Materials science in science fiction

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2024-07-11 15:30:06

Materials science in science fiction is the study of how materials science is portrayed in works of science fiction. The accuracy of the materials science portrayed spans a wide range – sometimes it is an extrapolation of existing technology, sometimes it is a physically realistic portrayal of a far-out technology, and sometimes it is simply a plot device that looks scientific, but has no basis in science. Examples are:

Critical analysis of materials science in science fiction falls into the same general categories. The predictive aspects are emphasized, for example, in the motto of the Georgia Tech's department of materials science and engineering – Materials scientists lead the way in turning yesterday's science fiction into tomorrow's reality. This is also the theme of many technical articles, such as Material By Design: Future Science or Science Fiction?,[3] found in IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

On the other hand, there is criticism of the unrealistic materials science used in science fiction. In the professional materials science journal JOM, for example, there are articles such as The (Mostly Improbable) Materials Science and Engineering of the Star Wars Universe[4] and Personification: The Materials Science and Engineering of Humanoid Robots.[5]

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