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Australian Receives PhD In Star Trek

By Michelle
August 29, 2006 - 8:06 PM

An Australian student has earned a PhD degree with a prize-winning thesis on the mythology of Star Trek.

The dissertation of Dr. Djoymi Baker, entitled Broadcast Space: TV Culture, Myth and Star Trek, has won a chancellor's prize for excellence at Melbourne University, according to The Age. For research, Baker watched 624 advertisement-free hours of Star Trek episodes dating from 1966 to 2005.

Baker's 90,000-word analysis of the series compares the characters and their adventures with stories from ancient mythology, including Homer's Odyssey. "I was interested in where myths turn up in less obvious forms, and there wasn't much work on the early years of television and its relation to myth," said Baker, who admitted to being a fan. "I don't think just because a study is serious and that I'm connecting Star Trek to a broader history of TV and ancient myths that it means there is not also a fun side - I can see the fun side as well."

She noted that while some of Kirk's monologues were inspired by John F. Kennedy's speeches exhorting humans to reach for the moon and deeper into space, the roles were reversed decades later when NASA scientists made guest appearances on Star Trek to gain support and funding. Baker is in the process of turning the thesis into a published book.

The original article is here.

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