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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

Star Trek

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Star Wars, Star Trek, Scientists, and Science

We have heard it time and time again, scientists and engineers everywhere, professing deep love and admiration for science fiction, and in particular, a fondness for Star Wars and Star Trek. In an unofficial (and totally unscientific) polling of The Exchange’s Scientist Spotlight interviewees, Star Wars ranked #1 in stealing the hearts (and creative minds) of scientists. (Star Trek ranked #2, with 2001: A Space Odyssey in the #3 spot.) “What we hear from a lot of the scientists we talk to is that science fiction was part of their inspiration when they were kids,” explained Glen Whitman, an executive story editor for Fringe.

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.