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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Imagination, Innovation, and the "Impossible"

Instructor(s): Kendrah Murphy, Physics

What does "impossible" really mean? Is progress limited by our laws of nature or by the imagination of those who dare to dream?  How well defined is the line between fact and fiction?  In this course, we will consider the transient nature of what we have historically thought to be impossible or, at the very least, improbable.  By examining the works of notable scientists and science fiction writers, we will observe how many well-known facts have been proven untrue and how much of yesterday's fiction has become today's reality.  We will also investigate science fiction ideas that have not come to fruition.  Are these ideas actual possibilities for the future?  How close has science come to realizing these possibilities?  This course will challenge students to question "facts," as well as to become open-minded about what we are told is "impossible."  Throughout the course, we will explore various works of science fiction**, globally accepted concepts in physics ranging from Newtonian Mechanics to Einstein's General Relativity, and results of cutting-edge scientific research to aid us in distinguishing between the possible, the impossible, and the improbable.

Course Offered