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Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid: Michael Crichton’s State of Fear

By David M. Lawrence

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from The Science of Michael Crichton

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This is one essay from the anthology The Science of Michael Crichton

Wherever the cutting edge of science goes, Michael Crichton is there. From dinosaur cloning to global warming, nanotechnology to time travel, animal behavior to human genetics, Crichton always takes us to the cutting edge of science and then pushes the envelope.

The Science of Michael Crichton examines the amazing inventions of Crichton’s books and lifts up the hood, revealing the science underneath.

In intelligent and well-thought essays, scholars and experts decide what Crichton gets right and what he gets wrong. They examine which Crichton imaginings are feasible and which are just plain impossible. Scenarios examined include whether dinosaurs can be cloned, if nanotechnological particles can evolve intelligence, and if we can go back in time.

About the Author

Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D., is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where he holds the dual titles of Investigation Scientist and Science Planning Engineer for the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. There he has won numerous JPL- and NASA-wide awards for technical accomplishment. Dr. Grazier holds undergraduate degrees in computer science and geology from Purdue University, and another in physics from Oakland University. He holds an M.S. degree in physics from, again, Purdue, and he did his doctoral work at UCLA. His Ph.D. research involved long-term, large-scale computer simulations of Solar System evolution, dynamics and chaos—research which he continues to this day. Kevin is also currently the science adviser for the PBS animated series “The Zula Patrol” and for the Sci-Fi Channel series “Eureka,” as well as the Peabody Award–winning “Battlestar Galactica.” Commited to astronomical education, Dr. Grazier teaches classes in stellar astronomy, planetary science, cosmology and the search for extraterrestrial life at UCLA, Cal State LA and Santa Monica College. He has served on several NASA educational product review panels, and is also a planetarium lecturer at LA’s landmark Griffith Observatory. He lives in Sylmar, Calif.—and occasionally Mesa, Az.—with a flock of cockatiels and a precocious parrot.

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About the Author

David M.  Lawrence

David M. Lawrence has never decided what he will do when (if) he grows up. He is a scientist who teaches geography, meteorology, oceanography and (sometimes) biology at the college level. He is a journalist who covers everything from high school sports to international research in science and medicine. He is a scuba diver looking for a way to make a living on the water. When not consumed with those activities, he looks at his guitars and wonders if he’s too old to become a rock god. (It would help if he could actually play.) He lives in Mechanicsville, Va., with his wife, two children and a menagerie of creatures with legs, scales and fins.

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