A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

FlashForward: More on the science behind the story

09/24/09
The cast of ABC's new TV series <i>FlashForward</i>. (ABC/BOB D'AMICO)

The cast of ABC's new TV series FlashForward. (ABC/BOB D'AMICO)

FlashForward premieres tonight on the ABC television network. The new TV series is inspired by  Robert J. Sawyer’s novel of same name, which follows an international team of physicists and engineers at CERN as they cope with the aftermath of an event that projects humankind’s consciousness forward 21 years. In the book, the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider provides the setting for the “flash forward.” In the television adaptation, it’s anyone’s guess: the creators and stars of the show, and even Sawyer himself, make it clear that the series departs greatly from the book.

If tonight’s premiere makes you want to check out the novel (or if you’re ahead of the game and have already read it), the following links will help you separate FlashForward fact from fiction.

CERN’s new FlashForward Web site features a video interview with theoretical physicist John Ellis that explores the physics in Sawyer’s novel. Ellis dashes your hopes that LHC collisions might let you see a glimpse of your future life, sets the record straight on the Higgs boson, separates a few other physics facts from physics fictions, and discusses the role of science fiction in inspiring young scientists. CERN’s site also includes video and written interviews with Robert J. Sawyer, and excerpts from the novel.

The US LHC Web site’s FlashForward page includes a Q&A on the portrayal of CERN and the LHC in Sawyer’s book.

And from Time.com, this video interview with Robert J. Sawyer includes a discussion of the science behind FlashForward.

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