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Fiction, science and the public


This research theme investigates the intersections between fiction, science and the public, where 'fiction' includes fictional stories told through film, television, radio, theatre, novels, short stories, comics and computer games.

Since the time that Mary Shelley first published the story of the monster that plagued her dreams, many creatives have imagined worlds of scientific advancements.

From tremendous wars across galaxies to robots with feelings, the representation of science in fiction has the power to inspire or caution against the developments and technologies in the modern (and future) world.

Our research investigates: 

  • How does fiction influence public attitudes to scientists or science-related controversies?
  • How do people respond to the science they encounter in fiction?
  • How can fiction be used in the classroom to teach science?
  • How are the social, political, cultural or economic aspects of science represented through
  • fiction?
  • How can narrative structures increase a message’s persuasiveness or interest to particular
  • audiences?
  • How can we best read fiction as a public response to science or technology?

Relevant CPAS courses are:



Students also undertake research in this theme for undergraduate coursework, postgraduate coursework and higher degrees by research.


This project investigates audience responses to imagined technologies 'prototyped' in fiction film.

For more information about this project please contact

This project explores the ways in which science, specifically theories and concepts of evolution, can be understood through different ideological frames and how the representation of these concepts in popular fiction can have interesting cultural influence.

Do Doctor Who’s scientist characters role-model careers in STEMM fields? Why not spend 3 years talking about Doctor Who with fans to find out?

Student intake

Open for PhD students


Understanding of the connection between science fiction and career inspiration has the potential to contribute towards initiatives aimed to encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM as well as to diversify the scientist demographic.

In this PhD project, Lindy Orthia researched the way science was represented in the BBC television series Doctor Who with respect to science's social, cultural, political and economic significance.



Honours researcher

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Honours Graduate