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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

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Warp Drive: We're Not There ... Yet

One of the Star Trek franchise's most enduring legacies in science fiction is the fictional "warp drive" technology that enables faster-than-light travel. It's not the kind of thing that can be achieved with conventional rockets, but that doesn't mean it's entirely outside the realm of scientific plausibility. In fact, there's a long tradition of physicists writing speculative technical papers suggesting ways in which a warp drive or hyperdrive might come about.

This Is Your Brain On Lies

What would the world be like if nobody could lie -- not even a harmless little white lie? It would probably be like the world envisioned by British comic actor Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying, where brutal honesty is the order of the day, until Gervais' hapless character suddenly develops the ability to lie, or in his words, "I said something... thatwasn't!" We are treated to an image of neurons in his brain firing in new ways at that pivotal evolutionary moment.

Eyes on Saturn

We nearly missed the lovely profile of astrophysicist Carolyn Porco that appeared last week in The New York Times. Porco trailblazed was part of the team that analyzed data from the Voyager spacecraft in the 1980s, making her one of the young up and coming "rock stars" of space science.

Cooking Up a Chemical Soup

With Julie and Julia being a surprise hit this summer, Julia Child has once again rocketed to the forefront of the national consciousness. Child is the iconic figure of popularizing haute cuisine, blazing a trail on television long before anyone dreamed up The Food Network or Top Chef, and publishing her bestselling classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. Her entire kitchen is now on permanent display in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The Darling Bugs of May

Popular science books have been around at least since the Middle Ages, when illustrated "bestiaries" were a big hit, highlighting the most bizarre creatures found in Nature. Many such books mixed reality with myth, but entomologist May Berenbaum, who also serves on the Exchange's advisory board.

Physicists Looking Forward to "Flash Forward"

Particle physics -- especially the research being done at CERN's Large Hadron Collider -- seems to have captured Hollywood's imagination these days. First, the collider was featured in director Ron Howard's Angels and Demons. And on Thursday, sci-fi novelist Robert J. Sawyer's novel Flash Forward makes its network debut on ABC. The novel starts out at CERN's LHC, and many of the central characters are physicists and engineers.

Darwin Takes Center Stage

Is there a scientist in history more misunderstood in modern times than Charles Darwin? His seminal work, The Origin of Species, revolutionized the biological sciences and led to a tension between science and religion that still exists today. The story is ripe for the biopic treatment, and director Jon Amiel obliges with Creation, debuting tomorrow at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"District 9" Takes a Lesson From Tesla

Director Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi film, District 9, is getting rave reviews for its gritty, hard-edged depiction of a futuristic world where stranded aliens are being evicted from one dismal slum and forced to move to another -- when all they really want is to get the mother ship back up and running so they can return home. Among the the more useful alien technologies is an "energy weapon" based on a Tesla coil.

Claw of Newt

One of the more compelling X-Men is Logan, a.k.a., Wolverine -- so much a fan favorite that he merited his own "origins" story earlier this year with Wolverine.

Saving a Bit of History

Los Angeles has plenty of landmarks: the Capitol Records building, Graumann's Chinese Theater, and of course, the famous Hollywood sign. But as a wildfire raged through the national forest over the last few days, the flames threatened a lesser known bit of local history: the Mount Wilson Observatory.

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