October 26, 2012

Putting the fiction back into science

Posted: October 26, 2012

If science needs to stretch its boundaries, what better place to start than in science fiction? That is the idea behind ASU’s new Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI).

“It’s an unusual thing for a university to do because it brings together a variety of different people who wouldn’t usually work together,” said CSI director Ed Finn in an article on CNN.com. “We want to create conversations that cut across all of these different boundaries and get people thinking in a more expansive way about their work.”

Like constructing a 20-km tall steel tower that could launch vehicles into space more efficiently (the work of “cyberpunk” writer Neal Stephenson and ASU engineer Keith Hjelmstad).

According to Kathryn Cramer, sci-fi author and co-editor of Hieroglyph (with Ed Finn), which will compile the conversations of scientists and authors at ASU for publication by HarperCollins, the center will help sci-fi writers and scientists.

“For authors, having the contact with scientists allows for further refinement of their ideas into something that is potentially more workable,” Cramer said. And “science fiction has a proven ability to inspire scientists and start technological innovation.”

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Skip Derra, skip.derra@asu.edu
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