In 1980, on the premiere episode of the PBS series “Cosmos,” astrophysicist Carl Sagan flew a “Ship of the Imagination,” transporting his viewers to a liberated vision of science. Sagan refused to repress the centrality of the imagination to the scientific process—a dark secret that had been hidden if not denied by most practitioners since the mid-19th century. For many of those seeking to establish the cultural legitimacy of their technical roles—the term “scientist” was first coined in 1833—the imagination was disreputable. Scientists proclaimed the distinctive rationality and objectivity of their profession. In their heart of hearts, they knew about the creative wellsprings of science, but their lips were sealed. Not all scientists lived such a double life: Albert Einstein declared, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” But he also neglected to brush his hair or wear socks, a bohemian exception that proved the sober rule.
|A ship of the imagination with a wave in its future|
The literary genre of science fiction was explicitly established in the mid-1920s to provide scientists with the fanciful ideas they publicly disavowed. Amazing Stories, the first magazine devoted to SF, asserted in 1928 that science fiction “takes the basis of science . . . and then adds a thing that is alien to science—imagination. It lights the way.
|Ship of the Science Fiction imagination. They're always running aground.|
It was an interesting article.