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Scientists Reveal Their Favorite Works Of Science Fiction

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Here at GFR we cover anything that fits under the umbrella of our twin loves: science and science fiction. And just as the bleeding edge of our scientific understanding is forever pushing the boundaries of our science fiction, SF is itself inspiring fans to take transform their love of starships, robots, and the like into careers in real scientific fields. So what are some of the science fiction movies, shows, and books that real-life scientists love best? The Huffington Post recently asked a handful of scientists precisely that.

PermutationCityDr. Max Tegmark is a cosmologist and physics professor at MIT, and the scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute, which provides grants to “catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology.” Tegmark cites Greg Egan’s 1994 science fiction novel Permutation City as his favorite, explaining that Egan’s “explorations of the ultimate nature of reality blew my mind and inspired my own research.”

Dr. Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, and the author of books including The Particle at the End of the Universe and From Eternity to Here. He lists another semi-obscure work you might want to add to your Kindle: Robert L. Forward’s Dragon’s Egg. Carroll says, “It’s a story about life on the surface of a neutron star, which would ordinarily be considered completely outlandish. A good reminder that ‘life’ might take on very different forms than we ordinarily imagine. Here’s the Dragon’s Egg synopsis from Amazon:

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The Congress Trailer Introduces A Story Based A Stanislaw Lem Novel

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Stanislaw Lem is one of those science fiction icons that I’ve never really gotten into, in spite of reading the genre pretty much from the moment I could read at all. The Polish writer is also a talent who hasn’t been explored much in the world of film. The two movies based on Lem’s work that you’ve probably heard of are the two adaptations of his 1961 novel Solaris, which was first made into a film by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972, and then by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. Now another of his works is coming to the big screen: The Congress, starring Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel, based on Lem’s The Futurological Congress. You can watch the trailer above, which introduces the basic concept and then drops a whole lot of LSD about halfway through.