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If you like science fiction would you be a good engineer?

  1. Jun 17, 2010 #1
    Well i love science fiction and love science , especially math and physics. Based on this would you go for engineering? lets say mechanical engineering?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2010 #2
    you won't really know until you try. lots of people change majors.
  4. Jun 18, 2010 #3
    For what it's worth, I joined an astrophysics research group because I thought it'd be like getting a PhD in Star Trek.

    Sadly, I'm not entirely joking.
  5. Jun 18, 2010 #4
    Why do people keep coming up with questions about doing a job based on something totally uncorrelated? Or asking if someone who does a job does 'insert mundane activity' in the spare time?

    If you like science fiction would you be a good engineer?
    The answer is fairly obviously - we don't know. They are totally unrelated. Some like sci-fi and are fantasic engineers, others would make dreadful engineers.
  6. Jun 18, 2010 #5
    I think science-fiction is for the most part not as revolutionary as real science. No science-fiction author in the XIXth century would have come up with incredible facts of Nature as quantum mechanics and relativity revealed for instance.
  7. Jun 18, 2010 #6
    Does watching House make you a good physician?

  8. Jun 18, 2010 #7
    How much mathematics do you do in reading science fiction? How many finite element models do you create when reading science fiction? Do you solve many problems? Create many designs? Build many prototypes?

    Enjoying reading science fiction means you would enjoy a job reading science fiction, nothing else. If you find that you're wildly fascinated by (does this exist..?) an engineering sub-genre of science fiction, then you might want to have a closer look at engineering math and what it's like to be an engineer. Otherwise, you can't make any conclusions.
  9. Jun 18, 2010 #8
    No, definitely not.
  10. Jun 18, 2010 #9
    Maybe watching House will make you a good physicist. Their differential diagnosis scenes feel like doing a physics problem.
  11. Jun 18, 2010 #10
    Check out http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/" [Broken] by Edwin A. Abbot, written in 1884.

    http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/AuthorTotalAlphaList.asp?AuNum=50" [Broken] wrote about many things that didn't exist at the time.

    The work of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQM0bfBQvDA", though not a science fiction writer, is packed with new ideas centuries ahead of their time. Imo he was a great scientist, and if he had any writing ability he would have made a great science fiction writer as well.

    It all starts with an untested idea. Fictional ideas are often wrong, but their value is in the creative thought they inspire, rather than the factual content they contain. Wrong ideas have practical value if they can inspire the right ones.

    Science itself is as old as man, but the term scientist became popular in the 19th century, about the same time as the term science fiction.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jun 19, 2010 #11

    Thats very interesting, i think they are really correlated, i mean is about imganination with racional thinking
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Jun 19, 2010 #12
    wow! cross to the chin? xD
  14. Jun 19, 2010 #13
    An argument based on anecdotal evidence could at least mention Asimov
  15. Jun 19, 2010 #14
    Hilbert had a student who quit mathematics for poetry. He reportedly remarqued "I never thought he had enough imagination to be a mathematician.".
  16. Jun 19, 2010 #15
    That's funny, and I can see how it would be true.

    I loved Asimov's Foundation series. Consider him included.
  17. Jun 20, 2010 #16
    Hey Isaac Asimov was a biochemist and obviously liked SciFi.
  18. Jun 20, 2010 #17
    This quote written in 1791 by a schoolboy who was later the author of one of the most famous poems in the English language, as justification for a poem.

  19. Jun 20, 2010 #18
    I do not see how Coleridge was supposed to qualify to judge mathematics. He did not ever produce any scientific work. Then again, you might argue that Hilbert is unqualified for imagination... Note that Grothendieck is another mathematician with quite a talent for writing. He has a perfect quotation to answer Coleridge's. In french :
    which could tentatively translate
    copied from NCG blog

    The mention of Coleridge suggested another name : Lewis Carroll. Cherry picking is fun.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  20. Jun 20, 2010 #19
    should that perhaps read '.......original scientific....' ?
    He was apparantly good at the mathematics of his time and certainly produced some science-fiction-like ideas in his writing.
  21. Jun 20, 2010 #20
    That is what I meant. In any case, I have very superficial knowledge of Coleridge's life and works.
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