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Prophets of Science Fiction

During the month of February, The Science Channel will air new episodes in its Prophets of Science Fiction series. Academy award winning director Ridley Scott hosts this exploration of the relationship between genre and the constantly-evolving worlds of science and technology.  From Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov to George Lucas and Phillip K. Dick, the dreams of storytellers often become the inspiration for researchers seeking mankind's next transformative discovery. The following programs in this series are scheduled to air in February. Please check your local listings to confirm the dates.

Isaac Asimov (Premieres Wednesday, February 1, at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) Isaac Asimov dreamed a better future where we need not fear our own technology. His I, Robot stories of a sci-fi future where robots can do our jobs for us led to the creation of real-life industrial robots--and paved the way for a robo-friendly world. Today, droid doctors save lives performing delicate spinal surgery, and automaton astronauts repair orbital stations in the vacuum of space. And it all started with Isaac Asimov's futuristic sci-fi vision: a robot in every home.

Jules Verne (Premieres Wednesday, February 8, at 10:00 PM ET/PT) He put a man on the Moon in the Victorian era. He criticized the Internet…in 1863. Jules Verne is the ultimate futurist, with a legacy of sci-fi stories predicting everything from fuel cell technology to viral advertising. The extraordinary voyages of Jules Verne span from the center of the Earth to the surface of the Moon, inspiring art, industry, culture, and technology with an enduring question: Where can science take us?

Robert Heinlein (Premieres Wednesday, February 15, at 10:00 PM ET/PT) Science fiction legend Robert Heinlein is a walking contradiction. His stories address themes of patriotism, and duty - while stressing the importance of personal freedom and expression. Heinlein's groundbreaking sci-fi stories like Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land continue to challenge readers with the enduing question: "what is freedom?"

George Lucas (Premieres Wednesday, February 22, at 10:00 PM ET/PT) From Luke Skywalker's light sabre to Darth Vader's Death Star, the Star Wars franchise is one of the defining science fiction works of the later 20th century. George Lucas' prolific imagination has already inspired two generations of scientists and engineers to push the envelope of technology. By introducing computers into the filmmaking process, he changed the way movies are made, and the way we all see the future. Surprisingly, many fictional technologies from "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" are now becoming a reality.

All of these programs should provide a rich platform for discussion of science and technology in a fascinating context that should appeal to a wide range of students.

Some interesting resources you can use to integrate science fiction into your classroom can be found at AboutSF.

PHOTO CREDIT: Clipart.com

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