NPR's Science Friday recently came to Pasadena for a special live event. Ira Flatow and his crew filled Caltech's Beckman Auditorium with fans and together they spent an evening exploring the science of the silver screen. For the event, KPCC's Sanden Totten did a live radio story on the ways science fiction in TV and movies has predicted technological advances in real life.
“Star Trek” science advisor Andre Bormanis had to fact check a storyline about teleporting a fetus from one womb to another in “Deep Space Nine.” Bormanis said, “I called a friend who was a pathologist, and told him the idea. After he got done laughing he said, ‘Well, there may be a way to do that.' ... 15-odd years later, there are people talking about how one could actually transplant the fetal placental complex from one woman into another. It’s a whole new level of surrogacy, but it is not medically impossible.”
TV and movies give scientists, thinkers, and dreamers a place to ignore hard fast scientific rules and see what else is possible. And sometimes, we find out that what we once thought were scientific constraints were really just limits of our imagination.