A new project funded by the National Science Foundation uses the interactive nature of digital narrative to invite deeper conversations about creativity and responsibility. Learn moreNina Miller October 15, 2015
A new project funded by the National Science Foundation uses the interactive nature of digital narrative to invite deeper conversations about creativity and responsibility.
Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and NewSpace Initiative will present the latest installment of the Science Fiction TV Dinner series on Thursday, October 8 at 5:30 pm at the Marston Exploration Theater on ASU’s Tempe campus.Joey Eschrich September 29, 2015
Event features free food along with a screening of Star Trek: The Original Series and expert panelists
Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and NewSpace Initiative will present the latest installment of the Science Fiction TV Dinner series on Thursday, October 8 at 5:30 pm at the Marston Exploration Theater on ASU’s Tempe campus.
The event, focused on the classic television series Star Trek: The Original Series, will feature Scott Parazynski, ASU’s University Explorer, former NASA astronaut, and Mount Everest climber, alongside Marcy Steinke, a retired Air Force Colonel, former Director of the White House Operations Directorate under Presidents Bush and Obama, and Senior Vice President of Government Relations at DigitalGlobe, a leading provider of high-resolution satellite images of Earth. The event is part of ASU’s celebration of World Space Week (October 4-10), an annual international celebration of space science and technology coordinated by the United Nations.
The event is free and open to the public, with reservations requested through asustartrek.eventbrite.com. Dinner and beverages, including a vegetarian option, will be provided for free to the first 150 attendees.
Before the event, at 4:30 pm, the NewSpace Initiative will host a public reception with light refreshments in the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB4) lobby.
The Science Fiction TV Dinner series is a launch pad for imaginative conversations about science, technology, art and society. Founded in 2012, the series has developed an enthusiastic following at ASU and beyond, providing the opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together, learn, and explore visions of the future in an entertaining and informal setting. Previous events have featured popular science fiction shows such as The Walking Dead, Star Trek and The Jetsons.
This installment of the series will feature a screening of “The Trouble with Tribbles,” a canonical episode of Star Trek: The Original Series that premiered in 1967. The episode features furry, unforgettably-adorable little creatures (the titular “tribbles”) and explores issues of interplanetary commerce and foreign policy relations between humans and other species expanding throughout the cosmos.
Following the screening, Center for Science and the Imagination director Ed Finn will moderate a conversation with Parazynski and Steinke, drawing on their expertise in space science and exploration and examining the scientific, technological, and cultural aspects of the episode.
“The Science Fiction TV Dinner series uses compelling stories as a gateway to important issues in science and technology as well as ethics and society,” says Finn. “I’m excited to delve into the imagination and artistry that goes into creating Star Trek’s vision of the future, and to use this classic episode as a starting point for thinking about the economic and political aspects of a spacefaring future for humans.”
For more information, visit asustartrek.eventbrite.com.
Media contact: Joey Eschrich
Higher education is obsessed with 3-D printing. Makerspaces and fab labs are sprouting like extruded weeds on college campuses, and everyone from business school deans to librarians are asking how 3-D printing and fabrication can be implemented in teaching.Ed Finn September 21, 2015
By Ed Finn
Higher education is obsessed with 3-D printing. Makerspaces and fab labs are sprouting like extruded weeds on college campuses, and everyone from business school deans to librarians are asking how 3-D printing and fabrication can be implemented in teaching. It’s a compelling vision: With rapid prototyping we can create a physical version of any object we can imagine, encouraging students to combine design, critical thinking, and STEM (or is it STEAM?) skills as they remake the world.
The problem is, 3-D printing takes a really long time. The low- and mid-range printers that most students will encounter in their school facilities take hours to produce even small objects, and they usually use just one kind of material (typically a plastic that the printer head can melt and then deposit in carefully planned layers of material). In my home department at Arizona State University, the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, we have an amazing fabrication lab with multiple printers, laser cutters, and other devices, but every semester it’s the same story. Assigning my class of 40 students to produce something on the printer means 40 print jobs that each might take hours to complete. And that’s assuming that students who have never used these tools before came up with a design that’s actually going to work on the first try. (It usually doesn’t.)
The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University invites writers to submit short stories that explore climate change, science and human futures for its first Climate Fiction Short Story Contest. The submission deadline is Jan. 15, 2016, and contest entry is free. The contest will be judged by science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson.Joey Eschrich September 18, 2015
ASU to award $1,000 to top climate fiction short story
The challenge with climate change is that it’s gradual — a pervasive, creeping calamity that can be difficult for people to accept or comprehend. But, what if people could understand it better by escaping their everyday realities?
Speculative fiction stories have the power to take policy debates and obscure scientific jargon and turn them into gripping, visceral tales. The emerging subgenre of climate fiction, epitomized by novels like Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy, helps us to imagine futures shaped by climate change in deeply human terms.
The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council, invites writers to submit short stories that explore climate change, science and human futures for its first Climate Fiction Short Story Contest. The submission deadline is Jan. 15, 2016, and contest entry is free.
“Climate change is starting to appear as a character in all our stories, so there is no better time to invite creative visions of how humanity will face these challenges,” said Ed Finn, co-director of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative.
The contest will be judged by science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson, the award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of many foundational works in climate fiction, along with other experts from the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative.
“This contest is a wonderful idea and I’m happy to be part of it,” said Robinson. “There’s a thrill to writing and reading fiction that can’t be matched by any other activity. As we move into the climate change century, the stories we tell each other about coping with it are going to be a crucial part of our thoughts and actions, so I urge people to give this contest a try and see what happens.”
The grand-prize winner will be awarded $1,000, with three additional finalists receiving book bundles signed by award-winning climate fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi. A collection of the best submissions will be published in a forthcoming online anthology, and considered for publication in the journal Issues in Science and Technology.
Stories are required to envision a future for Earth and humanity that is transformed in some way by climate change. They should also reflect current scientific knowledge about climate change and its consequences for human societies and the environment. The jury is particularly interested in stories that illuminate the political, ethical and technological challenges that individuals and communities must confront in the face of climate change.
“Merging climate science and deeply human storytelling, climate fiction can be a powerful learning tool,” said Manjana Milkoreit, Walton Sustainability postdoctoral research fellow at ASU. “Taking the reader into a possible future, a story can turn modeling scenarios and temperature graphs into meaning and emotion. It can help us make sense of and respond to this incredibly complex problem.”
For full contest rules and details, and a link to submit stories for consideration, visit climateimagination.asu.edu/clificontest.
The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative is a partnership between the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, and the Center for Science and the Imagination. It explores how imagination — or lack thereof — shapes humanity’s response to climate change, and how imagination merged with science can create solutions to climate challenges. The initiative hosts public events, offers courses at the intersection of art, literature and climate science as well as encompassing research projects uniting scholars and practitioners from a broad range of disciplines.
This story originally appeared at ASU News.
In Paolo Bacigalupi’s most recent science fiction novel, The Water Knife, Phoenix is dried up and California and Nevada are not too far behind. The millions of people who rely on the Colorado River to survive are not only thirsty, but fighting for their lives. It’s a compelling story that captures a not-so-distant future. Will Phoenix eventually collapse? Will the river dry up?Joey Eschrich August 25, 2015This story originally appeared at ASU News. It was written by Jason Franz, Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing and Communications at ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.
September 17, 2015
7:30 – 9:00 pm
In Paolo Bacigalupi’s most recent science fiction novel, The Water Knife, Phoenix is dried up and California and Nevada are not too far behind. The millions of people who rely on the Colorado River to survive are not only thirsty, but fighting for their lives.
It’s a compelling story that captures a not-so-distant future. Will Phoenix eventually collapse? Will the river dry up?
As part of Arizona State University’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, a partnership between the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Center for Science and the Imagination, Bacigalupi will visit ASU on Sept. 17, to share the inspiration behind “The Water Knife” and discuss how he uses creative writing to imagine the future of the Southwest.
Bacigalupi follows award-winning author Margaret Atwood as the second guest lecturer for the initiative.
Bacigalupi’s visit will include a free public lecture titled “The Imagination Drought: Speculative Fiction as a Tool of Warning and Empowerment” at the Tempe Center for the Arts, and will feature a reception and book signing after the the writer’s talk. Tickets for this lecture are available beginning Aug. 25.
“We are very excited to have Paolo Bacigalupi come to the setting of his latest novel and talk with students, faculty, researchers and residents about the state’s environmental challenges and how they relate to his gripping tale,” said Patricia Reiter, executive director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “ASU’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative seeks to develop multiple narratives surrounding climate change. Bacigalupi is a perfect example of how the arts and sciences combine to help us visualize our future.”
After being exposed to environmental issues as High Country News’ online editor, Bacigalupi has become a leader in the emerging climate-fiction genre. His first novel, The Windup Girl, explores a world where fossil fuels are depleted and big corporations bioengineer food and people.
“Bacigalupi’s work exemplifies the broader mission of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative to open up our thinking about what might be possible,” said Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and Imagination. “His arresting, deeply imaginative visions of the planet’s future are both soaring and gritty, anchored by deeply compelling characters struggling and thriving in the aftermath of climate change. Stories like his are vital to understanding what kind of world we’d like to live in and help us reinvent the present to reach that future.”
Bacigalupi’s second novel, a young-adult piece called Ship Breaker, tells the story of a young boy who strips stranded oil tankers for parts in the Gulf Coast.
“In writing for teenagers as well as adults, Bacigalupi shows us that an awareness of environmental issues must be cultivated across generations,” said Jewell Parker Rhodes, Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. “His fearless and intelligent novels are compelling, not only for their adventurous plots, but for their artistry in evoking raw and complex emotions for their deeply human characters.”
For more information and tickets, visit climateimagination.asu.edu/events.
Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, an anthology of ambitious, technically-grounded science fiction visions of the near future curated by the center, has been honored with an award for Most Significant Futures Work by the Association of Professional Futurists.Joey Eschrich August 7, 2015
This story was originally published at ASU News.
A collection of inspiring visions of the future has earned ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination an honor in the present.
Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, an anthology of ambitious, technically-grounded science fiction visions of the near future curated by the center, has been honored with an award for Most Significant Futures Work by the Association of Professional Futurists.
The award comes in the category honoring works that “illuminate the future through literary or artistic works.”
“It’s a milestone for us to see Hieroglyph recognized not just by science fiction fans but also working futurists,” said Ed Finn, co-editor of the anthology. “Our ambition has always been to build a vibrant community dedicated to changing the world through big ideas and thoughtful optimism, and it’s tremendous to see our message reach professionals guiding strategic decision-making beyond the academy.”
Hieroglyph, published in 2014 by William Morrow/HarperCollins, features seventeen short stories, presenting a range of compelling possible futures based on real emerging science and technology. Top science fiction writers collaborated with scientists, engineers and other researchers in fields ranging from education and sustainability to structural engineering and space exploration to create plausible visions of the future that scientists and engineers could actually begin working on today.
The anthology features stories about a 20 kilometer steel tower that stretches into the stratosphere, a swarm of 3-D printer robots building structures on the Moon, a sustainable solar city that works like an enormous algae cell and other indelible icons of a better future.
Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, edited the book with Kathryn Cramer, an accomplished author, critic and anthologist.
Established in 2007, the Most Significant Futures Work awards honor works that advance the work of foresight and futures studies, contribute to the understanding of the future of a significant area of human endeavor or of the natural world, or present new images of the future through visual arts, films, poetry or fiction.
Hieroglyph shares the 2015 award for artistic and literary works with Byologic/Zed.TO, a real-time narrative about a viral pandemic outbreak in Toronto that integrated interactive theatrical events with online content, and The Museum of Future Government Services, an exhibit featuring immersive, interactive experiences of the future launched at the United Arab Emirates Government Summit 2014 in Dubai. Other nominees in the “literary and artistic works” category included Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar and Stephen Baxter’s science fiction novel Proxima.
What might a world without oil look like? How will human societies cope with massive changes in the Earth’s climate? How will we adapt to survive the future? And how can storytelling and art — alongside science and technology — help us confront the challenge of climate change?Joey Eschrich July 31, 2015
This piece originally appeared at ASU News.
What might a world without oil look like? How will human societies cope with massive changes in the Earth’s climate? How will we adapt to survive the future? And how can storytelling and art — alongside science and technology — help us confront the challenge of climate change?
These questions motivate a series of essays, stories and imaginative speculations on climate futures published by the digital magazine Matter.
The series features an expansive, inspiring essay by novelist, critic and activist Margaret Atwood, alongside short “climate fiction” stories from speculative fiction authors Paolo Bacigalupi, Charlie Jane Anders, and Bruce Sterling, and essays from Choire Sicha, co-founder of The Awl, Ed Finn, director of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and others.
Several of the authors featured in the collection have deep connections or ongoing collaborations with ASU. Atwood was the inaugural lecturer for the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, which explores how imagination merged with science can shape our response to climate change and create solutions to climate challenges. Bacigalupi will deliver the second annual Imagination and Climate Futures lecture on Sept. 17. Anders and Sterling are contributors to Project Hieroglyph, which teams up science fiction authors with scientists, engineers and other experts to create ambitious, hopeful, technically-grounded visions of the near future.
To read the full series, visit Matter.
Image courtesy of Jean Malek.
An interview with Neal Stephenson about his new novel, Seveneves, humanity’s resilience, and more.Joey Eschrich June 19, 2015
By Ed Finn
Neal Stephenson’s new novel, Seveneves, begins: “The Moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” Scientists realize humanity has roughly two years to come up with a survival strategy before millions of lunar bits start hitting the Earth and ignite the atmosphere in a biblical rain of fire. The first half of the novel concerns our frantic efforts to launch as much stuff and personnel into space as possible, turning the International Space Station into a jury-rigged ark. But it’s not all heroics: The ensuing dickering, wasted effort, and celebrity cameos make it clear that this world is more or less our own.
The harrowing story of the early years leaves us with just seven survivors to propagate the species from the relative safety of orbit: seven eves who each make major decisions about what to keep and what to tweak in the human genome. From there the novel leaps 5,000 years into the future, when humanity’s descendants are just beginning to recolonize the battered surface of Earth.
Seveneves is a sweeping future history in the Stephenson tradition, tackling the politics and practicalities of space travel, genetics, and what it means to be human through the simple expedient of detonating the moon like an orbiting cherry bomb. I spoke with him about the novel, humanity’s resilience, and more.
A new project by experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats at Arizona State University involves creating simple, incredibly durable pinhole cameras that will slowly create a single image over the course of a century or a millennium.Joey Eschrich March 5, 2015
In his book Camera Lucida, the French philosopher Roland Barthes calls cameras “clocks for seeing,” marveling at their inspiring and troubling ability to capture and arrest time, pulling people and events out context. But what if we designed cameras to document the flow and inexorable passage of time, instead of trying to freeze it during moments we want to hang onto?
A new project by experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats involves creating simple, incredibly durable pinhole cameras that will slowly create a single image over the course of a century or a millennium. At the “Deep Time Photo Lab” at Arizona State University’s Emerge festival on Friday, March 6, Keats will help people create century cameras—palm-size, dead-simple devices constructed from metal tins that focus a tiny beam of light and bleach an image into a sheet of black paper inside the tin, at a glacial pace. People will then hide their cameras throughout the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area, where they will quietly monitor changes in the urban landscape and natural environment between 2015 and 2115.
On the same day, Keats will unveil a millennium camera at the ASU Art Museum. The museum has committed to displaying the millennium camera’s single photograph in a monthlong exhibition in 3015. (Keats does not plan to attend—“I’ll be dead,” he told me matter-of-factly.)