To Boldly Go:
The Science and Fiction of Space Travel, Time Travel, and Extraterrestrials


Daniel W. Koon
Spring, 2003

Is the shortest path between two galaxies always a straight line? Is time a one-way street with a fixed speed limit? Will we ever find evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, or have they already found us? People have fantasized for centuries about trips across galaxies and through time. But will mankind -- or alien civilizations -- ever escape the limits of the here and now?

In this course, we will use lecture, seminar, and laboratory to explore speculations about time, space, and the development of intelligence in both science and science fiction. Studentsí work will culminate in written and oral presentations of their own research on specific scenarios for time travel, interstellar space travel, and the search for intelligence outside our planet. While science readings will be geared to non-scientists, and use of mathematics will be minimized, students are forewarned that we will be doing real science in this course, in addition to studying fiction.