Written by Alyssa Walker

Happy New Year! Does the idea of a multi-verse intrigue you? How about taking a subway with intergalactic friends through worlds with multiple moons? Are you secretly hoping for a time warp? Take a look at these five exciting fields to study if you prefer the sci-fi world to the real one.

1. AI & Robotics

This is less the stuff of science fiction and more our current reality. No time like the present to get a grip on the future!

Karel Capek's 1920 R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) brought the term 'robot', from the Czech term 'robota' which means forced labor, into the mainstream.

Hmm. Forced labor. It seems that the term is living up to its name as we have robots who teach, robots in healthcare, and robots in just about every other major industry.

One passage in the book reads: "Robots of the world! We, the first union at Rossum’s Universal Robots, declare that man is our enemy and the blight of the universe.’ Who the hell taught them to use phrases like that?"

We did. And you can continue to be a part of it by studying AI and robotics. 

2. Astrophysics and Space Science

Astrophysics applies the laws and theorems of physics to the universe by observing extraterrestrial objects. This tells astrophysicists what unseen objects might be lurking out there!

All objects in space reflect or emit light, or electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is part of the visible spectrum -- the colors we see every day -- and the invisible, ultraviolet spectrum.

The light we see when we look at a star is old and only a fraction of the actual star. Astrophysicists use observations from this light to predict what else might be in space.

Space science is the application of astrophysics to the heavens. It also includes astrobiology, helioseismology, and chemistry.

If you want to find life out there in the universe, multi-verse, or any other verse, consider a career in the space sciences. What you find might shock you!

3. Law

In the universe, there are bound to be disagreements. Hello lawyers!

In all seriousness, as we learn more about the world -- and maybe even other worlds --questions of law and ethics will arise. We'll need a starfleet of lawyers who are willing to tackle intergalactic legal calamity.

Ever see The Matrix? Neo could have used such a lawyer when he was dealing with the Agents!

4. Philosophy

Philosophers have pondered the heavens since the beginning of time.

Go back to The Matrix, one of our favorite science fiction movies. That film is based on the work of famous French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes. Best known for the phrase "I think, therefore I am," Descartes championed the idea of questioning doubt.

He explained that thought exists.

In The Matrix, as in other science fiction stories, thought exists, but it depends on the thinker -- the user, and that person's perspective. Descartes explains that it can be hard to discern dream from reality -- as it is for our hero in The Matrix, Neo.

Bottom line: philosophy makes an impact on how we think about the world, real or make-believe. If you like science fiction, study philosophy!

5. Literature

Literature is loaded with science fiction. Any book that forces you to see the world slightly sideways or altered from reality as you know it is science fiction. Sure, you can go for the obvious and travel to different worlds and planets, or you can just skew the world a bit, give it a little extra tilt.

Check out Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, and Lois Lowry for starters. Throw in a healthy dose of Orwell and Vonnegut, Bradbury and LeGuin, and you're well on your way.

You can specialize in science fiction literature -- you can even try writing it. Remember: skew the world. The lessons are the same even if the characters have three heads.

Who knew there was so much variety in the realm of science fiction? It's not just Star Trek and space movies, is it? There's so much to it, so much possibility, and so much fun...

To infinity and beyond!

ArticleEducationStudent Tips
Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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