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SCIENTIST TO STARS.

Name: Andre Bormanis

Hot Job: Science adviser to Star Trek movies and TV series

Where: Hollywood, California

Were you a Trekkie as a kid? Absolutely. I was 6 or 7 when the original show started, and I was mesmerized. It definitely influenced my decision to study science.

How did you get such a cool job? I received a bachelor's degree in physics. Eventually I worked at NASA, helping decide what space projects NASA should work on. But I really wanted to be a science writer. So, I wrote a script for Star Trek. They didn't use it, but instead they told me they needed a science adviser who understood the show.

So what kind of science advice do you give Star Trek makers? I make sure anything science-related on Star Trek is accurate. For example, the show's writers will ask me how large a comet would be, how fast it travels, what it's made of--things like that. I also help the writers create interesting futuristic lingo to describe the inventions and technologies on the show.

Is it hard to come up with new and high-tech words? Sometimes! Once we had to name a space station, but we didn't want a word that sounded too much like anything that already exists. So I came up with "terrasphere." We want cooler-sounding words to give viewers a sense of the future.

Do engineers today nab ideas for their inventions from Star Trek? A lot of modern designs were definitely inspired by the show. For example, Captain Kirk used a "cell phone" that flipped open on the original show hack in the 1960s. And the little computer data disks the Enterprise crew used then look exactly like the 3.5-inch floppy disks we use today!

What other Star Trek creations might be possible?
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Publication:Science World
Date:Nov 16, 1998
Words:299
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