Moonshot ideas, radical collaborations. Information to feed your imagination.
On September 10, 2014, Project Hieroglyph visited Google in Mountain View, California for an event as part of their Talks at Google series.
On October 26, Hieroglyph contributors Cory Doctorow and Neal Stephenson and CSI director Ed Finn appeared at Town Hall Seattle, in an event titled “Reigniting Society’s Ambition with Science Fiction.”
Joey Eschrich October 30, 2014
On October 26, Hieroglyph contributors Cory Doctorow and Neal Stephenson and CSI director Ed Finn appeared at Town Hall Seattle, in an event titled “Reigniting Society’s Ambition with Science Fiction.” Check out the full event video:
What happened At this Science Fiction TV Dinner event on September 30 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, we screened “Cane and Able,” of…Chelsea Courtney October 3, 2014
At this Science Fiction TV Dinner event on September 30 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, we screened “Cane and Able,” of the hit medical drama House, M.D. In the episode, House’s 7 year old patient was experiencing vivid hallucinations of alien abductions. But in reality, the boy was a genetic chimera with two distinct sets of DNA in his body—a condition that stemmed from his mother’s in vitro fertilization, when his embryo absorbed another implanted embryo in the womb. Once House and his team were able to remove all of the “foreign” cells in the boy’s brain, he was cured and his terrifying science fictional hallucinations ended.
After the screening, CSI’s Joey Eschrich moderated a conversation with Dr. Cathy Seiler, scientific liaison at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, and Dr. Ken Ramos, associate vice president of Precision Health Services and professor of medicine at the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.
Insights from the Conversation
- “[This episode of House, M.D.] is a quiet, almost invisible example of science fiction that shows us a vision of what the future of medicine could look like…” – Joey Eschrich, paraphrasing Cathy Seiler
- “Chimerism…is when you have 2 different sets of DNA in your body…. You look like one person from the outside, but in some ways you are two people on the inside. You will be most familiar with this concept form organ transplants.” – Cathy Seiler
- “Every single patient encounter that you go through [as a doctor] involves a great deal of detective investigation…. One thing we are trying to inspire medical students to do…is to take full advantage of the tools that are available to you to investigate diseases and find cures.” – Ken Ramos
Join us next time!
Our next Science Fiction TV Dinner event will take place on Wednesday, October 8 at 5:00pm at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. We’ll watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Intervention”, featuring the Buffybot, Buffy’s robotic doppelganger, then have a conversation with social scientists and technologists about identity, technology, and how fantasy and storytelling can help us understand who we are and where we’re going.
The event is free and dinner will be served! Learn more and register today at http://buffytvdinner.eventbrite.com.
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
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!
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 technologist
0Joey 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.