At the University of Cincinnati (UC), the Science of Fiction Club seeks to explore the âwhat ifsâ of media: what if we could take events from fiction and apply science to make them a reality? This club is working to conceptualize how sci-fi monsters, characters and fictional worlds might live in this current reality. The group was founded by fourth-year neurobiology student Jake Brugard, who is currently vice-president and says he’s drawn to the idea of ââstarting a new club at UC.
âThe club’s first year started with just 15 members. Today, one year later, we have more than 100 members, âsaid Brugard. âCreating Science of Fiction has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career, and its success just shows that there are people out there who like what you like, no matter how bad it may seem. “
Each meeting begins with one of the club leaders presenting the topic for the week. Previous discussions have included the biology of dragons, the scientific advantages and disadvantages of vampires over werewolves, and how magic is said to have a political impact on society. Brugard, being a Game of Thrones fan, felt particularly drawn to the biology of dragons.
Group meetings take place on Discord. After an initial introduction to the topic of the week, they have focus groups to allow members to discuss the topic further. The club is already growing; Brugard attributes this to his online presence. Discord allows accessible communication in the group and creates a stronger bond between members. Current president Hager Hamed, a sophomore medical science student, thinks the club is so appealing because so many people know the base of the media they are talking about.
âI’m sure a lot of people have read, watched or listened to media and were like, ‘How could this happen in the real world?’ Hamad said. “This club covers the demographics of people in fantastic worlds, while also being interested in science, be it hard or soft science.”
The club is a unique blend of fantasy and reality and allows students to use their real-world knowledge on a topic they are all passionate about. Students have the opportunity to deepen their appreciation of fiction in a way that they usually would not have the opportunity to do.
âThere is a lot to be gained in taking something you know and love and looking at it from a different perspective,â said Brugard. “For example, we are all happy to know that zombies are fictional, but did you know that there is an actual plant that literally take control of the mind of insects? If we apply the same zombie bug science to humans, maybe The Walking Dead isn’t as far-fetched as we thought it was. “
The club is built for the imaginative; it invites students to explore and mix their current reality with their favorite fictional worlds. Brugard likes the ideas students bring to their meetings. Being able to gain a new perspective on subjects he loves is important to him.
Hamad describes the club as passionate; he appreciates how students can use their Discord space to interact even outside of their normal meeting hours. He hopes that in the future the club can expand to collaborate with other UC groups, such as the Philosophy Club. One possible discussion according to Hamad is the possibility of artificial intelligence.
Brugard is proud of how far the club has come – what started as an idea on his couch has turned into a tight-knit community beyond what he had ever imagined. Although this is his last year with the club, he knows he is in good hands.
âThe management of the upcoming club is young and extremely passionate about the club,â said Brugard. “They make the club what it is today, and I’m more than excited to see where they will lead the club in the years to come.”