Dr. Matthewson's line, "fellow sons of bitches," is a reference to original Manhattan Project scientist Kenneth Bainbridge. Following the first successful test explosion of an atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, Bainbridge said to fellow project scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches."
The science projects and kids in the background of the science fair scenes were actual NYC middle school students with real science projects which were submitted to the NYC borough-wide science fair. These scenes were filmed over a three-day period at the Penta Hotel in NYC on 33rd St.
Several technicians are seen wearing shirts reading "Cayuga" on the back. Cayuga Productions was the name of Rod Serling's company that produced The Twilight Zone (1959). Ithaca, NY, is the home of Cornell University. "Cayuga" is the name of the lake on campus.
Early in the film Paul sees his mom reading a book she describes as "just another novel". Later in the film when the helicopter arrives over the house, the camera shows the book is by Frederick Forsyth, and the title is "The Fourth Protocol", a fiction book that involves a compact nuclear weapon. It was made into a film released in 1987, The Fourth Protocol (1987).
During the opening credit sequence, a DeLorean automobile is clearly visible, a possible nod to Back to the Future (1985) which had been released the previous year. Both movies' plots revolved around plutonium.