Gripping Science Tales Need Not Be Science Fiction

36:35 minutes

When does a story about science become science fiction? Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss and theoretical physicist Brian Greene discuss how to spin a yarn about string theory or the Big Bang, without hyping or distorting the science. And novelist Ian McEwan, whose books touch on neurosurgery and quantum field theory, talks about what science offers to fiction.

In the SciFri Snack: According to physicist Brian Greene, science is rife with emotion. His children’s book, “Icarus at the Edge of Time,” tells the story of a boy who spends an hour at the edge of a black hole — equivalent to 10,000 years back home. He returns to find his father long dead. The tale made Greene’s son cry — but maybe that’s ok.

Can scientists be good storytellers?

This week we’re talking with scientists about being storytellers without distorting the science and with a novelist about what science offers to fiction. So we asked you whether scientists can be good storytellers and who your favorites are.

Storified by Science Friday· Thu, Mar 28 2013 11:27:30

@scifri Among the great scientist-storytellers: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan. #scifrichatN.A. Ratnayake

@scifri Good scientists figure out how nature works. Great scientists help others understand its importance. Storytelling is key #scifrichatJonathan Hoekstra

@scifri #scifrichat “Can scientists make good storytellers?”  Yes, but only when they realize the diff btwn a report and a story.Chris Fisher