Thursday, July 31, 2008

Science and Science Fiction Panel at ComicCon

At last week's ComicCon Discover Magazine sponsored a panel discussion on the Science of Science fiction, featuring Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist and TV show (Battlestar Galactica, Eureka) science adviser Kevin Grazier , and Eureka producer and writer Jaime Paglia.

Annalee Newitz reports on io9 about some of their discussion about the science in Battlestar Galactica. One of the bits they tried to get right was the effect of space on the human body.
In season three, in the episode "Day in the Life," where Callie and Tyrol are blasted out of the airlock, through vacuum, and into a waiting Raptor. While a lot of fans complained that BSG's depiction of the event was incorrect, Grazier said in fact many scifi fans' minds had been poisoned by watching Outland and other crappy science in movies. "They wouldn't have exploded or been frozen," he said. "Yes, they would have frozen eventually, but not in the few seconds they were in vacuum." He also noted that they did show Tyrol getting the bends, which was realistic, and Callie had to be in a hyperbaric chamber. "I was proud that we got that right," he added. And fixed a lot of people's misconceptions about vacuum in the process.

Read the whole post for more bits (and there is some discussion of Cylon physiology in the comments). It does seem telling to me that the science consultants seem to be predominantly astronomers and physicists, without a bioscientist in the bunch. Biology just doesn't get the respect that physics does.

Of course you can watch a video of the full panel discussion for more.

Also, check out David Moldawer's report at about the Science Fiction authors panel at ComicCon, which included Robert J. Sawyer, Ann Aguirre, Tobias S. Buckell, William C. Dietz, Alan Dean Foster, Charles Stross, and John Zakour.

(Note: this is supposed to be a post on the panel at the official Eureka blog, but I can't get anything other than the title to display)

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