Why Scientists Should Read More Science Fiction



Science today is a fast-paced, ever-changing field with new unthinkable discoveries made every single day.  With such a fast-paced growth, it seems that scientists forget to weigh the dangers with inventions or innovations and the harm they might bring to society as we know it.  While most inventions or innovations lead to a good solution with no danger or side effects, there are cases in which this is not true.  The inventor of the gatling gun, Richard Gatling, decide to design a weapon that one man could use that could do the damage of 30 men.  This invention in his mind, would shrink the armies thereby reduce the death tolls of the war. When in reality the gun was so powerful it took more men to stop it, thereby increasing death tolls throughout the late 1800s’.

Science fiction novels are widely read there captivating plots and interesting characters, but below these things there is a hidden message with great knowledge.  In the Science fiction novel Frankenstein we see an invention with good intent with an inventor who does not weigh the dangers of his science experiment and the impact it will have on his life and society.  We see other novels in many fields of science with stories about topics scientists are diving into today.  While not basing their entire decision on whether to continue with their invention on a science fiction novel, the lessons they have learned form the novel should make them think through the dangers of the new science and technology they are creating.  In this essay we will be diving more in depth into the world of science fiction novels and modern science and how the inventions, lessons, and dangers of these inventions all intertwine.  Also, we will be analyzing inventions and innovations and comparing them to stories in science fiction and the lessons that could have been learned if more scientists had read science fiction.

Science fiction around the science community in today’s society has seemed to receive a bad review.  Many think it is far-fetched and outlandish with little to no factual basis to stand on, making it useless in the scientific field.  Professors at MIT see it in a different light however, preaching upon it’s lessons and preface to major scientific discoveries. Professor Novy states “There is still a stigma against those who read it, and yet if you look at the great advances in science and technology during most of the 20th and 21st centuries, they are often preceded by descriptions in works of science fiction written decades before.”  As you can see, many people dismiss science fiction place in science, but with a little digging we can find something that can be added to every scientists mental tool kit.  Analyzing the point that most people discredit science fiction due to its outlandish stories, we see many example of these stories in reality.


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