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Science in Science Fiction

A side interest of mine is researching into representations of science and scientists in science fiction, and the use of science fiction as a pedagogic tool for both formal teaching and public engagement.

Public Outreach talks

I offer Science of Sci-Fi public talks on topics including Spacecraft, Cosmic Catastrophes, The science of "Interstellar", or Our Moon in Science and Science Fiction. These can be pitched at a variety of levels and lengths depending on audience. Examples of these include:

  • Online talk: Mars in Science and Science Fiction, National Astronomy Week (November 2020). This talk can be found on youtube as part of the session at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dccLkDVt4dU.

    An 18 minute version of this talk can be found online here:


  • Public talk: “By the Light of the Silvery Earth: the Moon in Science and Science Fiction, at Warwick Museum (Jul 2019) and Warwick University (December 2019)
  • Public outreach talk on “The Science of Interstellar”, delivered to three different groups (2018-2020) including at the Artix Arts Centre, Bromsgrove, as part of an Arts and Science festival (2020).
  • “Science of Sci-Fi: Spaceflight” science outreach talk designed for public science communication (delivered five times to different groups, ranging from schools to amateur astronomy societies, 2014-2020).

Habitability and Science Fiction Studies

 

If you're interested in the science of science fiction, you may wish to read my "Cosmic Stories" blog entries on the subject!

The Stench of Humanity

One of the most evocative of human senses is our sense of smell. It is closely connected with memory recall, with the taste of food, and with the more “primitive” and instinctual regions of our hindbrains. Science fiction has explored odour - and in particular an oversensitivity to odours - in a nu…

Dan Dare's Saturnia

Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, in his journeys through the Solar System, has given us a fascinating snapshot of how our understanding of solar system habitability has changed. Here I take a look at Saturn's moon system and its very different representations in 1953 and 2017.

Take me to your Lizard

A running theme in science fiction is the idea that alien races are willing and eager to talk to us, but this is not an assumption that has gone unchallenged in science fiction, or indeed in our wider culture.