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UCL events news and reviews


What will the world be like in 50 years?

By news editor, on 7 March 2012

Last week, our Science Fiction; Science Futures event – organised by the wonderful UCL Science and Technology Studies was based around the concept of how we look at what’s around the corner. It included a fair bit of conversation about failed futures – those things that previous generations predicted would be here by now, like flying cars and invisibility cloaks (though apparently they’re not far off).

At the end of the event we asked the participants to make their own predictions for the world in fifty years time. This is what they said:

Selected Highlights
Grace – Human skills as currency given pressure and inequality in resources. Contact lenses with the web in, filter so that when you see things you’re interested in, stuff e.g. vouchers are overlaid. Two-way with cameras so you can publish what you see! (With and off switch).

Dennis – the end of the traditional nation-state replaced by smaller city-based units connected by multi-layered networks of information, trade and culture, and some federal structure.

Jared – America will be known by its new name, “New China”.

Richard – FLYING CARS. I’m serious. Not within the reach of the average consumer, but researchers at some military installations will have a prototype flying car.

Read more of Jack Ashby’s entry on the UCL Museums & Collections Blog

Is Science Fiction the only truly relevant literary genre today?

By ucyow3c, on 10 November 2011

Emily Everett, UCL Alumna (English Language and Literature 2008) reports on The Gower Street Lecture Series and New Scientist event at UCL.

I came to science fiction by a strange route. At first, a £2 paperback of short stories from the Oxfam shop might not seem so very strange. But when the author of those stories is a known and revered writer of realist novels, and those stories are as far from realism as a Celestial Omnibus can take you, the once tame paperback has now become a lurking threat to your respectability as a reader. If it hadn’t had EM Forster’s name printed largely across the front, I doubt I ever would have found the nerve to read it in public.


‘War of the Worlds’ screening

By Frances-Catherine Quevenco, on 18 October 2011

On 3 October, at 6:30pm in the Darwin building of UCL, film enthusiasts, science historians, historians, scientists and a collection of many others gathered to watch the screening of Byron Haskin’s The War of the Worlds (1953).

It is an invasion film based on the popular novel written by H.G. Wells. In fact, it was apparently one of the earliest adaptations of the novel and actually won an Oscar for its special effects. That unfortunately did not stop some of the audience snickering at the killer laser beam attacks of the aliens, nor did it stop fans of the Wells novel criticising the film for making the alien machines hover rather than move in a tripod-like fashion in the novel. This was one of the many fun facts that Dr Joe Cain, Head of UCL Science and Technology Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Biology, shared with the audience before the movie.