I am a professional astronomer and planetary scientist, you can find more about my own research on my academic home page through the link in the main menu. As I suspect is true of many scientists I have always had an interest in science fiction, imagining something that is just outside our current realm of understanding is how we get there after all. Having watched a film, read a book or played a computer game I often find myself contemplating something that I’ve just seen or read about, and wondering how it would actually work. I know from talking to friends that I am not the only one that has these kind of thoughts so I thought I would start this blog as a place to share my musings.
The name of the blog has several layers of meaning. ‘Here be dragons’ in common parlance refers to an unexplored (and likely dangerous) area. This seems rather appropriate for a blog dealing with the fringes of science fiction and real science. Interestingly enough though the actual phrase ‘here be dragons’ (or rather the latin hic sunt dracones) was only used very rarely and is largely an anachronism inspired by the practice in medieval cartography of decorating uncharted areas with dragons and sea-monsters. Rather than any particular intention to declare that an area was dangerous those dragons and sea-monsters were probably as much about filling an otherwise blank area of the map with something interesting to look at. A large map would have been a rather expensive thing at the time, intended to be displayed, and a big empty area might have been a bit of an embarrassment. The prospect of this blog being something decorative to fill an empty space amused me and so it seemed doubly appropriate. Finally, as anyone who knows me can attest, I am also rather obsessed with dragons, my home being decorated with a number of them, so any name that has something to do with dragons was always going to appeal to me.