Fiction: Another venerable science-fiction standby, the force field, makes a couple of different appearances in the film. As usual, Enterprise officers bark "Shields up!" with alarming regularity, engaging the ship's defensive energy deflectors. There's also an intriguing scene in which a Starfleet prisoner is kept in a jail cell with no bars -- just an invisible force field that can be conveniently adjusted to allow important plot devices to pass through.
Science: The Earth's magnetic field is, in essence, a giant force field, deflecting charged particles from the Sun which would otherwise fizzle the ozone layer, destroy the atmosphere, and end life as we know it. Good force field, that. Researchers are currently exploring potential plasma-based force fields to protect spacecraft in orbit.