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AZ Tech Beat | November 21, 2017

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Science Fiction and Science Fact event coming to Phoenix May 27

Science Fiction and Science Fact event coming to Phoenix May 27
Chloe Nordquist

Science fiction, giant squids, settling Mars, and how pop culture and the arts can be used to develop new technologies. What do these topics have in common?

Mason Peck and Richard Peck will be discussing these topics and more on May 27 in their scientific discussion “From Science Fiction to Science Fact: How the science fiction writing of Richard Peck inspired his son Mason Peck to become one of the nation’s most important aerospace engineers”.

“I heard Mason Peck mention in several interviews that he wanted to do this talk,” Brad Snyder, Executive Director of The Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention at Arizona State University, said. Snyder will be moderating the father and son duo.

Richard Peck’s science fiction writing appeared everywhere from Hollywood to magazines in the early 1970’s, when his son Mason was growing up. Richard, a former member of Science Fiction Writers of America, has written 11 books, a dozen plays, two short films, and two network TV scripts.

“Richard Peck was literally in every science fiction publication,” Snyder said.

As for his son, Mason Peck is now the Director of Cornell University’s Space System Design Studio and an associate professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Peck spent a few years prior as NASA’s Chief Technologist where he was the chief strategist for technology and advocate for innovation.

READ: NASA experiments take a World View balloon ride to near-space

Using arts to inspire science and science to inspire arts is a great way to get students engaged and learning, according to Snyder.

“We have this vision: What’s the Valley’s event? What’s our thing?” Snyder said. “Maybe our signature event is this intersection of innovation and kids, so we think this event will get people thinking about that.”

The event will be held at Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix. “We wanted to bring it downtown, that area is a hub of the arts and technology,” Snyder said. “It’s an event that appeals to a wide range of people, so it appeal to educators, it appeals to people who are interested in the science of space exploration, and it appeals to science fiction fans.”

The Dion Initiative, Nicole Stanton’s collaboration with ASU, will be hosting the event. Mayor Greg Stanton will also be in attendance giving an introduction to the discussion.
The cost of the event is $7 per ticket. It will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.

For more events in the community, visit our events page.