“Puranen may well have her head in the stars, but she is also very attached to Planet Earth” – The Scotsman

My name is Emma Puranen. I am a St Leonard’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Scholar at the University of St Andrews. Since graduating from Swarthmore College with majors in Astronomy and History, I’ve travelled across the pond and started my PhD.

I study fictional exoplanets, and the ongoing dialogue between scientists and science fiction writers. I use digital humanities and data science techniques to find patterns in literary data from science fiction works. I am compiling a database of fictional exoplanets to investigate how this current era of unprecedented exoplanet discovery has impacted the way writers worldbuild their fictional exoplanets.

Science fiction is an essential tool for modelling characteristics of exoplanets that are as yet unknown-to-science and examining their human and emotional effects. It is also crucial for inspiring public interest in science. Therefore, understanding the unique relationship between scientists and SF authors is invaluable to the field of science communication.

When not five layers deep in fandom wikis trying to determine if human characters can breathe a given planet’s atmosphere, you can find me running, voice acting, audio editing, LARPing, or hunting for the best cinnamon latte in St Andrews.

Want to help me collect data for my fictional exoplanets database? Fill out the form here!

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