Science Fiction in Science Class

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I am tasked with teaching something related to modern physics to people who will not have the relevant math to truly learn the physics.  Consequently, I have decided to go with doing a bare-bones explanation of the high points and using technology (real and science fiction) to illustrate applications of modern physics.

I'm good on the real applications, but I'm looking for suggestions on movie/television series for applications (good or bad) to start talking about what happens and what the actual physics and/or engineering would be in our universe (could we work up to that or is it breaking a physical law?).

I'm envisioning showing a scene and then discussing what the given explanation is versus the science as we currently know it.

I know we have some science fiction fans here.  Help me out with examples of relativity, quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, and similar topics.

I read something one about Star Wars in which the author wrote about Luke and Han getting "blown up by the shrapnel of their own success." Is that the kind of thing you're looking for? In that case, my husband (a chemical engineer with a strong physics background) groans at just about every sci-fi movie. These days when one of us starts to complain about inaccuracy in our fields, we turn to the other and say, "Flying men. Shut up."

Other specific examples....Superman flying backwards around the world in Superman II, the Richard Donner cut, to change the past? Light sabers (SW again)? Lightspeed travel (and again)? Firing a gun into space (Serenity)? The Star Trek transporter? Phasers?

OMG, the entire series of Fringe!


Thanks, Bibliothecula.  I'd forgotten about Superman's turning the world backward to reverse time.  The list is great.
Quote from: cc_alan on January 03, 2013,  6:34:11 PM

OMG, the entire series of Fringe!


This is not helpful since I've seen about half of one episode.  Can you give an explicit suggestion like phasers or light sabers or one episode that I should see?

You might be able to get some ideas on some of these sites: (UK scientists looking at what is, might be, or isn't possible. Includes links to books and articles) (10 things from science fiction that are real--for a price) (Star Trek technology that may be in our future. There's a whole bunch of articles about what already has become real.)

Sounds like a fun class.


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