Study Every Gigawatt

Read comics. Binge watch. Study alien life forms and gigawatts. Use this guide to become a true specialist in the field of POPnology.



[pop-nol-uh-jist] noun
a specialist in POPnology, the study of how films, books, television and art inspire technological advancements.

see also: sci-fi geek


Welcome to the Future!

Self-driving cars are real, and doors can be unlocked by our fingerprints! Review this and other amazing technology in our video gallery below. You’ll be extra ready to take on our Science Fact or Fiction? game!


Can you pinpoint the technology of today in these films and TV series from the past? Filmography data courtesy of IMDb.

  • Twilight Zone

    TV Series (1959-1964)

    "Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner."

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Film (1968)

    "Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest."

  • Star Wars: A New Hope

    Film (1977)

    "Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader."

  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

    Film (1980)

    "After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke."

  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

    Film (1983)

    "After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force."

  • Alien

    Original (1979), sequel Aliens (1986)

    "After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun."

    Join us for a special movie marathon of Alien and Aliens in the immersive setting of our Charles Hayden Planetarium on Thursday, June 31! Learn More

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Original (1979), sequel Aliens (1986)

    "A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world."

  • Blade Runner

    Film (1982)

    "A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator."

  • Knight Rider

    TV series (1982-1986)

    "A lone crimefighter battles the forces of evil with the help of an indestructible and artificially intelligent supercar."

  • The Terminator

    Film (1984)

    "A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs."

  • Back to the Future

    Film (1985), sequels Back to the Future II (1989) and Back to the Future III (1990)

    "Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown."

    Join us for a special movie marathon of Back to the Future and Back to the Future II in the immersive setting of our Charles Hayden Planetarium on Thursday, June 29! Learn More

  • Short Circuit

    Film (1986)

    "Number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab is electrocuted, suddenly becomes intelligent, and escapes."

  • *batteries not included

    Film (1987)

    "Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition."

  • Total Recall

    Film (1990)

    "When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he?"

  • Jurassic Park

    Film (1993)

    "During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok."

  • Gattaca

    Film (1997)

    "A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel."

  • Minority Report

    Film (2002)

    "In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder."

  • Star Trek: Nemesis

    Film (2002)

    "The Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan homeworld Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a peace treaty."