Scientists Reveal The Science Fiction Stories That Inspired Them

Illustration for article titled Scientists Reveal The Science Fiction Stories That Inspired Them

Great works of science fiction can help us become more aware of real science, and more curious about the wonders of the cosmos. But for some people, they can actually help inspire a career in the sciences. The Conversation asked scientists to name their favorite science-fiction stories, and the results are inspiring. Astrophysicist Duncan Galloway explains how Larry Niven’s Ringworld helped get him interested in the field, and other scientists praise Iain M. Banks, Robert A. Heinlein, and Douglas Adams.


Contact the author at and follow her on Twitter @CharlieJane



This scientist and her specialty confused me: Alice Gorman, space archaeologist. A field interest, yes, but maybe a little premature to call it archaeology, let alone a science. Given that it’s about things a maximum of 60 to 70 years old, and if you have questions, you can still locate living people and ask them.

Not surprising, though, that a space archaeologist would find C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy inspiring. Have you read them? They have a “unique flavour”, all right.