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127 votes

Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

Saruman Yes, he was evil, since Tolkien was not a great fan of industrialization, but Saruman studied the natural sciences. Specifically, he was familiar with optics. His "Saruman of many colors&...
Adamant's user avatar
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32 votes
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How did they get away from the tsunami if there were 45 minutes before the next slide?

This is partly a problem with the episode ordering of FOX, and partly untold. "Summer of Love" was supposed to be episode two. It was to transition them from the "timer can open portals whenever, ...
starpilotsix's user avatar
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Who "seeded" Arrakis' flora and fauna? And with what?

A lot of your question will probably be answered by the appendices at the end of the book. There's a reference to both "a rare native root plant" and "the terraform desert plants" -...
Amanadiel's user avatar
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31 votes

Is there a real substance called "bismullah"?

In the story bismullah is described as "a radioactive rare earth". None of the rare earths have this name, or anything close to it. However, by 1945, when the story was written, one rare ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
28 votes
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Explanation of this quote "it took man six thousand years really to discover science"?

Assuming the nature of science fiction story telling of the period, Theodore Sturgeon's point was that humanity's flirtations with science began occurring with our capacity to write and transfer ...
Thaddeus Howze's user avatar
24 votes

Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

Tom Bombadil? OK, he doesn't seem much like a scientist at first glance, but bear with me ... He lives surrounded by nature, which he knows and understands better than anyone. He has a lot of wisdom ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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20 votes
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Analog science fact article about dimensions

I suspect you're recalling "Dimensions, Anyone" by John D. Clark, Ph.D., published in Analog, November 1966. The bit about a fool is in the introduction: A shattering crash rocked the ...
DavidW's user avatar
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17 votes
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What are the units of mass and the standards of comparison in Westeros?

ETA: It appears the Archmaester Ebrose was documenting the weights as "penny" in the scene for the basis of the question. Based on the evidence below, I am fairly certain this would refer to a ...
Skooba's user avatar
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13 votes

Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

The issue is complicated by the starkly different relationship that Men, Eldar, and Ainur have with Arda: It is never the true home of Men, whereas the Elves and the Ainur within Arda are bound to it ...
EvilSnack's user avatar
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Did James Blish just make up a bunch of scientific disciplines?

These appear to be a mix of real and invented disciplines. Real Ones Histochemistry is about the kinds of chemicals in your tissues. "Histo" here isn't related to history, but to "...
indigochild's user avatar
13 votes

Are clinical trials done in the Star Trek universe?

Yes there are clinical trials (implicitly research Crusher refers to) "Ethics" Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5, Episode 16 "I am delighted that Worf is going to recover. You ...
lucasbachmann's user avatar
12 votes
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Echo Death, obscure novel from 1972?

This is Ecodeath (1972) by William Jon Watkins & E. V. Snyder. An ecoescape story about Watkins and Snyder (when they weren't writing this book) who both can "Jump" into time. Watkins ...
Valorum's user avatar
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Can Matt Murdock feel radiation pressure?

Daredevil is a walking Geiger counter. By the man's own admission. In Daredevil #43 (1968), after Karen Page decides to walk away from him, a heartbroken Daredevil begins to storm the city, looking ...
Jenayah's user avatar
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12 votes

Explanation of this quote "it took man six thousand years really to discover science"?

He is most likely referring to the time since the beginnings of civilisation. Today, with more recent discoveries of proto-cities and neolithic settlements we'd say that civilisation started around 7,...
Werrf's user avatar
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12 votes

Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

It surprises me that no one has mentioned the Númenóreans yet. From A Description of the Island of Númenor in Unfinished Tales: The account of the Island of Númenor that here follows is derived ...
LAK's user avatar
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11 votes

How does the scientists version of the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) go?

I think you mean “The Electromagnetic Litany” by Robert Silverberg. I read this in a science fiction book “The Electromagnetic Litany” is part of the novel To Open the Sky … It was written probably ...
Ubik's user avatar
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11 votes

Who "seeded" Arrakis' flora and fauna? And with what?

He thought of the filmbook Yueh had shown him--"Arrakis: His Imperial Majesty's Desert Botanical Testing Station." It was an old filmbook from before discovery of the spice. Names flitted ...
planetologist kynes's user avatar
10 votes
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What experiment were they running on the sand?

The film's official novelisation indicates that the plan was to use a particle accelerator to create some manner of high-energy field, illuminating the sand and causing its interatomic bonds to break ...
Valorum's user avatar
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10 votes

Is there any scientific basis behind the "Big Mistake" theory in Hyperion?

It is most likely conjecture from an incomplete understanding of black holes at the time. Black holes consuming planets is a plot device as far back Larry Niven's "Hole Man" in 1975. Hawking ...
Nate White's user avatar
10 votes
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In Flowers for Algernon was Charley actually less intelligent than he was before the procedure?

The ending of Flowers for Algernon is intentionally ambiguous. Algernon loses his enhanced intelligence and subsequently dies; when the mouse is autopsied, there is clear damage to his brain. ...
Buzz's user avatar
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10 votes
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Can Magneto control and manipulate metal ores?

In a word, yes. Magneto can manipulate ores that are rich in metals. House of Marvel #2 - Civil War
Valorum's user avatar
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9 votes

Is it possible for Supergirl to have sex or offspring?

Supergirl (AKA Kara Zor-El AKA Linda Lee Danvers) has one known (but unnamed) child, seen in the Elseworlds serial Kingdom Come. The young lady pictured is, according to concept art, apparently the ...
Valorum's user avatar
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9 votes

Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

The Herb-master of the Houses of Healing This gentleman studied botany and the healing effects of said botanics. He even knew the ancient names for those plants (modern-day equivalent of knowing the ...
Darren's user avatar
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9 votes
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Are there any (natural) scientists in Middle-earth?

Meriadoc Brandybuck According to The Lord of the Rings's Prologue, Meriadoc was the author of many books, and one of the most important was Herblore of the Shire, where he details the history and ...
Sekhemty's user avatar
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8 votes
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Where does light come from in Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth?

Most of the light sources are quite mundane: They set out with torches, though they rarely use them for fear of causing an explosion (emphasis mine): My uncle had been hard at work all the ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
8 votes

What does the term 'serum' refer to in science fiction stories?

In real world biology, serum is the clear yellowish fluid left over from blood when you separate out the blood cells, normally by spinning in a centrifuge. It can still contain antibodies among other ...
Pelinore's user avatar
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8 votes
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How infertile are humans in The Handmaid's Tale?

The implication is that the global population is shrinking, although this has largely affected Caucasian societies. There was no one cause, says Aunt Lydia. She stands at the front of the room, in ...
Valorum's user avatar
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7 votes

Economics of the Empire

The major plot of Star Wars: Rebels gives us a really good insight into the 'behind the scenes' working of the Empire. Plundering resources There are multiple examples of unsustainable practices ...
Valorum's user avatar
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7 votes
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Is there any evidence of relativity in the Star Wars universe?

Relativity at high speed exists within Legends but is hand-waved through the use of relativistic shielding WOZIN, DELEMEDE - To look at him, you'd swear he wasn't a day over 35 standard years old,...
Valorum's user avatar
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7 votes
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Story set on a planet/sun moving through our solar system with alien life experiencing many generations for a human generation

As per my comment, and Spencer pointing out a relevant detail, this may be Robert L. Forward's Dragon's Egg. In Dragon's Egg, Forward describes the history and development of a life form (the Cheela) ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
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