Meeting Information

How Science Fiction Becomes Science

May 19, 2021

Date: May 19, 2021
Speaker: Charles Adler, St Mary's College of Maryland
Title: How Science Fiction Becomes Science
Location: 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada). Attendees can sign in anytime after 12:30 p.m.

Abstract: Science fiction in the movies and TV shows lots of things that never happened, or hasn’t happened yet: the “warp drive”, colonies on other planets, and flying cars, to name a few. Why haven’t they happened yet? Could they? And what distinguishes science fiction ideas that became real versus those that didn’t? We are going to consider several ideas from science fiction, including space travel, flying and self-driving cars, and the warp drive to see which ones worked, which ones didn’t, and which ones might still be possible. More importantly, we will also look at the scientific and societal reasons why.

Biography: Chuck Adler has been a member of the Physics faculty at St Mary's College of Maryland for the past 23 years. He received his doctorate in laser physics from Brown University in 1992. He is the author of over 40 scientific papers and the popular book Wizards, Aliens and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction. The book won several awards, including the 2015 Science Communication Award of the American Institute of Physics. His Great Courses lecture series, “How Science Shapes Science Fiction”, was recently released by the Teaching Company.

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