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Questions tagged [science]

For questions about the fictitious in-universe science found in works of speculative fiction. Questions purely concerning real-world science are off-topic.

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Trying to identify “I will measure the dust” story

I have a distant memory of a story which involves a person conversing with an intelligent space probe before it's launched on a long-term mission. As I recall it, their conversation goes something ...
54
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2answers
9k views

Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there?

Please note: The biology related aspects of this question are posted here. In "The Martian" (2015), the protagonist grows potatoes on Mars. We see him using seemingly fresh potatoes as his seeds. ...
39
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7answers
10k views

What would really happen if you were exposed to space? [closed]

It seems that every science fiction story has a different idea about what would happen if a human were exposed to the vacuum of space. At the end of Total Recall, Quaid and Melina are ejected to ...
38
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2answers
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Is the Magic School Bus actually magic?

Is The Magic School Bus, of the The Magic School Bus franchise, actually magic? On one hand, it's called magic and does many things that science probably can't achieve. On the other hand, it is only ...
29
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3answers
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Explanation of this quote “it took man six thousand years really to discover science”?

The quote is from Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God", 1941, and in full is: It took man six thousand years really to discover science, three hundred to put it to work. It took Kidder's creatures ...
28
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8answers
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How does time travel take into account the rotation/revolution of the Earth? [closed]

Hypothetically, if you were to travel say, 6 months into the past with no spatial displacement, you would end up floating in space because the Earth would be on the opposite side of the sun. I know ...
27
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6answers
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What FTL drives in science-fiction are the most scientifically plausible? [closed]

Science-fiction has used wormhole travel, hyperdrive, teleportation, even sub-FTL flight combined with time travel o get characters there and back again. Even hard science-fiction writer Larry Niven ...
23
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2answers
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How does the scientists version of the Lords Prayer (Our Father) go?

I read this in a book from the 60s-70s, surely not 80s. But there was a version of the Lords Prayer adapted for Scientists. Now, the normal Lords Prayer goes something like this: Our Father, who art ...
22
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8answers
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How fast should mutations be for hard science fiction? [closed]

I was disturbed by the rate of human evolution in Waterworld- maybe 500 years to evolve humans with gills*, and about a 1000 years to evolve into (back into?) something that is stronger than a ...
22
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4answers
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In Ex Machina, can this character survive?

This is not about who I'm quite sure is doomed, but Is there any way this character could survive for long?
21
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4answers
4k views

What's the technical explanation for gravity to exist inside a spacecraft in science fiction? [closed]

Specifically, spacecraft that are not obviously using centrifugal force to simulate gravity the way that the space station from 2001 does.
21
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5answers
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Does the computer-system on the Enterprise NCC-1701-D still follow the basic architecture of a Turing Machine?

Although the Turing Machine is a theoretical model to describe computing power, in its basic idea today's computers are still (quite sophisticated) implementations of this basic concept, although you ...
18
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5answers
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Why weren't they already growing food on Mars?

This might be separated in to 2 questions but I have issues with Mark Watney(Matt Damon) growing his own food on Mars. Currently the space station is growing their own food. On a side note it doesn'...
18
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7answers
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What is the best scientific explanation for how The Flash moves so fast without issue, or is it just “magic?”

The Flash goes from zero to ??? in an eye blink. As he does not have a Saturn 5 rocket on his back, how do you explain the acceleration? How do you explain his ability to stop on a dime and turn ...
18
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1answer
4k views

How exactly does one farm moisture?

This question has been bothering me since I was six years old- we know that Aunt Buru and Uncle Owen are moisture farmers, but what is it that they do? What is the process? Is it profitable? What ...
17
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7answers
1k views

Earliest story about civil nuclear power

Does anybody know which is the earliest SF story about the civil uses of nuclear power (possibly, power generation)? The best I can find is a 1940 short story by Robert A. Heinlein, “Blowups Happen” (...
16
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7answers
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Why can't metalbenders/earthbenders affect pure metallic platinum?

In the episode, The Aftermath the Metalbending Police Force has been investigating Future Industries factories for collusion and production of weapons by Hiroshi Sato with the Equalists. The ...
16
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1answer
877 views

Is there a scientific basis for the healing properties of chocolate?

A loud snap made them all jump. Professor Lupin was breaking an enormous slab of chocolate into pieces. ‘Here,’ he said to Harry, handing him a particularly large piece. ‘Eat it. It’ll help.’ ...
16
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4answers
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Can the “mind” make injuries real like in the Matrix? [closed]

In the original Matrix movie, when Neo falls off a building he receives minor injuries in the simulation. When he "wakes up" in the real world, he feels pain and when he reaches for his mouth he sees ...
16
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2answers
477 views

Smallest creature an Animorph can change into?

In the Animorphs series book series, you see them change into mosquitoes, fleas and all sorts of small creatures. Could they go into single celled organisms? Also, when they changed into mosquitoes, ...
15
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2answers
3k views

Is Batman a scientist?

Batman clearly does a lot of research and development (apparently on his own in many timelines). The question has been posed before. Is Batman a scientist?
15
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1answer
357 views

In “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson, why was it called “the spin?”

I just finished this book, and I never understood why the phenomena/event was called "the spin."
14
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4answers
498 views

Earliest use of Relativity in SF?

Einstein proposed the theory of Special Relativity in 1905, and General Relativity in 1916. I knew that the use of Relativity as a story concept appeared in Heinlein’s “Time for the Stars” (1956), ...
14
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1answer
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How did they get away from the tsunami if there were 45 minutes before the next slide?

In Sliders season 1, episode 6 "Summer of Love", at the end of the episode they slide onto a world and Q-Ball (Quinn Mallory) says the next slide is in 45 minutes. Then they hear a rumbling and they ...
14
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1answer
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To build the Iron Man suit, what fields did Tony Stark need to be an expert in?

I have been thinking about superheroes lately and Iron Man seems to be the safest one. His suit allows him to practically be bulletproof. In what fields did Tony Stark have to be an expert in to ...
14
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1answer
643 views

What's the nutella for?

In the image below, Captain America is hugging the Winter Soldier while telling Stark and Banner ... I have my own secret club now Cap's club is Army Bros so I'm assuming that implies Stark and ...
12
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2answers
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What science fiction trilogy has the dead coming back to life

This has been driving me crazy. There is a science fiction trilogy where the dead start coming back to life. It wasn't zombie fiction though. In this trilogy, humanity has expanded to the stars, but ...
12
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3answers
4k views

How is antimatter produced?

In Star Trek, the fundamental concept of warp drive requires anti-matter and matter combinations to produce the needed energy. Yet, despite this importance, I haven't come across any reference to how ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Where did the daylight come from in the interior of Babylon 5?

The interior (open space) of Babylon 5 had night and day; whence came the daytime light? Light sources bright enough to account for the ‘daylight’ were never depicted in the show. In Arthur C. Clarke’...
12
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2answers
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What experiment were they running on the sand?

In Spider-Man 3 we see Sandman transformed into sand and he then manages to reconstitute himself. This is all because some crazy scientists were running an experiment, that he got in the middle of. ...
12
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1answer
361 views

Story where stardrive test-pilot visits alien solar system and is attacked by a psychic (alien) child

Looking for story title and author. Can't remember if the story was a short story, novella or novel. Here's the storyline as I remember it. In the near future humans have just created a prototype ...
12
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1answer
291 views

Movie about a mad scientist stealing life/talent/enthusiasm from unsuspecting teen girl or girls. Black guy hero

It was an older movie, probably 80's-ish era. Medium budget. Scientist was trying to defy the aging process. Girls he used were young teens, and the process killed them, I think. I only caught the ...
11
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4answers
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What was the first story describing realistic zero-g during space flight?

Newton's law of universal gravitation has been known since 1686 and it states that gravity is proportional to inverse square of the distance, but never fades to 0. This led to stories where various ...
11
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5answers
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Why did DS9 need a Science Officer (pre-wormhole!)?

There is some suggestion that there's a position of Science Officer aboard starships. On NCC-1701, this was Spock. On NX-01, this was T'Pol. But there really isn't such high-ranking position on ...
11
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5answers
487 views

What was the first story where a universal constant had a different value?

In some stories, the value of a universal constant is different than it is reality. For example, in Going Postal: 'Something like that, sir, probably, something like that,' said Groat. 'Three and ...
11
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1answer
484 views

Stainless Steel Rat warp drive?

In The Stainless Steel Rat universe, space ships would often travel quickly across the galaxy. There was one case when DiGriz traveled a long distance to meet an alien race. I can't remember if the ...
11
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2answers
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Are the language elements in Snow Crash supported by science?

After reading Snow Crash, I have to wonder if any of the premise or main/supporting plot points are backed by any science, or even plausible based on our current understanding. For example: Little ...
10
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6answers
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Does the ending of Tau Zero make sense?

Warning: I'm trying to obfuscate much of this question, and hiding the key elements in spoiler blocks..but some spoilers will probably be inevitable. At the ending of the book Tau Zero the ending ...
10
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2answers
464 views

Novel where “sub-standard” humans are sent to perform space exploration

When I was in my early teens, I read a science fiction novel I have since lost track of, and can remember neither the title nor the author. I can remember only a few details about the novel, but ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Which Bone is Leela Missing?

In Season 8, Episode 9 of Futurama, called "Fry Am the Egg Man", Leela says that she has 205 bones in her body. A normal human has 206 (at adulthood), so what bone is Leela missing?
10
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1answer
689 views

When did zombies become “infected” rather than corpses raised from hell?

I am curious as to the evolution of the zombie concept. In old horror movies from the 60s and into the 80s, zombies were depicted as "true" undead beings; people who have died and been inhumed, and ...
10
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0answers
187 views

Television episode about scientists discovering the Grand Unification Theory, as each one discovers it they begin to vanish

I'm still trying to find another sci-fi show/series/episode - it has similarities to the one Twilight Zone with the downed WWII aircraft. But in this one, a bunch of scientists stumble onto ideas that ...
9
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4answers
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Is there a “mathematics fiction” genre? [closed]

The science fiction genre has been and is still an area in which visionary authors can express their ideas about new sciences. Many successful academic research were influenced by works of science ...
9
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2answers
391 views

Did Robert A. Heinlein “Invent” the elastic inertiometer?

In The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985) by Robert A. Heinlein, a novel approach to measuring mass in zero G used. For a mass reading Budget Jets does not use a centrifuge but the newer, faster, ...
9
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3answers
988 views

What are the units of mass and the standards of comparison in Westeros?

In Game of Thrones S07E01, someone weighs a body part (not being specific to avoid spoilers)-- and finds that it weighs 147 (or something). It always bothers me when people specify unit-less ...
9
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1answer
265 views

Novel called “(Something) World”. Nanotechnology / world-wide speed limit displayed in the sky, enforced by satelite weapons

The protagonist awakes to find himself with amnesia, and the story is his journey to self-discovery. Two features of the story are nanotechnology in his body, and a world-wide speed limit, displayed ...
9
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2answers
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Chemical Elements in the Star Trek Universe

Star Trek commonly refers to chemical elements we "haven't yet" discovered, such as "bilitrium", "illirium", "veridium", and "yominium". A few might correspond to isotopes found in the Island of ...
9
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2answers
436 views

Boy discovers his life is a science experiment

Children's story I read 13-15 years ago about a boy who finds out his whole life is part of a science experiment. It would have been a fairly short book with easy to understand language as I couldn't ...
8
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1answer
308 views

Escape into electrons after galactic explosion

I was once reading a book about a civilization that escaped into an electron after the galaxy had a core explosion. They did this again and again, many levels, sometimes into 4+ dimensional spaces. I ...
8
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1answer
371 views

Short story about a woman who has lost her right to use science

This story would have been in a short story collection or anthology over the last few years. I think it was about a woman who would not allow medical treatment for her children due to vague non-...