More and more, science 'fiction' becomes science 'fact'
BY JAMES A. FUSSELL
The Kansas City Star
"Carrie moves objects with her mind. Wolverine’s skin heals instantly. And Darth Vader and Batman use lightsabers and grappling guns.
Only in the movies?
Not anymore. Hold on to your comic books, nerds. Science “fiction” is becoming science “fact.”
Today, more than ever, life is imitating art as fictional gadgets and abilities once the exclusive province of superheroes and telekinetic teens are sparking innovation in the real world.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers Dan Novy and Sophia Brueckner teach a class called “Pulp to Prototype,” where science fiction is required reading to get students thinking about possibilities that seem far-fetched.
At the University of Minnesota, physics professor James Kakalios found success with the freshman course “Everything I Know About Science I Learned From a Comic Book” and went on to write the popular science book “The Physics of Superheroes.”
“Both scientific research and science fiction begin with the same two words: ‘What if?’” he said. “The very best science fiction takes things that are established and extrapolates from there.......”
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