Tor.com content by

Elisabeth Sherman

Sleepy Hollow: The New Supernatural?

The other day, I Facebook messaged a college friend who recently moved to Florida. She and I gush and trade gossip about Supernatural regularly as a means to keep in touch, and that day was no different. “Hey,” I said. “Have you started watching Sleepy Hollow, yet?!!?” She replied with an indifferent “Eh.”  When I asked what her hesitation was, she explained what should have been obvious to me all along: Sleepy Hollow was pretty obviously ripping off Supernatural.

At the risk of starting a fan war, she has a point.

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The Time Traveling Physicist

Amber Miller invented time travel. Okay, maybe not time travel in the way of Doctor Who and maybe not just Amber Miller: A whole team of scientists and engineers designed and built the telescope EBEX, which takes pictures of light from when the universe was 380,000 years old.

“It’s the closest you ever get to time travel. It’s okay for people to think of that,” says Miller, a professor of physics and Dean of Science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University.

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One Tuesday with Freeman

On April 1 at 3 p.m. room 413 in Columbia University’s Dodge Hall was vibrating with anticipation, excitement, anxiety—Freeman Dyson would be arriving in one hour to answer questions about his many works of non-fiction and his experiences as a legendary physicist.

Just a quick refresher: Dyson is a theoretical physicist and mathematician who worked closely with Robert Oppenheimer—the man that is sometimes referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb”—and invented the Dyson Sphere, the method of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations by looking for large objects radiating in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dyson is nothing short of a testament to the power of myth in the physics world: He is so revered as a writer and a scientist that he has become something of a science fiction—even an alien—character, a fantastical version of himself that exists only in his admirers’ imaginations.

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Jim Gates on String Theory and Sci-Fi

When I took the single quantum mechanics class offered at my liberal arts college designed specifically for students with no science background, my intent was to hopefully dispell some of the mysticism surrounding my knowledge of science after years of watching Star Trek and Doctor Who on repeat. In fact, after three months of studying quarks, particle spin, the very nature of gravity, I was even more mystified than ever. Confused, sure, but also so much in awe of the physical properties of the universe that I was sure something so complex and beautiful could only exist in fantasy.

On Feb 28, however, physicist Sylvester James Gates Jr., John S. Toll Professor of Physics, and Center for String & Particle Theory Director, who earlier this month was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama, sat down with NPR’s Tell Me More to set the record straight about String Theory. Though tempted as we might be so to characterize this theory as sci-fi, Gates Jr. insists that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Women and Power in Star Trek: The Next Generation

When I saw Tasha Yar for the first time, I was four years old, sitting on the couch with my parents, watching re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Aggressive, authoritative, trusted and respected—not to mention the fact that she rocked that floppy blonde crew cut—Tasha had an effect on me that I could not have understood at the time of our first meeting. I enjoyed Star Trek as a child because it was adventurous; its depictions of space travel filled me with awe. But even then it was teaching me the power of womanhood.

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