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Turning Science Fiction into Science

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Robert Hampson

on 20 May 2016

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Transcript of Turning Science Fiction into Science

Connecting with authors, reaching the SF audience, using SF themes in teaching.
Robert E. Hampson, Ph.D.
Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
How I Got Involved with Science Fiction:
Started talking (email) with an author, praised what they got right as well as what they got wrong
Science Fiction conventions - a surprising number have Science tracks involving professional scientists
RavenCon - Richmond, VA - April
Mysticon - Roanoke, VA - Feb/March
ConGregate - High Point, NC - July
LibertyCon - Chattanooga, TN - June
DragonCon - Atlanta, GA - Labor Day Weekend
Writing for (and to) SF audiences
Weekly blog
Articles for Baen Books (Wake Forest, NC) monthly nonfiction (articles on their website)
Joined National Academy of Sciences - Science & Entertainment Exchange
Use a Pseudonym if it makes you more comfortable:
(*Nominee for 2015 Hugo Award)
Why should we bother?
I can answer that in one word...
(the movie)
What are we supposed to do?
Talk to authors -- help them include accurate science
Find ways to explain complicated concepts in our fields -- blog, write (student) guides and articles
Get involved in public presentations of science
Use Science Fiction concepts in teaching:
"Your brain is steampunk!" -- Instead of batteries, resistors, capacitors and wires, we could just as easily talk in terms of pressure, valves and clockwork
Workshop Examples (Open Discussion):

What is the most import, most complicated principle in your field, and how can you simplify that if someone wanted to use that in a story?

Can you think of a Science Fiction or Fantasy example that you can use to reinforce a basic concept in your field?
Examples of actual questions:
(Open Discussion, cont'd)
I need a disease... (that only hits people over 200)
I need a drug to... (look like a heart attack - mystery)
How do you make... (poisons without a lab -thriller)
How do spacecraft match orbits?
How do you triangulate radio signals in space?
How many mirrors would be needed to concentrate enough sunlight to melt an asteroid?
If telepathy existed, what part of the brain would be involved?
If you take a town of 5,000 people from West Virginia in 2001 to Germany in 1632 - how will they rebuild technology?
Results of those questions:
Darkship Renegades
, Sarah A. Hoyt
A French Polished Murder
, Elise Hiatt
, Tom Kratman
, John Ringo
Do Unto Others
, Michael Z. Williamson
Live Free or Die
, John Ringo
Escaping Titan
, Broken Crown Games
, Eric Flint
Game Designers, Fantasy Writers, TV producers and more -- need Science Advisors.
Rick Loverd, Program Director

The Science & Entertainment Exchange, National Academy of Sciences

844-NEED-SCI (844-633-3724)
The Science & Entertainment Exchange
570 Westwood Plaza
Building 114, Room 6333, MC722710
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7227
Editor: Tony Daniel (tony@baen.com)
Continents, Oceans
Terrain Features (Mountain ranges, swamps, etc. -- Where?)
Resources for civilizations
Trade routes
Politics, Sciences and Arts
[Sun, Planets, Asteroids, Rockets]
Full transcript