Science, by its very definition, relies mostly on cold, hard facts rather than creativity. Rational thinking is given more importance in the field of science than imagination. In fact, science is considered to be one of those fields where everything is based on research and practical knowledge. However, here we will learn about a few of the inventions and discoveries of science that might have been inspired by science fiction.
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Various examples in history prove the fact that science has found inspiration from the unlikeliest places. Sometimes, a lot of scientific discoveries and ideas were due to works of fiction. Can you believe the transition from science fiction to reality actually exists? Yes, from the automated cars to the touchscreen that we use on our phones, the very first ideas were from an enthusiastic storyteller and not a laboratory. The works of fiction, literature, or films, that are based on some scientific foundation and have a more futuristic and imaginative tone to them are called ‘Science Fiction’.
So, on that note, let us take a look at some of the technological advancements in the real world that first originated with someone’s imagination and hence turned into a scientific reality.
We all remember the date July 20th, 1969 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by being the first humans to set their foot on the moon. Of course, the achievement was due to the efforts made by the then president John F Kennedy and the space organizations, the actual idea of men travelling to space was actually a thing of the past.
It was in Jules Verne’s novel in the year 1865 when the first space travel anecdote was shared. In the novel, which was entirely a work of fiction, a few ammunition enthusiasts built a cannon that could launch them into the moon. In fact, some assumptions done by Jules Verne in the book about the launch of the cannon were pretty much similar to the real first launch.
Apart from that, the design described in the book was very much similar to the command module of Apollo 18. To add to this, the spaceship in the book takes off from Florida and then drops right back into the Pacific Ocean during the return, which is similar to the actual journey of the NASA shuttle Apollo 11. This is perhaps one of the biggest examples of the science of science fiction because Apollo 11 was built in almost the same manner with similar designs and an equivalent trajectory as well and that too 100 years later!
During the 1700s, electricity was a relatively new term and was amongst the most fascinating creations to mankind. Scientists all over the world were experimenting with the effects of electricity. In fact, there were also some scientists who got curious about the use of electricity on human bodies. One scientist, Luigi Galvani, made the discovery that using a jolt of electricity on a dead frog caused the leg of the frog to twitch. After a few years, Galvani’s nephew, Giovanni Aldini started to conduct different experiments on animal corpses.
Pretty soon, they found that with passing jolts of electricity, certain parts of the body could be moved. It was this discovery that led Mary Shelley, an English Author to write the story of Frankenstein. It was a story that talked about a scientist who was obsessed with discovering the secret of life. Dr. Frankenstein, the main character of the story, used several body parts and electricity to create the famous Frankenstein monster that we know today.
There was even a film made after the book and pretty soon Frankenstein was a huge hit. However, it was the young American engineer, Earl Bakken who took some ideas from the movie and created the first battery-powered wearable pacemaker. Thus, one of the best examples of Science Fiction Vs Science might have inspired a medical miracle.
Science fiction and robots have had a connection for ages. In fact, the first use of the word ‘Robot’’ was actually done in a Czech language play in the year 1920. The idea of robots is definitely one of the most popular and prominent works in the world of science fiction. From R2D2 and C3PO in Starwars to destructive machines such as the Terminator and Ultron, there have been many examples of fictional robots that have come to life. Also, robots were a pretty common occurrence in different children’s cartoons as well. For example, in the cartoon Richie Rich, there was a robotic maid called ‘Irona’. Also, in the Cartoon Network show called the Jetsons, there was a robot maid named ‘Rosie’.
However, going from science fiction to reality, in the year 2002, a company named iRobot created a fully automated robotic vacuum cleaner called Roomba. The inspiration for the robot was the robotic maid that was featured in the Jetsons. These days, there are robots that can easily perform complex tasks just as effectively and efficiently as humans would, perhaps even better. For instance, Boston Dynamics is one such robotics company that creates robots that are capable of opening doors, running, swimming, doing backflips, and so much more.
With the advancement of technology, Artificial Intelligence soon came into the picture. Thus started the pairing of Robotics and AI. But did you know that the first complex portrayals of AI were actually in 2001: A Space Odessey, the famous novel by C Clarke? Yes, in the book, there was a robot named HAL 9000 which was powered by Artificial Intelligence. Today, we are regular users of Artificial Intelligence such as Siri and Alexa. But to think about the fact that it all came from the imagination of a person is truly an astonishing thing.
These are just a few examples where science actually drew some inspiration from the fictional world. The power of imagination has a lot of impact on the real world that we live for sure. These scientific discoveries are proof of that.