Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction

The innovators behind objects like the cellphone or the helicopter took inspiration from works like “Star Trek” and War of the Worlds

Leonard Nimoy, Ep. # 1, 'The Cage' 1966 - 1969 (© Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Atomic Power

Atomic Power
In 1914, H.G. Wells published a novel, The World Set Free, imagining the emergence of “artificial” atomic energy by 1933, followed by a devastating world war and the eventual emergence of a peaceful global government. Physicist Leo Szilard read the book in 1932, which inspired him to solve the problem of creating a nuclear chain reaction—in 1933. The same book would inspire Szilard to campaign for arms control and the peaceful, international use of nuclear power after World War II.

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