the countdown only affects scientists. Auggie is herself part of the elite, and is at the head of research into nanofibers capable of revolutionizing many fields, including medicine.

But she endures the countdown, which only she can see. If the situation generates a lot of stress for the young woman, it is above all because she has no explanation for its origin. But also because the countdown only leaves him a short time before reaching a zero that is as terrifying as it is mysterious.

It is only during a meeting with a stranger in the street that Auggie will obtain a semblance of an answer: to end the countdown, she will have to stop her research on nanofibers. But who is behind the phenomenon, and why such a requirement?

In reality, it is an offensive by an extraterrestrial civilization seeking to conquer the world, the San-Ti. On their way to taking over the Earth, the aliens are however aware of one of their weaknesses: their technology evolves a thousand times slower than that of humans. However, it will take them more than four centuries before reaching our planet. These visitors from elsewhere therefore took the lead and launched a first attack.

Their weak point is the slowness of their science? In this case, they will do everything to slow down that of humans! In 2024, San-Ti's knowledge is still the most advanced, but it must remain so to give them the advantage. Extraterrestrials have managed to create conscious computers, capable of imposing visions and other hallucinations on their victims. This is how researchers began to see these countdowns, manipulating them and turning their heads to force them to stop their research or commit suicide.

However, in revealing their strategy, the aliens have made a mistake: for the humans will obviously counterattack, embarking on several daring plans and also relying on science in the end of the first season of the 3 Body Problem.

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