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Shawn Bailes's Blog

Mutual Inspiration

23 Jan 2013, 19:34 UTC
Mutual Inspiration
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I've been thinking a lot lately on how science and science fiction continually inspire each other. Science comes out with a new discovery that revolutionizes the way we view things, science fiction takes that idea and runs with it. The converse is true, too! Doubly so!

Some examples:

The Submarine - American inventor Simon Lake had been captivated by the idea of undersea travel and exploration ever since he read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Lake’s innovations included ballast tanks, divers’ compartments and the periscope. His company built the Argonaut—the first submarine to operate successfully in the open ocean, in 1898*

The Rocket - Robert H. Goddard, the American scientist who built the first liquid-fueled rocket—which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926—became fascinated with spaceflight after reading an 1898 newspaper serialization of H.G. Wells’ classic novel about a Martian invasion, War of the Worlds. As Goddard would recall later, the concept of interplanetary flight “gripped my imagination tremendously.”*

The Cell Phone - Martin Cooper, the director of research and development at Motorola, credited the “Star Trek” communicator as his inspiration for the design of the first mobile phone in the early 1970s. “That was ...

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