WorldCon 2011 Report: Day Four – SF Physics Myths

Saturday, August 20, 2011
SF Physics Myths(Gregory Bedford [the moderator] is always entertaining.)

Favorite quote: "Stars are facts; constellations are theories."

Exceeding the speed of light is *not* the same as breaking the speed of sound. The latter relies simply applying more energy to the problem. The former is limited by the fundamental structure of the universe.

You cannot go from concept to implementation quickly. Science and invention take time. Things almost never work the first time.

Why aren't spaceships spherical?
A very practical reason: It's much more difficult to stack equipment and people in a spherical shape. (There is a common belief that the shape in space doesn't matter, but that point was not addressed.)

Theories are created to fit the facts as observed. This can often be influenced by the observer's experiences and frame of mind. Many stories are based on the extrapolation of theories as if they were proven to work. (There seemed to be some dissatisfaction with this. Personally, I'm okay with this. Isn't that kind of the definition of "speculative fiction"?)