Slate magazine’s Future Tense channel is running a series of stories inspired by and excerpted from Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, exploring about the connections between science fiction storytelling, scientific discovery, public policy, and real-world innovation. Check back to this post for updates as more pieces are published!
Moonshot ideas, radical collaborations. Information to feed your imagination.
Slate magazine’s Future Tense channel is running a series of stories inspired by and excerpted from Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, exploring about the connections between science fiction storytelling,…Joey Eschrich September 30, 2014
One of the projects we’re working on at the Center for Science and the Imagination is an effort to trace the lines of communication between science…Elizabeth Garbee September 25, 2014
One of the projects we’re working on at the Center for Science and the Imagination is an effort to trace the lines of communication between science and science fiction. We know the two disciplines talk to each other, that they influence one another, and that both inspire new generations of authors and scientists. So what we are trying to do is map their interactions, and perhaps shed some light on the subsequent sequence of causes and effects.
One of the ways we’re investigating this is by compiling a database of inventions or innovations described in works of science fiction and their corresponding real world technologies, the most worn-out example of which is the Star Trek communicator inspiring the invention of the mobile phone. But did you know that Ray Bradbury predicted earbuds, or that the TASER was inspired by a story about an adventurer on safari with an electric rifle? However, we are not the only ones interested in this question of uncovering the science in science fiction.
Barry B. Luokkala’s Exploring Science through Science Fiction (Springer, 2014) is a new style of textbook, meant to bring science fiction enthusiasts some of the basic physics behind their favorite films and television series. While clearly aimed at the undergraduate level, the book touches on some bleeding edge avenues of research, such as the possibility of faster-than-light travel, stable wormholes, and teleportation through groundbreaking particle physics.
The chapters are organized not according to a linear progression of science content, but rather according to major themes in science fiction, and the examples and exercises given at the end of each chapter test the reader’s understanding of the material while putting them in a familiar science fiction context. Perhaps one of the most useful features of the book is a thorough set of appendices of films cited, with information about the science concepts illustrated therein.
While certainly not rigorous enough to replace any introductory physics texts, Exploring Science through Science Fiction would surely be a welcome, entertaining, and thought-provoking addition to any discussion on the science behind science fiction—and it will serve as a great resource in our efforts at CSI to map the structure of science fiction and its scientific roots.
“Who wants to live forever?” The late, great lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, crooned. “Well, I wouldn’t mind the option.” I responded flatly, the guy…Kraig Farkash July 15, 2014
“Who wants to live forever?” The late, great lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, crooned.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind the option.” I responded flatly, the guy parking his car at ASU.
While on campus, I pondered that recent conversation with my stereo. I surmised that Dr. Doris Taylor, Director of Regenerative Medicine Research at Texas Heart Institute, heard the same tune. She is at the bleeding edge of a new frontier: whole organ decellularization (a.k.a. prepping organs for transplant). Her techniques are disquieting for some, almost Promethean, but intriguing nonetheless.
Dr. Taylor started with a rat-heart. She inserted a catheter into the recently harvested organ and slowly drained its original cells. Then, after cleansing the heart, only its connective tissue remained. She proceeded to fill its empty spaces with fresh cells acquired from the body of its new host.
The lifeless organ also needed an electrical signal, mechanical blood pressure, and oxygen. A bioreactor sufficed; an artificial body that resembled a pickle jar on life support. However, that’s no pickle inside. They could tell because after merely a week of lying dormant, the heart spontaneously began to beat…on its own.
It was 2005 when Dr. Taylor forged that organic, thumping “Ghost Heart.” It was a first for laboratory scientists, as well. What’s more, Dr. Taylor has shown her process works with other organs, like a set of lungs. Her efforts have reanimated the dead organs of rats and pigs. She sees this technology working in humans in years, not decades.
The arch-nemesis of a successful organ transplant is tissue rejection. Dr. Taylor’s phenomenal technique could allow for organ transplantation from cadaver to patient without such concerns. It could negate the need for a lifetime of anti-rejection medications that suppress the immune system, cause nausea, tremors, and more.
Humans are creatures of life, but all of history implies that we’re built for death. Yet, here we are, at the brink of reconfiguration with lifespans no longer truncated by decay. There is an entire torso crammed with life-sustaining goodies, which ripen and long for replacement. The potential of Dr. Taylor’s labors are a means to that end – and a pathway to immortality.
On April 25, 2014, Ed Finn spoke at the 2014 Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about the Center about thinking big, science, technology and the power of narratives to shape the future.0Joey Eschrich June 6, 2014
On April 25, 2014, Ed Finn spoke at the 2014 Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about the Center about thinking big, science, technology and the power of narratives to shape the future.
Watch the video to learn more about the cultural imaginary, “science fiction of the present,” 20km tall steel towers, flying drone routers, 3D printing with Moon dust, and how science fiction storytelling sets targets for our technological future.
IDEO San Francisco, October 24, 2013. Speakers: Julian Bleecker and Nick Foster of Near Future Laboratory, Cliff Kuang, senior editor at WIRED, and James Bridle, a writer, artist, publisher and technologist0Joey Eschrich May 31, 2014
IDEO San Francisco, October 24, 2013
We met to talk about design. And fiction. And the ways of approaching the challenge of all challenges, whatever it may be. We talked about expressing the opportunities those challenges raise as distinctly new tangible forms. As well as the essential value of mundane design. We talked about clarifying the present. We talked about designing the future. And doing both of these things with design. And fiction.
A conversation about the Romantic Era and the scientific imagination with Richard Sha, professor in the Department of Literature at American University, Mark Lussier, professor and chair of the Department of English at ASU, and Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination.
0Elizabeth Vegh May 29, 2014
CSI and ASU’s Department of English present a conversation about the Romantic Era and the scientific imagination. Panelists include Richard C. Sha, professor in the Department of Literature at American University and an expert on science, literature and emotion in the Romantic Era; Mark Lussier, professor and chair of the Department of English; Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English . Click here to watch the full event.
A panel discussion at Stanford University on May 13, 2014 on the Future of Reading, featuring Ed Finn, Eileen Gunn, David Rothenberg, Mark Algee-Hewitt, and Dan Gillmor.
1Elizabeth Vegh May 22, 2014
A panel discussion at Stanford University on May 13, 2014 on the Future of Reading, featuring:
Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University
Eileen Gunn, science fiction author and publisher of The Infinite Matrix
David Rothenberg, experimental musician and professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology
Mark Algee-Hewitt, associate director of the Literary Lab at Stanford University
Dan Gillmor, journalist and professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University
The panel was part of our Sprint Beyond the Book project; learn more at SprintBeyondTheBook.com.
On May 14, 2014, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson took to Google Hangouts to announce the winners of The Future – Powered by Fiction, a competition that…0Joey Eschrich May 16, 2014
On May 14, 2014, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson took to Google Hangouts to announce the winners of The Future – Powered by Fiction, a competition that challenged young people worldwide to think critically and creatively about possible futures we can build together. The competition is part of Tomorrow Project USA, an ongoing collaboration between Intel, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Society for Science & the Public.
Check out the video, recorded live at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA, to learn more about the competition, our ten $1000 prize winners, and the 33 other stories that will be published in a series of quarterly anthologies throughout 2014 and 2015. You can also see a full list of winners at: http://isef.tomorrow-projects.com/quarterlyvisions. And keep an eye out for the first in the series of four anthologies, titled The Future – Powered by Fiction, which will be released in summer 2014.
Fish Out of Water investigates what new ideas and challenges would surface if experts in particular fields were challenged to think deeply about topics outside of their areas of expertise, and to engage in activities outside of their comfort zones.
0Elizabeth Vegh May 13, 2014
Can a dancer conduct research for exosuits? Can a synthetic biologist create drawings that would make Rembrandt jealous? Surely the great Leonardo Da Vinci could not be the only genius in history to dabble in the worlds of art, mathematics, engineering and literature.
Fish Out of Water is an experimental webseries that I created as part of an Individualized Instruction course for the Spring 2014 semester. I wanted to investigate what new ideas and challenges would surface if experts in particular fields were challenged to think deeply about topics outside of their areas of expertise, and to engage in activities outside of their comfort zones.
This pilot episode features Dan Collins, the co-director of the PRISM lab and a professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University. Watch what happens when this 3D sculpture artist is invited to step into the shoes (or in this case, a lab coat) of a cognitive scientist.
A young heroine must fight not only her nemesis, but the doubts from the very city she tries to save.
0Elizabeth Vegh May 6, 2014
A young heroine must fight not only her nemesis, but the doubts from the very city she tries to save.
I created this 2D frame-by-frame animated short for my Capstone project for ASU’s Digital Culture program during the Spring 2014 semester. I wanted to create a relatable character with real-world problems. When overcome with discouragement and doubt, it is easy for us to lose sight of our passion and drive. As a 2D artist, it can become quite disheartening to hear 2D frame-by-frame animation classed as a “dying art.” Through the use of Under Fire! I hope to reinvigorate a drive for traditional animation as well as encourage audiences to get back to the roots of their passions. I worked in collaboration with fellow Digital Culture seniors Alexa Boccieri and Antwaun Smith to complete this project.
“Under Fire!” debuted on Friday, May 2nd, 2014 at ASU’s Digital Culture Showcase.
Learn more about my work at http://www.elizabethveghart.com