CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

When Science and Science Fiction Collide

Lawrence M. Krauss and Neal Stephenson on Optimism, Inspiration, and the Problem with Human Space Travel

What happens when you bring together scientists and science fiction writers? Zócalo and the Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination brought physicist Lawrence M. Krauss and science fiction writer Neal Stephenson together on stage to find out. That question is also at the heart of a new book, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, to which both Stephenson and Krauss contributed. Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of io9, the evening’s moderator, and a fellow Hieroglyph contributor, opened the discussion—in front of a standing-room-only crowd at MOCA Grand Avenue, with more people watching in a nearby simulcast room—by asking how the relationship between writers and scientists plays out. Does the science fiction writer invent something that the scientist then builds? Not exactly. Stephenson said that he originally brought a more modest view to the question of the utility …