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James Cameron’s recent film, Avatar, has grossed over $2 billion as of January 31, 2010. This blue alien and space ship laden film is the most recent example of a science fiction work that has gained widespread exposure to the general populace. It follows in the footsteps of such works as the Star Wars series, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and many others, all of which have been exposed to millions of viewers worldwide. Due to the wide exposure of these science fiction blockbusters, along with less widely known works, including written works, television shows, and comic books it is clear that most people have at least casual exposure to the genre. While for most of these people, science fiction is just another brief source of amusement and wonder, are there some who have their horizons broadened by the imaginative ideas on which science fiction is based? Do any of those people go on to innovate in technical fields as scientists and engineers? By locating and examining examples of technical innovators inspired by science fiction, we can gauge some of the impact of the science fiction on the world.

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technicalbackground.mp4 (5330 kB)

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