Bormanis: Getting The Science RightPosted by T'Bonz - 20/09/10 at 11:09 am
Having a science background in addition to writing experience helped Andre Bormanis land a job on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Bormanis was no stranger to Star Trek, having watched the original series when it was in syndication. “I grew up watching the original series, in reruns,” he said. “I probably watched every episode a dozen times when I was a kid. Even today, when I come across an episode on TV, I’ll watch for a few minutes – or more. So I was very familiar with the original series and naturally started watching TNG when it premiered.”
After taking screenwriting classes at Arizona State, and submitting a Next Generation spec script, Bormanis landed a Los Angeles agent. “…she was trying to get me in to pitch for the show when she found out they were looking for a new science consultant,” said Bormanis. “They wanted someone who had both a science background and some writing experience, as well as someone who was familiar with the Trek world. Turned out I was a pretty good fit.”
Getting the science right was a priority for those involved in the show. “It was very important to the writers and producers to ensure that our fictional, far future Trek universe was scientifically credible,” said Bormanis. “The basics – the physical nature of stars, planets, and nebulae, the distances between stars in the Milky Way, the interstellar medium – all of those things were represented as accurately as possible, along with the proper terminology.”
But a show set in the future meant that the writers weren’t bound to just today’s science knowledge. “But of course our shows took place hundreds of years in the future, and new science will be discovered in the future,” said Bormanis. “So when it came to warp drive, exotic spatial phenomenon, parallel universes, and other ‘far-out’ ideas, we were able to stretch the limits. But I always tried to make sure the characters used credible scientific language and reasoning when they encountered fictitious phenomena.”