On Friday evening, in the midst of the upscale boutiques and trendy cafes of Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, a crowd filled the Galapagos Art Space for a sold-out show titled “The Science of Star Trek,” organized as part of the World Science Festival.
The crowd—scarf-wrapped, martini-sipping, not a single costumed fan in sight—was far from what one might expect at a Star Trek themed event (“closeted fans,” remarked one audience member after the show). Nonetheless, the packed space burst into applause as the night’s speakers were introduced: There was Laurence Krauss, a physicist from Arizona State; Seth Shostak, an astronomer with SETI; and Eric Horvitz, a researcher at Microsoft.
Moderating the discussion was the peppy Faith Salie, a regular on public radio but better known to Star Trek fans as the beautiful, genetically enhanced, Serena Douglas on the series spinoff Deep Space Nine.
Salie first steered the speakers into a conversation about whether the star ship Enterprise’s main means of navigating the galaxy—Warp Drive—is physically possible.