The SciFi vision of Robert Sawyer at the Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture

The speaker for our annual Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture is the renowned Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. Robert J. Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world’s top Science Fiction awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

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Date:  Saturday, Jan 26th, 2019 – 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Location: Saywell Hall, Room SWH10081, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus
Please RVSP on our meetup site.

“Robert J. Sawyer is by any measure one of the world’s leading (and most interesting) science-fiction writers.” —The Globe and Mail

“Robert J. Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.” —The New York Times

Robert’s talk sets the stage for thinking about the rapid pace of change that’s coming down the pike by showing how science fiction visions are increasingly becoming real. Captain Kirk’s communicator and tricorder are now embodied in our smartphones; robots have walked off the pages of science fiction into our living rooms; and the Jetsons’ hyperconnected lifestyle has become our daily reality. Rob shows why science fiction has been called “the only preventive medicine for Future Shock,” and explains how extrapolative science-fiction thinking and rapid adoption of cutting-edge technologies can aid businesses as they rush to meet the future.


These annual memorial lectures honour Paul Sykes. Paul actively pursued his interest in astronomy, attending conferences and joining RASC, where he became a Life Member. Paul Sykes passed away in October 2005 at the age of 87 and left the Vancouver Centre a generous gift.

Paul Sykes was born in Hummelston, Pennsylvania USA in 1918. He acquired his interest in astronomy at an early age. During his teens he published his own monthly astronomical column and gave at least one lecture.

He was an officer in the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during WWII attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, the U.S. Air Medal, the Oak Leaf and Cluster and the Bronze Star. Following the war he attended UBC earning a degree in Physics in 1948. He rejoined the United States Air Force and attended the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology, studying nuclear physics. He worked on the NERVA Project, a nuclear rocket development effort and rose to the rank of Major.

Paul was appointed a lecturer and administrator in Physics at UBC and remained there until retirement in 1983.