Sci-Fi Science

I got this cute postcard from the people at Workaholic Productions. (Click for larger view.)sci-fi science poster You may recall a post I did some time ago about some things I was doing in a demo lab here at USC for a pilot for a new TV show. (Or, you may not. That’s what the archive is for – browse several of the Tales From The Industry” series here.) At the time I did not tell you about the show in detail, since I don’t like to reveal details of show ideas and so forth when things are still in development.

Anyway, the show is done. It’s a pilot, and so with your support, they may well get the go ahead to make more. So if you’re inclined, go and have a look. What is it about? Well, the idea is to start off with some standard (pulp) sci-fi scenario (alien invasion in this case) that you might see in a movie or tv show, and then through the course of the show examine aspects of what you see to investigate the science behind it. They have actual scientists (and engineers, since a lot of can be really about technology) come on and discuss things, explain science, do demonstrations, and so on and so forth.

This particular show, the pilot, has a lot of the standard alien invasion combat weaponry on display – shooting of ray guns, casting of lightning-bolt-like bursts of energy, force fields defending them from humanity’s puny projectile weapons, and so forth. How much of that actually is feasible, as far as we understand things now. Or, to slightly misquote the excellent Joker of Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1986 Batman, “Where do they get those wonderful toys?!”

magnetic fields demo for tv showI talk about magnetic fields, mostly, explaining some of the basic science (how the magnetic field can interact with induced eddy currents in a material to exert a force on it) and doing some fund demos in the lab. They also have some real tough guys doing amazing things with lightning bolts and Tesla coils, powerful lasers, rail guns, and so forth. It’s a rather nicely put together show.

Oh… the usual caveat. I’ve not seen the final cut, so for all I know they’ve replaced me and all the other scientists with clips of Michio Kaku saying random wild stuff… I’ve seen it happen, folks. Sigh.

If it works, and they get a series, I can imagine all sorts of fun science topic that can be opened up for discussion using this format as a gateway. Topics in biology (genetics, other biologies, etc) condensed matter physics, chemistry, neurobiology, etc, etc. It’s really a good idea I think.

So, as it says on the postcard… Science Channel, Sunday the 26th October (coming up) 9pm (East and Pacific) 8pm Central. Get a friend to record it if you don’t get that channel. Share what you think, if you want to.

And, yes, stay tuned for a few more tv shows airing in the next month or two with fun science bits from yours truly…



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