If you've watched any of JJ Abrams' scifi-themed shows over the years like Alias and Lost — or if you're lucky enough to have seen the season premiere of his new show Fringe before it airs Sept. 9 — you know the guy is obsessed with science. Well, not science as the journal Science would define it, but instead what characters in his new series call "fringe science." Stuff like UFOs, mutations, hallucinations, ESP, and utopian-socialist communes. Where does Abrams get all his science education? He sat down with Popular Science and spilled his geeky guts. When PopSci asked Abrams why he thinks there are so many recent shows about science and scientists, he said:

Popular culture is a mirror, and we are living in a time where every day some kind of shocking or amazing announcement is made. To read today, for instance, that researchers have found a way to destroy HIV or help 80 percent of Alzheimer's patients, it's amazing. These types of things are becoming more commonplace. There's more science in our lives, so there's more science on TV.

I also love how Abrams explained the inspiration for science in his shows:

I'll find myself constantly grabbing science magazines or looking at articles online. But the most important thing when making entertainment is finding something that's inspiring. Whenever I do, whether it involves technology or not, it's like fuel for me. It could be a three 3-minute clip on the Internet that someone sent me that makes me consider something that I hadn't thought about before . . . Everyday there's something. Yesterday somebody sent me a picture of this crazy pig with a monkey face. So, yeah, there's always something.

I love it that Abrams inhales science magazines and freaky mutant animal videos indiscriminately. Though sometimes his shows can be frustratingly mystical, I think their moments of genius (and yes, there are those) are the result of the way Abrams can perfectly mash together hard science with whacked-out YouTubery. I also happen to know for a fact that Abrams is a giant fan of our sister site Gizmodo, so I'm expecting to see at least one lego-based monster in Fringe this fall season. JJ Abrams Gets Lost Again [PopSci]