December 7, 2013 11:39 am

This Sunday, Science Fiction Meets Science Fact. Guess What Wins?

Image from Star Wars as Millenium Falcon jumps to light speed

Image Credit: © LucasFilm Limited

A while back, when we asked you for questions about the science in science fiction for this week’s Cosmic Queries, you came up with far more questions than we could possibly answer. And some of them were really excellent, thought provoking ones.

For instance, if we could travel through time, would we be able to change events, as in Back To The Future, or would the timeline reassert itself no matter our actions, as in 12 Monkeys or H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine?

Or, “Is it possible to come up with an equation that predicts the future like in the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov?

Needless to say, the answers astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson comes up with aren’t your typical, “couple-of-sci-fi-geeks-sitting-around-late-at-night-making-stuff-up” sort of answers. Let’s just say that “the laws of physics” get referenced more than once this episode, as do Einstein’s equations, quantum mechanics, and the results of experiments being done with particle accelerators.

The episode is an eclectic mix, from faster-than-light travel and warp drives, to Back To The Future’s Flux Capacitor and Star Wars’ lightsabers, to Dyson Spheres and artificial gravity and energy shields, to Star Trek’s transporter beams and Sliders’ parallel universes.

Neil and comic co-host Eugene Mirman even discuss modern alchemy and how we can finally turn lead into gold… but why it might not be worth the cost.

Listen to Cosmic Queries: Science Fiction this Sunday, December 8th at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons