Science fiction both in movies and books has shaped our desires and fears. And many top innovators of technology have been inspired by science fiction creating the many of the elements of the world world we live in today.
1. A scientist and a writer
One of the world’s most famous sci-fi writers is HG Wells who is famous for sci-fi classics such as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr Moreau. Wells, however, was trained as a scientist. His books contained references to lasers, directed energy weapons, genetic engineering and even the atomic bomb. All penned in the 19th century, years before any of these things came close to being invented.
2. Inspired by Star Trek
Star Trek has many items of technology that have inspired inventors and writers around the world. Martin Cooper, director of research and development at telecommunications company Motorola, is famous for declaring that the communicator from the hit TV series Star Trek was a major inspiration for the development of the world’s first mobile phone.
3. Mars has two moons
A prediction most baffling and difficult to explain, is one made by Irish author Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels. In the 1726 novel Swift detailed that Mars had two moons. Of course it was then discovered that Mars did in fact has 2 moons!
4. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
The works of Jules Verne are said to be the greatest influence on inventions in the modern era. Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages series documented brilliantly imaginative depictions of the great depths of the world’s oceans and the moon. Simon Lake an American inventor who is famous for creating the first submarine in the 1890s was inspired by Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
5. Rocket power
NASA, the great American Space Agency, built a cupola on the International Space Station that is very similar in design to the cockpit of a Star Wars TIE fighter. NASA also have spaceships that use ion propulsion ( the “I” in TIE fighter). Jack Cover, a scientist from NASA, is known for his development of the Taser which was named after inspiration from Victor Appleton’s novel Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle.
6. The World Wide Web
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the world famous inventor of the World Wide Web, got his idea when he read a sci-fi paper titled, “Dial F for Frankenstein,” when he was a kid. The story documented computers that communicated information over telephone lines… sounds familiar? Amazing how a small science fiction paper inspired something as huge as the internet. Could we exist today without it?
7. Nuclear Technology
Again HG Wells’ influence is significant; his novel “The World Set Free” mentions the idea of atomic energy. The Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard was inspired by this novel in his endeavers to solve the nuclear chain reaction problem, and being able to sustain energy from nuclear chain reactions.
The final stages of his solution were reached during the World War II, as a then citizen of the United States. He then sold his research to the United States Army, at a cost only to cover expenses. This research continued its life as foundations for the Manhattan Project. Szilard hoped the threat of atomic warfare would bring peace to the world and that the use of atomic energy as a weapon would never happen.