Monday, 8 December 2014

Science fiction to science fact: Today's children will see invisibility cloaks, time travel and more

Scientists say Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility will
be available in real life by 2030!
British children believe many popular elements of science fiction may become science fact before the century is out – and it seems top scientists agree!

The Big Bang Fair UK compared results from a panel of top British scientists and a study of 11 to 16-year-olds, and found that both groups think invisibility cloaks (similar to the cloak used by Harry Potter) will be available before the end of the 21st century, with scientists setting the date for 2030 – just 15 years from now. 

Teleportation will come next, the panel of scientists claimed, becoming a regular feature of life by 2080. The polled children were just two years out on average, predicting that this would happen within 63 years.

Time travel was the one area where the youth panel got ahead of themselves. While children think that time travel will be possible by 2078, scientists believe it may take a little longer. 2100 was the date they set.

Paul Jackson, CEO of Engineering UK, said: "The amazing and seemingly impossible things young people see in films and television are acting as a stimulant for them to think about what they could be capable of doing in the future. Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of young people said they dream of becoming a lightsaber developer, and 22 per cent want to be a teleporting instructor. More than a quarter (27 per cent) even said they would consider a career as a time travel engineer, so we will need to think carefully about how we could provide useful careers advice for that 27 per cent!"

He added: "Although adults may be constrained by what we believe to be possible, the imagination and creativity of schoolchildren knows no bounds. This is so encouraging to hear, because ultimately it will be the younger generation who make these sci-fi dreams a reality – and it’s crucially important to spark their interest now to supply the next cohort of scientists and engineers that Britain desperately needs to continue this research."

The Big Bang Fair is the UK’s largest single celebration of science and engineering for young people. It will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 11-14 March 2015.

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