ENG 0975 - The Science of Science Fiction
Instructor: Mr. Christian R. Mills,
B.S. Weber State University, Mathematics & Physics Education
M.S. Montana State University, Physics Education.
|OFFICIAL COURSE DESCRIPTION:|
Have you ever wondered how much science fiction has affected real science? Or, how much of science fiction is based on real science? This course is an examination of the history of science fiction literature, from the early 1930's writings of Hugo Gernsback to Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and Arthur C. Clarke, to the newest fan-fiction, and the real science behind the science fiction. We will look at the theories behind space travel, time travel, extrasolar planets, the advancement of technology, and the possibilities of alien life. The course will include readings, writings, films, television shows, real science and technology, as well as an opportunity to write your own sci-fi story. A background in science is not needed, but beware, you just might learn some real science during the course of the semester!
|MORE ABOUT THIS COURSE:|
This course is designed to help students increase literacy, improve writing skills, and broaden their reading and literature base while at the same time exposing the students to real science contained in the science fiction. The course will require the students to develop, understand, and apply the scientific method as well as to develop and apply a "science fiction method." Students will use hypothesis to identify a problem presented in text or in media, research to understand the conflict, experiment with statistical data and/or the students own experiences, and draw conclusions based on this data. Students will then apply what they've learned about how real science and science fiction affect each other to make educated conjectures about theoretical science, future technological advancements, and practical applications. Students will also compare and contrast golden-age science fiction with modern science fiction to determine if real science has bearing on science fiction. Students will also be asked to determine and document how much of an effect science fiction has on real science.
Students will submit a research paper involving the scientific method as it applies to modern theoretical sciences. Students will research topics such as space travel, time travel, teleportation, etc. and present their research in a true and valid scientific format.
Students will submit upon completion of the term a science fiction story. This story will include the basic elements of science fiction as well as a plot device which requires the scientific method for resolution. The students will use explicit and elaborate explanations when describing the conflict resolution in order to demonstrate their understanding of real science.
The students will read, discuss, and present information from articles from journals as well as the internet about advancements in real science. The articles will cover cutting-edge science and technology. The students will be required to discuss and present how these advancements and ideas pertain to and apply to society, how they better our lives, as well as new technologies and their practical applications.
As the students read, study, watch films, or listen to science and science fiction, they are required to annotate their opinions and feelings, vocabulary terms they don't understand along with their definitions, points of interest, or other pertinent information that the students find necessary in order to complete their other required assignments.
MIDTERM & FINAL EXAM:
Since this is a class from which you may earn science credit, there will be a midterm and a comprehensive final exam. These exams will require the class to work problems from the online multiple choice test about real-science topics and problems. There will also be a few short-answer questions asking the students to draw conclusions from a number of real-world situations. Keep in mind that the object of the class is to draw relationships between science and science fiction and to apply the scientific method.
Grading will be done in the following manner:
Plagiarism is defined as "presenting as one's own work the work of another person -- words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts, information, organizing principles, or style of presentation -- without proper attribution." While we will talk about the dangers of plagiarism in class, it is your responsibility to be aware of what is and what is not plagiarism, whether intentional or not. Your instructor has a variety of tools at his disposal for testing written work for plagiarism, ample experience at detecting it, and a low tolerance for it. If you have questions about whether you are adequately citing or attributing work, please ask your mentor or instructor.
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