Science fiction in modern science: Prophecy in action

When we come across various scientific terms, we most often think that it was scientists, who invented them. Interestingly, many of such terms came into the world of science from science fiction literature. Below is the list of nine most well-known scientific terms.


We are led to believe that the term 'spaceship' appeared with the beginning of space exploration, but this is not true to fact. The term was first used in the review of the novel by Percy Greg "Across the Zodiac," published in January 1880 in the Pall Mall Gazette.

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In 1894, the word 'spaceship' was used by John Jacob Astor IV in the novel "A Journey in Other Worlds." The plot of the novel takes place in the year 2000, when humans fly to Jupiter and Saturn.


For the first time, the word 'blaster' appeared in 1925 in the story by American chemist and writer Nictzin Dyalhis "When the Green Star Waned." The miraculous weapon was called "Blastor."

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"... I was holding my Blastor pointing ahead of me; for as I blundered full upon the monstrosity it upheaved its ugly bulk-how I do not know, for I saw no legs nor did it have wings-to one edge and would have flopped down upon me, but instinctively I slid forward the catch on the tiny Blastor, and the foul thing vanished-save for a few fragments of its edges-smitten into nothingness by the vibration hurled forth from that powerful little disintegrator."


In English-language sources, the term was first mentioned in 1903 in the context of botany. The Greek word "klon" translates as "branch". The word took a different meaning after the publication of the book by futurist writer Alvin Toffler "Future Shock" in 1970. It was Toffler, who first used the term to designate "an artificial copy of man."

First experiments in cloning were launched during the 1980s. In 1996, the world saw the first-ever live clone of Dolly the sheep.


An android is a half-human, half-robotic creature. In 1728, lexicographer Ephraim Chambers used the word 'android' to describe an invention by Albert the Great, a Catholic saint, who lived in the XIII century. Legend has it that Albert invented a mechanical head capable of answering questions.

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Chambers called it "android" ("humanoid"). Afterwards, the term 'android' attracted attention of science fiction writers, who used it to describe half-human, half-robotic creatures. Today, many researchers seriously say that mankind is going to open a new era in technology, when electronic systems are integrated into the human body.


The word 'cryogenics' refers to the branch of physics that studies changes in properties of substances at very low temperatures. The word is a derivative of 'cryogenic,' which appeared in 1875. This term was used to designate substances used to achieve extremely low temperatures.

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Nowadays, a number of research laboratories and institutes develop a technology to freeze human bodies for their subsequent resurrection in the future. The idea was first used by Robert Ettinger, the founder of cryonics, who found it in a story that he had read in his childhood. The term 'cryonics' that describes the process of freezing a human body, was coined in 1965 by US scientist Karl Werner.

Force field

In 1920, this word combination was used in the report by the British Science Association to describe the electromagnetic field of the atom.

The term was widely used after the publication of the novel by John Campbell "Space Island" in 1931. The novel describes an extraterrestrial city surrounded by the field of electromagnetic nature for defensive purposes.


The term was used for the first time by American philosopher William James. James used the word at a lecture at Harvard in 1895, although the word was used in relation to the spiritual world of man. The word obtained its modern meaning of "reality consisting of many universes" only in 1963, in Michael Moorcock's works published in Science Fiction Adventures.

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The term was first used by poet and writer Frederick W. Myers in 1882. Prior to that, the phenomenon had been referred to as "the movement of thoughts." Subsequently, Myers concocted the terms of 'telekinesis' and 'telesthesia.'

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This word to designate the inexplicable movement of things, was born only in the 20th century. The word stands at the very beginning of the book by Charles Fort titled "Lo!" Fort is the author of numerous works dedicated to magic and the paranormal. Today, teleportation experiments are conducted at the level of quantum physics.


The word 'cyberspace' was first mentioned in 1982 in William Gibson's short story "Burning Chrome". The term received a more extensive description in Gibson's another novel, "Neuromancer" (1984). "The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games. ... Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. ... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

Irina Shlionskaya


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov