Physics & Astronomy

Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Explaining the science behind science fiction and fantasy—from the probable to the impossible


$19.95 / £14.99
Nov 19, 2019
5.25 x 8 in.
23 line illus. 9 tables.
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From space elevators to interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant, innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas—for instance, could Mr. Weasley’s flying car in the Harry Potter books really exist? Which concepts might happen, and which ones wouldn’t work? From the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to Star Trek and Avatar, this book delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy—such as time warps, shape changing, and rocket launches—and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena.

Awards and Recognition

  • Co-Winner of the 2015 AIP Science Writing Award for Books, American Institute of Physics
  • One of Physics World's Top Ten Books of the Year for 2014
  • One of The Guardian’s Best Popular Physical Science Books of 2014, chosen by GrrlScientist