Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Ain't she a Beauty?!
Science Fiction and Science Fact are two very similar entities. How is this? Well, a lot of research has been impacted by ideas in Science-Fiction. A lot of Science Fiction has been impacted by Scientific Research(All good Science-Fiction is in my opinion).
Once Star Trek introduced the Warp Drive, it inspired Scientists to seek out it's potential for being true! Another Star Trek idea is Universal Translation. This is something that we are currently perfecting!
Cloaking Devices, Contacts that let you Zoom in, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Holograms, and even Neural Integration are all things that are actually happening in the world today. Yes, I know, there is a lot more happening than that but there's only so much awesome I can put in one article.
The real question is can we accredit Science-Fiction for inspiring the inventors and engineers for creating these things in our real life? I certainly think we can. Let's not forget though, sometimes Science creates that inspiration for Science Fiction. I don't know if Particle Accelerators were invented with some Science-Fiction story in mind, but I don't think so.
Maybe the most important thing to remember is that both entities are inspired by human advancement. They compliment each other so well because of the fact that Science-Fiction writers enjoy writing things that are outside of the Human Comfort zone. Exploring the deepest recesses of human success, and prophesying it's future advancements.
All the while, that's what Science itself does. It seeks answers to questions that haven't been asked, always seeking more reasons to break barriers. "If at first the idea is not Absurd, then there is no hope for it" is a quote from everyone's favorite scientists.
Science and Science Fiction create a culture beyond the day to day politics, an escape for those of us who seek new and brighter horizons than what we currently have. The beautiful thing is that all of us(even the readers) play a big role in the advancement of our species. So to all of the Science-Fiction junkies and Writers, and the Scientists they inspire and are inspired by, keep questioning the Cosmos.
For is the Human Race truly great, without our Audacity to question the natural order?