With Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry and his collaborators envisioned a future where technological innovation has led to a post-scarcity society, one where resources like food, shelter, and energy are abundant and available to all. This premise is crucial to understanding Star Trek's universe: technology is the key to social equity.
Some of the more prominent technological advances in this future world include communicators (an inspiration for the first mobile phones); tricorders, handheld information-gathering devices that are used to scan, record and observe; the Personal Access Display Device (PADD), a handheld computer much like the iPad; a universal translator, used to interpret alien language into the user's mother tongue (Tamarians not included); telepresence, a means of interacting with another person or object from a great distance; and phasers, a laser weapon most often used to stun rather than kill.
To explore the number of ways in which Star Trek stacks up against the real universe, we welcome leading theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and author of The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing, to take us where the Enterprise may never have gone, demonstrating that truth can be stranger than fiction.
Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and physics department at Arizona State University. Winner of various international awards for his research and writing, he writes columns for newspapers and magazines and is the author of over 300 scientific papers. Krauss produced and appeared in the documentary The Unbelievers (13), and has also appeared in Werner Herzog’s new films Salt and Fire (16) and Lo and Behold (16). He is the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Physics of Star Trek (95) and A Universe from Nothing (12). His latest book is The Greatest Story Ever Told...So Far (17).