Why We Should Take Sci-Fi More Seriously

Milad Yekleh
Feb 26, 2018 · 4 min read

Science-fiction is a compound word which obviously is made up of two words. Science and Fiction, At first I like to briefly talk about those two separate words.

In the general belief, fictions are some novels we read, or movies and TV-shows we watch, which describes imaginary events and people.
People usually read and watch good fictions. especially those which won Oscars and Pulitzers and those which got good ratings from critics.

Science, on the other hand, is a complicated and most of the time boring subject and full of far-reaching concepts that really take time to understand for the non-scientists and unenthusiastic common people.

Speculative fiction genre

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Blade Runner 2049 , A Sci-Fi Movie

Now take a look at Science-Fiction, which commonly and wrongly considered a low-art and most of the time critics are looking down on this genre. Some of the best classic Sci-Fi movies never won the Oscars. for example “Avatar”, “Space Odyssey 2001” , “Interstellar” and the first “blade runner”. And now the second one didn’t get any nominee in the important categories of Oscars such as the best movie, or the best director.

In a different manner, take a look at this year Drama/Fantasy movie. Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” continued its awards show streak, with 13 nominations. A fiction again, but not scientific, leading the pack and getting all the attention.

Both of these movies belong to speculative fiction genre. but why one considered more artistic and critically acclaimed and more applauded than the other?

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“The Shape of Water” a drama/fantasy fiction movie

Riding on a Light Beam
Now let’s talk about the relation between science-fiction and fictional ideas and how they are a necessity for the advancement of Science. I want to talk about a thought experiment and a fiction behind the discovery of relativity . fictional Ideas in the mind of the Albert Einstein.

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Albert Einstein holding an Albert Einstein doll

A German teenager, imagined riding alongside a light wave, he reasoned that he should be seeing the light waves frozen, in the same way that a train would appear not to be moving if you rode alongside it at the same speed as the train. Yet he realized that this was impossible, because the speed of light is supposed to be constant regardless of your own movement. So he imagined instead riding alongside the light beam but at a somewhat slower speed. What if he traveled at 90% of the speed of light? If light beams are like trains, he reasoned, then he should see the light beam traveling ahead of him at 10% of the speed of light. Indeed that would have to be what observers on Earth would see. But we know that the speed of light is a constant, [as Michelson-Morley Experiment had shown]. Thus he would necessarily see the light beam traveling ahead of him at the full speed of light. This seemed like a contradiction -how could it be possible?

The answer became evident to the German boy, whose name, incidentally, was Albert Einstein (1879–1955). by the time he turned twenty-six. Obviously _to young master Einstein_ time itself must have slowed down for him. He explains his reasoning in a paper published in 1905.

In the extreme, the slowdown in the passage of time would reach zero once the speed of travel reached the speed of light; hence it was impossible to ride along the light beam. Although it was impossible to travel at the speed of light, it turned out not to be theoretically impossible to move faster than light beam. Time would then move backward.

This resolution seemed absurd to many early critics. How could time itself slow down, based in someone’s speed of movement? Indeed for eighteen years (from the Michelson-Morley experiment), other thinkers had been unable to see a conclusion that was so obvious .

Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster and its dummy driver, starman, leave Earth behind shortly after launching atop SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6 2018.
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A classic Sci-fi Novel by Douglas Adams which inspired Elon Musk. You can “Don’t Panic” Motto of the book in the dashboard of the Starman.

Final Words
Now You see how fictional ideas are a necessity for the advancement of science. And you saw how great sci-fi movies for example “Interstellar” by Chris Nolan, is criticized to not being scientific enough or not being artistic enough!
At Last, take a look at these two photos and see as we gaze upon the future, science and science fiction are becoming closer and closer. And how good the good William Shatner put: “Science is Science-Fiction

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