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UE: SCI 215SC: Science in Science Fiction: Home

A guide for the University Explorations course Science in Science Fiction offered at University Campus, at a Center, or through the College of Online Learning

About This Course


Assignments Overview

Film/Novel Critiques

Students evaluate a science fiction film or novel to determine if the science and technologies used as plot devices are compatible with the laws of the universe discussed in the course .

Links for SF Film Databases

   1. Wikipedia

   2. Internet Movie Database Genre: Science Fiction

Links for SF Novels

   1. Statistical survey of most popular Sci-Fi Novels

   2. Abe Books: 50 Essential Sci-Fi Novels

Stranger than [Science] Fiction Report

Imaginative futurism in science fiction novels has a tendency to begin as predictions of technologies that are not yet realized. In this assessment, students research and report to their peers a technology or scientific plot device that originated in science fiction and is now currently being explored by the scientific community, such as: warp drive, ion propulsion, quantum teleportation, reanimation, electromagnetic levitation, cloaking devices, etc. 

Links to recent science fiction technologies realized today.

   1. 2013 - Science Fictions that became Science Fact

   2. iO9 Science Tag - There may be some news here.

   3. NewScientist online - Wonderful resource for latest.

Science Fiction Composition

Students will create an original science fiction work focused on how a future technology or altered environment alters the landscape of equity among social classes in a dystopian society and resolve these issues towards redistribution of equity among all. 

One approach to this assignment is having students participate in the Intel's The Tomorrow Project's Essay Contest. Here's a lesson plan for higher ed faculty.

Messaging Intelligent Life

Students create and present an artifact representing a message to send to intelligent life representing directed first contact. Students will solve communication issues including the medium through which the message is sent, the “language” of the message, how to indicate awareness of a desire to communicate (i.e, get their attention), etc. 

HuffPost Poll - Half of respondents think extraterrestrial life exists (contains information about detection and communication efforts)

In-Class activity idea:

   Arrange to have a colleague in another state/location attempt to contact the class. The messager does not have any phone number nor knows the location of the classroom. The class is told that someone right now is trying to contact them and it is their job to search for the "signal." After the signal is found, arrange a skype conference with the "E.T." colleague to discuss methods the colleague used to find and establish contact with the class and the class can talk about their methods for searching for the signal. This idea is published here, in the Astronomy Education Review. 

Subject Guide