Sandy Field, Ph.D., is a freelance science writer based in Lewisburg, Pa. She holds a B.S. degree in genetics from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She specializes in continuing medical education, writing in the areas of oncology and infectious disease. Her other passions include science fiction, forensic science, San Francisco Giants baseball, bicycling, Tae Kwon Do and cooking for her family. Visit her Web site at www.fieldscientific.com.
Evolution by Any Means on Dune
By Sandy Field, Ph.D.
from The Science of Dune
This is one essay from the anthology The Science of Dune
In this analysis of the bestselling science fiction adventure of all time, authors explore all aspects of Dune, including the fascinating scientific speculations ranging from physics and chemistry to ecology and evolution, from human psychology and mental potential to technology and genetics. Authors and experts examine what Herbert gets right and what he gets wrong, how lasguns might work and if Bene Gesserit and mentat capabilities are possible. The book also takes a look at whether the ecology of Dune is realistic or if it’s theoretically possible to get information from the future. Could humans really evolve as Herbert suggests? How can one build a windtrap or a stillsuit?
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.