Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quantum Physics, Sci Fi, and Real-Life Probabilities.

I'm currently reading Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace. People who know me seem a bit surprised that I'm interested in something as "obtuse" as quantum physics. I've always liked the subject, but the mathematics is my Achilles' heel. Kaku has the knack for explaining the concepts in words that the lay person can understand, whether it's the (supposed) origin of the universe, multiple timelines, or warp speed. The right side of my brain can accept vague possibilities, but the left side is very practical, which is probably why I decided not to make physics my career. I'd go nuts stuck in a lab all the time.

Mr. McCausland was my physics teacher in high school. He was enthusiastic about how to apply the principles of physics, instead of just spouting equations more complicated than "energy equals mass times the speed of light (squared)." Schroedinger's Cat (aka, does the cat blow up?), the Great Paper Airplane Race (aka, how to achieve lift without taking a nosedive) and the G-force of roller coasters (aka a 'field trip' to Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VA). Hey, we needed to gather data; it just meant riding the Loch Ness Monster multiple times.

And Mr. McC was proud of his Scottish heritage. Think Montgomery Scott as a high school teacher. He even played the bagpipes once during a free period (much to the other teachers' dismay). Plus he was a big Star Trek fan.

I'm always astounded at how often I run into these lessons in other areas. For example, Michio Kaku talks about stuff called "string theory" of matter. Ten years earlier, I'd read it in a Star Trek novel, "Mirror, Mirror", by Diane Duane. One of the minor characters was a "string specialist" on a scientific mission. He tried to explain why it was considered controversial in the scientific community. Interesting that Ms. Duane wrote about the concept a decade before Kaku's book (though scientists like Kaku and Stephen Hawking obviously knew about it and worked on the concept). Life complements-or at least imitates-art.

So...if these quantum theories are true, does it mean I've got an evil mirror double running around in another universe? Does it mean that every time we write about new worlds and new characters, they spring into existence the moment they come out of our pen (or computer)? Literally, in another universe? Like Schroedinger's cat, we won't know the outcome unless we look into the box, but until then, everything's possible and they all have an equal chance of being right?

Does this mean we're all the creators of new worlds and new possibilities?

Yup. As long as we are writers, artists, poets, sculptors, and use creativity in our daily lives, we are.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010


  1. Life imitates art best when art does its research. :)

    I did nearly three months' worth of reading in theoretical / "hyperdimensional" physics before writing The Wounded Sky: one of the physicists I cited in the bibliography now uses the book in his courses. Some of that info leached over into Dark Mirror (but of course I did some more research first to see what was new).

    As for your evil double: no comment. :)

  2. True. It's the 'science' in science fiction. :-) Otherwise the story doesn't make sense, if the science isn't correct.

    K't'lk in "The Wounded Sky" has been one of my favorite all-time ST characters.

    Thanks for commenting!


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