As Bill Nye says, “SCIENCE RULES!”

And whether you’re a scientist or engineer yourself or just a science enthusiast, there are some amazing panels scheduled for SDCC 2017!

From discussions about the psychology of your favorite characters to the real life science behind your favorite series, there are tons of great panel options. Show runners, writers, and even composers are coming together with professionals in various fields to have some really amazing conversations. You can expect panels on the real world applications of nanotechnology and psychological breakdowns of Batman’s greatest enemies. There’s also panels focusing on fan favorites like Star Wars and Rick and Morty. Plus buddy robotics hobbyists can learn how to make their own R2-D2s – among other famous droids.

Science and science fiction are at the heart of a lot of our favorite series so it’s no surprise that there are some really cool panels set up for SDCC 2017. Even NASA will be on hand for a couple panels! You can’t go wrong by checking out a few of these panels. 

Because, as well all know, SCIENCE RULES!


Unlocking Arkham: Forensic Psychiatry and Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Arkham Asylum houses some of Gotham City’s most disturbed villains. But are they truly “insane?” Eisner-nominated writer Tom King (Batman, The Sheriff of Babylon, The Vision)-mastermind of this summer’s Batman story arc, The War of Jokes and Riddles- joins real-life forensic psychiatrists Praveen R. Kambam, MD and Vasilis K. Pozios, MD (Broadcast Thought) to explore the mental disorders that plague the Dark Knight’s rogues’ gallery, offering behavioral analyses of the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, the Riddler, and other Bat-villains. Are these characters psychotic, or are they psychopaths? What’s the difference? The forensic psychiatrists discuss the meaning of these terms and explain how criminal defendants are found “not guilty by reason of insanity” and what happens when they are committed to a real-world Arkham Asylum. Attorney Jeff Trexler (The Comics Journal, The Beat) offers a historical contextualization of the various depictions of the Bat-villains, proving once again that truth really is stranger than fiction! Moderated by Susan Karlin (Fast Company).

Nanotechnology in Sci-Fi: Fact or Fiction 
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM @ Room 8

Robin Ihnfeldt, Ph.D. (president/CEO. General Engineering and Research), Aaron Saunders, Ph.D. (research lead, nanoComposix), Darren Lipomi, Ph.D. (associate professor of nanoengineering, UCSD), Jeanne Lemaster, MS (graduate researcher in nanoengineering, UCSD), and Chava Angell, MS (graduate researcher in nanoengineering, UCSD) discuss the use of nanotechnology in popular science fiction. These scientists and engineers will talk about how nanotechnology is portrayed in TV and film from nanites to Mark 42 armor and compare it to cutting edge research applications in nanotechnology today.

2017: The State of Iron Man Tech
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Room 32AB

Tony Stark and the technologies he creates are a part of modern lexicon. Mainstream publications like The Atlantic run articles like “Everyone Wants Elon Musk to Be Tony Stark,” and Musk himself admits that some of his inventions are modeled after Stark creations. While Musk has yet to build a flying exosuit or a J.A.R.V.I.S.-style assistant, others have. Some of these inventors will join moderator Steve Broback (Dent the Future, LLC) to discuss their innovations—ones that could have come straight out of Stark Industries. Panelists include inventor and TED speaker Richard Browning (founder of, who actually flies via his jet engine-powered suit, along with Chris Gerty (informatics subsystem team lead, NASA—Johnson Space Center), Adam Draper (founder & managing director, Boost VC), and Zoë Bell (stunt woman and actress).

Hollyweird Science: Information Versus Motivation
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM @ Room 26AB

When a new science fiction film comes out, so do the science experts (with vastly different levels of expertise) to nitpick the film’s science content. The irony is that Hollywood has never been more willing to work with actual scientists to ensure scientific accuracy. Yet, scientists often cite TV series like Star Trek and films like 2001: A Space Odyssey as the elements that inspired their careers. When it comes to the value to science and science education, is the motivational/inspirational component at least as important as the science content itself? This panel of scientists and Hollywood professionals share their thoughts. Featuring Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, AMC’s The Walking Dead), Amy Berg (Counterpart, Eureka), Kevin Grazier, Ph.D. (Gravity, Pirates of the Caribbean: DMTNT), Jessica Cail, Ph.D. (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ., Zootopia), Rick Loverd (Science and Entertainment Exchange), and Colin Campbell (The Universe, Life After People). Moderated by Gia Mora (Scirens).

Psychology of Cult TV Shows: Episode 4
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM @ Room 25ABC

Are you a fan of Supernatural, Westworld, Game of Thrones, or Sherlock? Do you love Daredevil, Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage? If so, come join the team of mental health professionals Dr. Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology), Dr. Travis Langley (Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box; Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier), Dr. Lynn Zubernis (Supernatural Psychology; Family Don’t End with Blood), Dr. Billy San Juan (Doctor Who Psychology, Walking Dead Psychology), and Travis Adams (Supernatural Psychology) and TV writers/producers Jose Molina (Agent Carter, Firefly), Christine Boylan (Castle, Once Upon a Time), and Deric Hughes (The Flash, Beauty and the Beast) in geeking out and discussing your favorite TV shows. Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Star Wars Psychology) moderates.

Whose Team Are You on? The Psychology of World Beliefs and Personality
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM @ Room 28AB

In a landscape of intense fictional conflict with Iron Man versus Captain America, Batman versus Superman, Justice League versus the Avengers-which team are you on? A research study conducted by April Fugett, PhD and Keith W. Beard, PsyD (professors of psychology, Marshall University), and Jacob Mills, MA and Britani Black, MA (doctoral students, Marshall University) examined how personality and world beliefs factor into preferences for certain characters, teams, and even specific shows in popular culture. Many people have strong world views and strong character preferences that they identify with, support, follow closely, and spend money on in the forms of merchandise and even brand identity. This support, from Tumblr posts to fan-created merchandise, often available months before retail, affects every aspect of the comic, television, and cinematic universes. This information could be used to better promote and engage people with specific brand and character choices while also giving individuals insight into their own characters and media preferences.


The Science of Star Wars
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Room 7AB

Ever wondered if lightsabers could one day be a reality? Curious about which Star Wars droid NASA would take into space? Expert panelists Kim Steadman (engineer, NASA-JPL), Kieran Dickson (editor,, MGM Studios), Fon Davis (Star Wars production designer), Travis Langley (editor, Star Wars Psychology), Steve Huff (fight choreographer and weapons expert), Eliot Sirota (VFX expert), and host Jenna Busch (creator, Legion of Leia) act as your Bor Gullet into the mind of Star Wars creators and break down the science behind a galaxy far, far away. Q&As, surprises, and giveaways will follow.

The Lazarus Pit Gets Real
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM @ Room 28DE

The Marvel and DC (and other) universes universally feature age-inhibiting “renewal elixirs” in their storylines. Nick Fury, Black Canary, and Batman are among the scores of characters who have reversed or delayed the aging process. Thanks to rejuvenation biotechnologies being developed by people like Bill Maris (founder, Section 32) and physician Joon Yun (president of Palo Alto Investors), the Lazarus Pit, Vigoral, Super-Soldier Serum, Extremis serum, Infinity Formula, and Pym Particles are now no longer fantasy concepts. Remarkable progress has been made in extending the life spans of animals and, soon, humans. This panel will cover the latest in anti-aging and cognitive enhancements.

Artificial Intelligence: Will Computers Take Over the World? 
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM @ Room 24ABC

As scientists move closer to achieving artificial intelligence, what is next? How does real AI science compare to its depictions in movies, on TV, and in books? Could AI save the world—or be its doom? Join the Fleet Science Center as they bring together Craig Titley (co-executive producer/writer, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), William Wisher Jr. (screenwriter, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and other science fiction writers to discuss the future of artificial intelligence with Dr. Ndapa Nakashole (assistant professor, UCSD Artificial Intelligence Group) and other AI researchers.

Basic Star Wars Robotics A La Mouse Droid
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM @ Room 7AB

Learn what makes a mouse droid tick and its place in the Star Wars universe. Mouse droid builders share their expertise and provide you with the knowledge you’ll need to build your very own mouse droid from an easy-budget build to a high-end speed racer or tank-like demolition derby mouse droid.

The Future Is Now
9:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ Room 29AB

Tal M. Klein (The Punch Escrow), Matthew Mercer (Critical Role), and Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror) discuss how contemporary science fiction has served as a lens into our future. This panel focuses on the core “fictional” technologies dreamed up in science fiction—from teleportation to replication, from cloning to the reversal of aging, to interstellar travel and beyond. A discussion on how the future might be closer than you think—and what that means.


The Science of Rick and Morty 
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Room 7AB

Nerdist’s Kyle Hill (Because Science, MythBusters: The Search) and special guests open up a portal to the Rickstaverse to rise above and focus on the science behind everything from portal guns to screaming suns. Q&A session burp to follow.

The Secrets of Drawing with Science
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM @ Room 11

Wei Xu, Ph.D. (artist, mathematician, computer scientist, author, professor) unveils the scientific secrets for identifying, organizing, and duplicating shapes, the core steps for scientifically mastering observational drawing.

The Arkham Sessions: Psychology of Batman the Animated Series
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM @ Room 25ABC

Hosts of The Arkham Sessions Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward bring their hit podcast about Batman and mental health to Comic-Con. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the iconic 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, The Arkham Sessions invites visionary writers Paul Dini (Dark Night: A True Batman Story; Batman: The Animated Series), Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series), and Brenden Fletcher (Gotham Academy) to break down Batman and his infamous rogues’ gallery.

Superheroic Science with Joy Lin
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

The author of popular animated series “If superpowers were real” on discusses the real-life implications and scientific issues of having superpowers. For instance: The Invisible Woman would be blind, because light is shining straight through her instead of reflecting off of her; Thor would kill Jane due to decompression sickness if he flew straight up with her by swinging his hammer; and Ant Man would not be able to punch a person effectively because his arm is so thin and short that his punches would be comparable to being poked by a tattoo needle. This panel is science-heavy and is recommended for audience members 12+.


Science Fiction, Science Future
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM @ Room 6DE

SpaceX is developing a reusable passenger rocket, and self-driving cars will soon be in everyone’s garage. Science fiction has become science reality. Where are we heading next? Join the Fleet Science Center as they bring together Andy Weir (author of The Martian), Mike Johnson (writer, Star Trek comics), and other science fiction writers to discuss with local scientists and engineers what the future will hold.

R2-Builders: How to Make Your Own R2-D2/BB-8?
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM @ Room 11

Get all of the information you need to build your own fully functional droid character from the Star Wars universe. Moderator Victor Franco and panelists Mike Senna, Michael McMaster, William Miyamoto, Joe Font, and Thomas Roeoesli share their knowledge and expertise to make your build a success.

No Tow Trucks Beyond Mars
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Room 32AB

David Rosing (NASA JPL Mars Sample Return system engineer), Shonte J. Tucker (JPL thermal engineer), and Laura Kerber (NASA JPL Mars research scientist) discuss how scientists can boldly go where there’s no one around to fix it. Hear stories from the trenches about the heartbreaks, close calls, and adventures of real-life solar system exploration. Q&A session following.

More Science in Your Fiction with the League of Extraordinary Scientists and Engineers
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM @ Room 28DE

Writers, directors, sci-fi fans, and kids: Get ready to ask your questions about the real science in your fiction! Jeane Wong (founder and educator, LXS) is obsessed with science and has a solid background in superheroes and teaching young minds about discovering those same powers in the real world-from tiny insects to deep ocean creatures to robots, rockets, and beyond! Jeane hosts Dr. Andy Allen (professor, Scripps Institute of Oceanography), Dr. Tom Darlington (chief scientist, nanoComposix), Ben Frable (marine biologist, Scripps Institute of Oceanography), Dr. Sunny Fugate (engineer, A.I. Research, Space and Naval Warfare Systems), Dr. Nicolas Galitzki (cosmologist, University of California San Diego), Dr. Jeff McQuaid (marine biologist, Scripps Institute of Science), Jason Roberg (professor, conceptual science), Dr. Lisa Zeigler (viral ecologist, J. Craig Venter Instititute), and Angela Zoumplis (scientist, National Science Foundation). They will discuss how comics and science fiction push scientists and engineers to rocket past what is known to be possible and into an otherwise unimaginable future!

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