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Science in Sci-fi Films, Capital Lecture hall of Science, No. 651


Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, the capital lecture hall of science was held on-line in July 4, 2020. The capital lecture hall of science invited the president of the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences-Wang Yuanzhuo, who is also The Ten of science communication Model" in 2019 to bring a wonderful lecture about science in science fiction film.


In respondse to the epidemic prevention and control, the capital lecture hall of science was held on-line. In order to firmly carry out the important guiding spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping on the epidemic of COVID-19 infection, the Beijing Science Center adheres to " Although the epidemic has not been lifted, science popularization will not be dropped" and actively carries out the prevention and control of the epidemic situation and the emergency science popularization, earnestly does well in knowledge popularization and the scientific prevention and control guide and so on. In this period, capital lecture hall of science adopted the novel way of "live+record" in using APP science plus, tencent news client, sina science and technology client, APP one live and other platform to carry on the live broadcast, which makes the public can obtain the most authoritative, the most cutting-edge popular science content and the information without leaving home. During the prevention and control of the epidemic, the capital lecture hall of science will flexibly use all kinds of carriers to form propaganda positions, use the network to bring more rich topics to the public on-line activities and further play the important role of popular science in the prevention and control of the epidemic situation.



Science in sci-fi film

How to sow “the seeds of science” in children's minds through sci-fi films? How to develop children's scientific spirit and creativity from daily life?

Lesson 1 Science Fiction Sows Science Seeds in Children.

What is the connection between sci- fi and science? Science is very realistic and based on reason, while sci-fi is very freehand and usually based on sensibility. As a literary form, sci-fi extends some scientific theory to the future, which is a fantasy of the future of nature. They are closely related, for example: science fantasy has the function of foretelling and promoting to the development of science, it is the fuel for the development of science. And the continuous development of science will also promote the sublimation of science fantasy, which is the fuel tank for the inspiration of sci-fi works.


Everyone is familiar with sci-fi films, so what is the sci-fi films? My answer is that sci-fi movies are based on science, adding to people's scientific fantasies and hypothetical scenarios. Science fiction films have fictional, fantasy elements, but they are based on human science and technology, and follow the laws of nature and are inextricably bound up with real life. Classic sci-fi movies worth watching include “Short Circuit”, “Moon Journey”, “A trip to the moon” and so on.


“Short Circuit” released in 1986 had an important impact on my scientific research. “Short Circuit” tells the story of a robot have the emotions, consciousness and superpowers due to lightning struck. I remember that my classmates and I wanted to have a robot that was so cute and very advanced, and we wanted to be friends with Short Circuit.

In 1991, while I was in high school, I became obsessed with the sci-fi animated film "Transformers". Driven by interest, I used more than 200 cans to create a 1-meter-high, deformable "Optimus Prime, and the"Optimus Prime" placed at the head of my bed accompanied me through high school.


In 2008, the total global box office of the sci-fi animated film " WALL·E" totaled exceeded $530 million. The robots, named Wally and Eva, have become popular so far, and it is because of their love and interest that sci-fi films have planted the seeds of science in many people's hearts.


In 2014, for my eldest daughter, it took just a week to make a small robot-Wally that can be used for simple dialogue. The eldest daughter in kindergarten always brought "Wally" to school because the robot made her feel very proud.


In 2015 and 2016, I used scrap iron and components purchased online to make the more powerful "Wally 2" and "Wally 3" for my younger daughter again. The "Wally 3", which can interact with brain waves, dance with both feet and do complex movements, and can talk intelligently, has become an important member of my family.


What I particularly want to share with parents is that I'm not a robot enthusiast but just a robot enthusiast, and that I have the same skills as many parents. So if you want to do it, you can do it. And the robots made by my children and I are unique and can not be seen and bought anywhere.


For 25 years, from “Optimus Prime “in 1991's to“Wally 3“ in 2016's, the seed in my heart was there until it took root. In my opinion, once the seeds of science take root and germinate in the heart, and it is possible to blossom and bear fruit when conditions permit.


So I want to say to you," The dreams of the past now can appear in the ordinary people's life in such a simple way. We must pay homage to the science fiction film that has planted the seeds of science in our hearts!"


Lesson 2 How to Cultivate Children's Creativity

Many parents and friends will ask me the question that which professions may be replaced by artificial intelligence in the near future? My answer is that simple repetitive tasks such as supermarket cashiers, security monitors, and so on will be replaced. And there are the professions that can be optimized with a goal function, such as translation will be replaced. What skills should our children focus on in order to stand out in the future career development? My answer is simple that is to foster children's creativity.


As a researcher in big data and artificial intelligence, I believe that the first step in developing children's creativity is to set goals, then to make simple and feasible plans that meet our needs, the third and the critical step is implementation. According to my experience, the above three steps can not only cultivate children's creativity and innovation consciousness, but also cultivate and improve children's hands-on ability. How does creativity manifest itself? It can be seen at the national level, such as the Shenzhou series of spacecraft, quantum computers, and so on. It can also be embodied in our life, such as creative painting, paper-cut, scientific and technological works, and so on.


In my opinion, creativity may not bring us wealth, but it allows us to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, freshness, and even a better life than others. Personally, I think these are far more important than wealth and fame.


How can we develop or cultivate our creativity better? I quite agree with the theory of "flow of mind" which was put forward by Miha, a famous American positive psychology expert. "flow of mind" can drive us to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to a certain task and greatly stimulate our creativity in the process.


Of course, the best motivation to stimulate children's creativity and innovation consciousness is curiosity and interest. We can constantly look for things that make us feel strange, and stimulate children's curiosity and interest through participation, experience and feeling.


My eldest daughter wanted to make a butterfly kite by hand when she was 5. Inspired by me, she decided to make a traditional kite made of cotton and bamboo. Yue yue hand-painted a kite pattern, and participated in the binding and pasting of kites.  In 2019, Yue yue is 10 years old and her kite can still fly in the blue sky. My daughter proudly said,"Dad, there's only one kite in the sky that we make ourselves." What I want to share with you is the process of children enjoying the achievements, that is, the process of arousing their curiosity and interest. My two daughters' hands-on skills were developed through constant training and practice. Every year on the 25th day of the twelfth lunar month, I draw gourds with my children. On the 28th day of the twelfth lunar month, I will cut the window flower with my daughters. Every stroke and every cut is the embodiment of creativity and hands-on ability.


In fact, children's creativity is inseparable from imitation. My eldest daughter imitated my hand-painting and made hand-painting of the characters of the Warring States Period, including Guiguzi, Su Qin, Zhang Yi and Pang Juan, and depicted the relationship between the characters. The hand-paintings made by eldest daughter has more than one million reading and interaction on microblog. My little girl also had the idea of making when she saw my hand painting, she. When she was 6 years old, she imitated my work and wrote her own novel with pictures, and named it "The Island of Treasure".


Of course, parents should leave the children space for trial and error, but also to build a platform to test and cultivate child's creativity and hands-on ability. It doesn't matter if the children draw the wrong picture, cut the wrong one, or the work is invalid. We can start over. I made a chalkboard wall for the children at home, where they could scribble as much as they want. My truest feeling in scientific research is that sometimes creativity and innovation are a matter of feeling, not a matter of urgency. Children's creativity is embracing an unprecedented period of opportunity. There's a good chance that children's innovative ideas will change people's lives in the future, and it won't be 25 years like I went from Optimus Prime to Wally 3. Therefore, having creativity can make us have more fun and let us enjoy more happiness.


Lesson 3 Sci-Fi Films Enlighten the Development of Science

How do sci-fi films inspire scientific research? Let me begin with the Minority Report, a sci-fi film ran in 2002, which shows the magic power of the big data in 2054. The human judicial system has "evolved" to the point of predicting crime and arresting the "criminals" who are about to commit the crime before it happens through big data analysis. Predicting and analyzing the future through data to help us better in our lives is the field of my study.


What is the big data described in the film? It is a collection of data that can be effectively perceived, acquired, transmitted, stored, and calculated using existing architectures, software, and hardware over a tolerable time period. More simply, it's big data that can't be handled with existing technology, or that can't be handled well. There are two sources of big data. The first is data from the physical world that is obtained by sensor observations, such as astronomical data, biological data, brain science data, and so on. The second source is data on people's behavior, such as social networking, online shopping, and so on. Big data can help us do two very important things. One is to accurately perceive the present and the other is to predict the future.


Some people would ask that it is really reliable to predict the future with big data. The answer is yes. In the early days of the epidemic, our team used official data to predict the three-day development of the epidemic in more than 10 countries, including China and the United States, with an average accuracy of 99.6%. So excellent sci-fi films can greatly enrich scientists ' mind and guide the direction of scientific research.


Let's talk about another sci-fi film that inspired the development of science. There are lots of scientific problems and scientific knowledge worth thinking about in the domestic excellent sci-fi film "Wandering Earth". For example, the artificial intelligence control system Moss used by the station has the very rich knowledge and the data reserve. It can communicate and interact with the human fluently, and also can monitor and analyze the personnel of the space station. The very key is that it is always in a rational state. Can Moss, a virtual life system with self-purification and self-learning capabilities, become a reality? I think there's still a long way to go. Although Ali Xiaomi, a rule-based robot, can maintained an accuracy rate of more than 95% and IBM's Watson can diagnose people's diseases with an average accuracy of more than 80%. But if we want to achieve a virtual life level like Moss, humans still need to make more efforts!


Personally, I like sci-fi films very much, and I'm also very interested in the knowledge that science fiction movies give researchers. I hope the sci-fi movies of the future will bring us more surprises. For example, what is a galaxy like a million light-years away? It can traces back thousands of years to the shape of the universe, and back thousands of years to the shape of the universe.


Here, I'd like to share some of my ideas with you. First, scientists' participation in the creation of sci-fi films can make the science and technology in the film more stable and reasonable. Second, excellent sci-fi films can greatly enrich scientists ' mind and guide the direction of scientific research. Third, excellent sci-fi films and novels are public classroom without wall. Science popularization education can make it easier for science to enter children's hearts and lives.


In my opinion, excellent sci-fi works will certainly improve the scientific literacy of the whole nation, and will surely lead to more and better achievements in scientific research, as well as more and better young students.


Lesson 4 The universe hand drawing of scientist young father

After watching the "Wandering Earth" movie, I hand-painted six illustrations for my daughter which were sent to the internet by friends thus reported and reprinted by more than 100 media, and the micro-blog has been read more than 150 million people. What surprised me most was that the hand-drawn illustration of "Wandering Earth" was translated into English and reported by many overseas TV stations.


With the encouragement of many friends, I drew the popular science hand-drawn book "The Cosmic Hand-painted by the Scientist Young Dad" on the basis of "six illustrations", which not only got the attention of tens of millions of netizens, but also was recommended by many academicians. Academician Yuan Yanxiang thinks this book is a kind of science popularization work which is pleasing to the eyes and does not lose childlike innocence. It can give a full load of scientists' rigorous explanation of all kinds of space knowledge. Academician Zhou ZhongHe said that the more popular, the more adult readers love it. So it is especially suitable as family parent-child reading. Academician Ouyang Ziyuan said that there were many scientific exploration behind each picture and it is a gift to the vast number of science lovers.


I remember the scene in the movie "Wandering Earth," in which the space station navigator took the planet to the depths of the universe far from the sun.

Some would question the plot how the space station pilot communicate with the earth and pass instructions to humans?"


The Earth in the film has stopped spinning as it roams and escapes. What I'd like to remind you is that the south pole of the earth, which has stopped spinning, faces the escape direction and is away from the sun, so the whole southern hemisphere, including the south hemisphere, is a dark night. In contrast, the northern hemisphere, which faces the sun, is always daylight. How does the space station navigator communicate with humans in the northern hemisphere, where is on the back of the earth? Can radio waves be used to communicate with humans in the northern hemisphere? The answer is no, because radio waves cannot penetrate the earth. Is it possible to keep in touch via a relay satellite? The answer is no, because the escaping Earth has "abandoned" partners such as the moon and geostationary satellites. One reasonable explanation is that humans have built enough super-communication stations on Earth to send messages from the pilot to the northern hemisphere through one super-communication base station after another. I think there's probably a better, more reasonable explanation, but it's going to take a lot of brainstorming from teenage friends to come up with an answer. The reason why I'm saying this is to try to inspire kids to think through the science of sci-fi films. So long as they're able to make their own assumptions, that's a good answer.


Personally, I think the sci-fi film "Interstellar", which has Nobel laureate Kip Thorne as a science consultant, is the most scientific sci-fi blockbuster in 2017.


After watching "Interstellar", my two daughters took a keen interest in many of the plots in the film and asked many questions. How How to travel across time and space? How do black holes come into being? What does a wormhole look like? The eldest daughter also discovered more fresh interesting question in the communication with the children. Based on my eldest daughter's concerns, I selected 10 knowledge points and answered them in detail. I told my eldest daughter that 4-dimensional space may be based on 3-dimensional space, adding to the time dimension. What is 5-dimensional, 6-dimensional and even more dimensional space like? We can expand the rich imagination, imagining that the more multidimensional space is adding more time lines to the 4-dimensional space, thus forming the so-called parallel universe. The parallel universe may be that people have different identities and different living spaces at the same time. Multi-dimensional space not only brings us imagination space, but also is worth exploring.


Another classic sci-fi film is "The Martian" which tells the story of an astronaut left behind on Mars who survive for 500 days by using his botanist's expertise to grow potatoes and eat them on his own. Coincidentally, I especially like to grow vegetables with my two daughters, and it has been seven years. One time my daughter asked me why we grow potatoes every year. I smiled and replied that she would probably survive on Mars if she learn to grow potatoes. So I Search "Mars Rescue" for my daughters to see. They like it very much and regard it as a priceless treasure. For them, I've come up with ten scientific insights on how to get to Mars, the inner structure of a spacesuit, how to plant potatoes on Mars, what's the difference between a potato on Mars and a potato on Earth, and so on and explain them in detail. After that, how will I share the scientific knowledge of sci-fi movies with you? In order to better cultivate their scientific thinking and stimulate children's interest in science, I will select 10 classic sci-fi films in the fields of physics, quantum, artificial intelligence, chips, robots and so on, and hand-draw 100 scientific knowledge points for these 10 films, and explain these scientific knowledge to teenagers.


Finally, I would like to share with you a sentence that excellent sci-fi films and novels are public classroom without wall. Science popularization education can make it easier for science to enter children's hearts and lives.

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