The Science of Science Fiction
About this course
School science or maths (UK GCSE equivalent).
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This centre's achievements
A Certificate of Professional Development in Astronomy will be awarded for the successful completion of this module. This module is assigned 12 credit points which can be used to build up credits towards other academic qualifications at Liverpool John Moores University and other Universities.
CD-ROM and necessary course software, full tutor support for the duration of the course (by post, email, telephone and fax), newsgroup for student discussion and course website.
Good access to a computer with CD-ROM player. The computer needs to be able to run an Internet browser although you do not need to be connected to the Internet to take the course.
The course lasts for four months. You will be expected to produce six pieces of coursework and then complete a creative essay at the end of the course. Overall we expect that you will put around 120 hours of time into the course.
You will need to email, post or fax us your work for the course. The weighting for the assessed work will be as follows: Coureswork (100%).
1: Introduction to the History of Science Fiction Cinema and Literature.
What is Science Fiction? When did it begin to occur in literature and cinema? How have the concepts behind it changed with the advance of technology and realisation of some of the fictional ideas? How have the writings of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Arthur C. Clarke altered our concepts of science?
2: Main ideas of Science Fiction and their connection with Science.
How have fictional ideas of space travel influenced our current science? How do the current theories on parallel universes reflect their fictional counterparts in literature and films? What is the nature of time travel, and will it ever be possible? Which of the ideas of futuristic technology are possible and plausible within the next few years?
3: Mass and Energy
What is Science does it relate to energy? What is the structure of matter and how have our views of it changed over time? Does energy exist in the form of waves or particles? What is the difference between them, and how has our understanding of energy evolved? How universal are the "Universal Laws" and how do we apply them?
4: The Structure of the Universe
How much of the Universe can we actually see? What is the evidence for Dark Matter? Is there sufficient mass in the Universe to cause it to collapse? How big is the Universe? How old is it? How can we accurately determine the size and the age of the Universe?
5: Computers and Artifical Intelligence
What is the history of the Computer Revolution? How did computing start and where will it go? What is life? How do we define it? Will artificial intelligence ever match the human brain?
6: Extra-Solar Planets and Life
How do these objects compare with expectations based on our solar system? How long is it before we expect to detect solar system analogs? What indicators can we use to detect whether these planets may support life? How are the atmospheres of these planets different from our own?
The Science of Science Fiction