- Hardcover: 216 pages
- Publisher: Voyageur Press (October 15, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0760352631
- ISBN-13: 978-0760352632
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive
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From the Publisher
The photon torpedo was the most powerful weapon aboard a starship from the twenty-second through late twenty-fourth centuries. Unlike a directed-energy weapon like a phaser, a photon torpedo represents the ultimate evolution of a projectile or missile-like object. Whether fired from a launcher toward a target, left like a mine in interplanetary or interstellar space, bea med to a location by transporter, or detonated on impact or otherwise, its explosive force was unparalleled as far as destructive power goes.
'You know, I’ve never seen a sunrise . . . at least, not the way you see them,' says Geordi La Forge to Captain Picard. Like so many people before him, from either birth or a young age, Geordi appeared
destined to live his entire life without his sense of sight. But in the twenty-fourth century, technology had advanced to the point that, despite the Enterprise-D engineer not having a working connection between his eyes and his brain via the optic nerves, a prosthetic device known as a VISOR (for Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) could overcome those limitations. The VISOR can not only transmit external visual information to his mind but show him the universe far beyond what human eyes can see. While we might know only a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, visually, the VISOR enables the wearer, through a direct link to the optic nerve, to process information ranging from radio waves all the way up to ultraviolet light.
About the Author
Ethan Siegel is a PhD astrophysicist, science writer, author, (sometimes) professor of physics and astronomy, and longtime Star Trek fan. He has written for Forbes, Scientific American, NASA's Space Place, and many other print and online publications. His award-winning science blog, Starts with a Bang, has been educating the world since 2008.
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Top customer reviews
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Lavishly illustrated with stills from the various Trek television series and films, ranging from The Original Series to the most recent Abrams and Lin films, the book looks not only at how the technology developed over the franchise, but also how it both inspired and was inspired by real life science and technology. Broken down into categories, everything from transporters to photon torpedoes, communicators to tricorders are discussed in a concise and easy to follow way, making the book enjoyable and informative even for those with only the most rudimentary science knowledge. I particularly liked the focus on where current technology stands in comparison to the future envisioned in Trek, and was quite surprised by how advanced the developments are in certain areas such as the transparent aluminum referred to in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. While much of the science and technology explored is of course physics based, there is a full chapter devoted to the medical side of things including Geordi's visor and the hypospray, as well as an interesting discussion of the chemistry of synthehol.. This is definitely a book I'd recommend to any Star Trek fan, a great window into how the science fiction of the past has informed the technology of today, and where that technology may boldly go in the future.
One of the most ubiquitous is, of course, the cell phone. The original flip phones were modeled after the communicators first used in the original Star Trek series. At the time the series aired, the concept of using a hand-held device for two-way communication over great distances was fantasy. Today we take it for granted. Another iconic show element is the automatic sliding doors. When they appeared on the show, they were amazing. Today we walk through so many of them we rarely notice. We regularly use computers that far surpass anything the show's creators imagined. We use tablet computers that exceed the PADDs on the show, and our devices have so much memory and computing power we don't know what to do with it all.
Some of the other technologies in the show are quite a bit further from everyday usage. The transporter beam, another iconic Star Trek staple, is still almost in the realm of fantasy, but scientists have been developing the ability to transport matter. The warp drive and impulse engines are well out the reach of current application, but are imaginable based on current usage. Other Star Trek technologies, like artificial gravity, antimatter containment, and the Holodeck still seem way out of reach, but Siegel writes that even these fantastic-sounding technologies are in the infancy of actual development. He writes, "We might not have achieved the dream of Star Trek just yet in every regard, but given that it's been just more than a half century since it first envisioned our world three hundred years into the future, our progress isn't too shabby."
Treknology is a fun book, chock full of references to various episodes and movies, with screen shots and scientific illustrations. It's a reminder that phrases and scenes fans know and love, like "What is the nature of your medical emergency?," "Set phasers for stun," and the introduction of transparent aluminum are more than just throwaway plot points, but, like much of the series, are harbingers of things to come.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.