Scripps Scientists Bringing the Science to Science Fiction at Comic-Con


San Diego Comic-Con International is upon us, and this year some scientists will be participating in a panel that strives to create a discussion on how science fiction inspires scientific innovation. The “More Science in your Fiction” panel includes scientists Bethany Kolody, Benjamin Frable, and Angela Zoumplis of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and was organized in collaboration with the League of Extraordinary Scientists and Engineers, a science education and outreach organization.

The July 19 panel will consist of ten researchers from various disciplines to discuss how their field is represented through science fiction. Everyone from creatives, kids, or interested Comic-Con-goers are welcome to bring their questions. Questions discussed on this panel include, “What movie do you think does the best at representing your field?” and “What are some scientific misconceptions perpetuated by popular media?”

Kolody, a deep ocean genomics explorer and PhD student at Scripps, said she uses genomics to study marine microbiology and sees connections between her field and that of science fiction.

“Both sequencing technology and microbial life have great fantasy potential,” said Kolody. “Microbes in general are starting to come into the public eye now that sequencing has accelerated our knowledge of them. The ‘microbiome’ especially has really come into vogue, and I'd love to share a few stories showing how microbes are superheroes more often than villains.”

This will be the second year Frable and Zoumplis are speaking on a Comic-Con panel. Frable is a marine biologist with a special interest in ichthyology, the branch of zoology that studies fish. Zoumplis is an explorer of international extremophiles, microorganisms that live in extreme conditions, working with the National Science Foundation.

You can catch the panel at San Diego Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 19 at 8 p.m.

If you don't have a Comic-Con badge but are looking for a dose of comic-inspired science, plan a visit to Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Its new exhibit Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections highlights the amazing superhero-like adaptations marine creatures have developed to survive.

- Shawndiz Hazegh

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