Antimatter

PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY READERS AND WRITERS

T. E. Mark’s Blog                                                                                                06 Sep 2015

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ANTIMATTER

This is a very deep concept. The physics involved is not only ARCANE, it’s insanely ARCANE. And, as I have your attention to this point, and since I’d sincerely like to keep it, let’s begin by listing the problems with those elusive particles, or excuse me, anti-particles, we call, Anti-Matter. (I’ll also attempt to offer vaguely coherent solutions.)

Problem                                                              Vaguely Coherent Solution (VCS)

Antimatter is extremely difficult, and thus very expensive to produce. Award the contract to Wall-Mart. Within a brief time, they’ll have it in anti-containers, with anti-labels, stocked on anti-shelves at amazingly anti-high prices.
Every anti-matter particle has a matter twin. ie electrons / anti-electrons, protons / anti-protons, etc. Once they meet – immediate annihilation. Create antimatter containers, for anti-matter particles, that prohibit the mingling of these particles with their twins. (Cruel, but necessary)
Antimatter, if created in vast quantities, could fall into the hands of anti-terrorists. Develop an anti-homeland security division, if they haven’t already, to deal with this.

Now that we’ve solved the basic problems with Anti-matter, I’d like to ask that you really stretch your imagination, so I can delve deeper into the problems, and the possible value of antimatter research.

First, a little history:

According to Paul Dirac, he’s the guy who, in 1928, if you can imagine that, first predicted the existence of the anti-electron, or positron, which ultimately led to the theory, that all particles, you know, (protons, neutrons, Miley Cyrus outfits, etc) have mirrored particles we call, anti-particles.

This, of course, led to waves of debate, and a deluge of really cool images, like:

  1. Antimatter worlds. (Don’t scoff, we live in a world where same-sex couples, have to deal with creepy, recalcitrant, Kentucky clerks for a legal marriage license, but, documented nut-cases can pick up an assault rifle, at a local flea market, on the way to the movies.)
  2. Anti-people. (This one lends itself too easily to humour, so I’ll let it go – for now!)
  3. Antimatter fuelled space ships. (Great fodder for Sci-Fi writers – I hope you’re taking notes)
  4. Antimatter weapons. (Boy, killed this debate in a quick, didn’t I?)

As my interest with these articles, is to be enlightening, provide ideas to other writers, have fun, amuse, and be brief, I would like to use the remaining time, to cover just a few details, I feel would lend themselves to good use in Science Fiction writing.

Anti-matter worlds: In the early universe, supposedly, there were equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, but nobody seems to have a clue as to where all that antimatter went. (Maybe, it’s still here. Maybe we just can’t see it, or, perhaps that’s where we go when we dream.)

Anti-people: Besides the fact that many politicians, reality TV stars, and an irrepressibly obtuse relative of mine, may fit this description, since we are all made of matter particles, logically, we should all have an anti-self out there – somewhere. (Just as I was writing this one, I had several really cool plots race through my mind, or, was that through my anti-mind? How would I know? Maybe thoughts themselves are anti-matter. Whoa! Ever have an anti-thought?)

Anti-matter fuelled space ships: This one is guaranteed to supply the Sci-Fi writer, who is desperately searching for a way to conquer inter-galactic space voyages, in one of their stories. I don’t feel the need to expound here.

Anti-matter weapons: As a confirmed pacifist, anti-nukes, anti-guns, anti-war, anti-killing, etc. I can only see one possible bright spot here. And even I admit difficulty with the implications of this one.

Some theoretical physicists consider anti-matter, simply matter moving backwards in time. If this theory prevails, an anti-matter weapon, would, for all intents and purposes, be useless, as the destruction it would have caused, if deployed, would already have been undone before it was unleashed – fired – dropped – or what-have-you. (Were you able to follow that? Read it again. If that still doesn’t work, read it backwards.)

 To sum up:

Whether to uncover alternate universes, realities, fuel sources, or detestable, loathsome weaponry, the anti-matter quest is a fine addition to the Science Fiction writer’s tool box. The idea of an anti-matter world, where your anti-self, is at this very moment, reading my anti-blog post, is supremely stimulating – and great material for a fresh manuscript.

One Caveat:

There is a fundamental law of physics, known as the Principle of the Conservation of Mass. This law states, unequivocally, that mass can neither be created nor can it be destroyed. It can only change states.

No one, to my knowledge, argues with this principle, at least nobody I know to be psychologically stable. With that said, if we have been able to create anti-matter, and it finds its twin here in our matter-stable universe, and they are annihilated, well, hasn’t our universe just lost a bit of that matter? Have we not just defied that long-standing, uncontested conservation law? And if we have, will there be a price to pay?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my newest post, and have extracted from it something useful for your next Sci-Fi story.

Parting thought: (The premise of my newest Sci-Fi novel) If we are indeed visiting an anti-matter world when we dream, then maybe, we’re dreaming now, comfortably sleeping, in our anti-beds, awaiting our anti-alarm clocks, to summon us to prepare for an anti-Monday, and yet another anti-week. (How would we know? Perhaps, we, and our perceived universe, are actually comprised of anti-matter, and our dreams are whisking us off to a world of matter.)

I’ve specifically enjoyed writing this issue of my PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY READERS AND WRITERS, and hope you’ve been at least modestly, if not entirely, enriched, intrigued and entertained.

If my work pleases you, consider sharing this with your networking pals and maybe picking up one of my six recently published novels:

‘Love in the Time of Apocalypse’ (Published – June 2017)

‘Alina’ (Published – May 2017)

‘Never a Sun Rises’ (Published – April 2017)

‘Fractured Horizons: A Time Travel Odyssey’ (Published – Jan 2017)

‘…but then, why Mars really?’ (Published – Dec 2016)

‘AHNN’ (Published – Oct 2016)

T.E. Mark

T.E. Mark is a Science Writer, Author, Language Teacher and Violinist. He has written novels for Young and Adult Readers and continues to write science articles for national and international magazines.

The Anthropic Universe

PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY READERS AND WRITERS

T. E. Mark’s Blogs                                                                                       30 Aug 2015

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The Anthropic Universe

Now here’s a topic I’m certain you’ve bandied about with your colleagues, friends, and family on numerous occasions. In fact, I’m betting right now you’re already considering dispensing with my post. ‘Old news,’ you’re thinking, right?

Well, let’s cater then to the frivolous few, who have somehow missed, or intentionally avoided, this all-important, life changing topic. Let’s begin with the classical definition then, shall we?

The Anthropic Universe: The Universe is as we perceive it, because if it was any different, we wouldn’t be here to perceive it.

(Now, I’d like you to take a few minutes, days, or decades to absorb that – then we’ll move on.)

Okay, where to start? Ah! I have it! Let’s clarify something right off the bat. The word ‘Perceive’ is simply a polite, and very diplomatic, way of saying ‘know,’ as, it would be considered, at this point, flagrantly egotistical for anyone, anywhere, to claim that they ‘know’ the Universe.

With that out of the way, now we can concentrate on the decidedly ARCANE implications with this term, and its uniquely esoteric definition.

Time for a couple analogies, and a little thought experiment: If the universe was, say, a large block of limestone, I imagine few would argue the point that, we, in our carbon based containers, could scarcely be clinking along drinking fruit smoothies, arguing the pros and cons of having Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

Analogy two: If the universe was perceived, (known) as a vast, deep, dark chocolate mousse, well, though a fascinating image, one needn’t stretch too much to see that we probably wouldn’t be milling about, comparing how many friends we have on Face Book, or the number of followers we have on Twitter.

So, how does this ARCANE concept provide fodder for the Science Fiction writer?

Let’s go back to the first analogy. The Universe is a large block of cream coloured limestone. Now, all but those with exceptionally expanded imaginations, ie Sci-Fi writers, would assume the universe to be lifeless, meaningless, and dead. But then, would it be? Add to that, why would we be so sure?

As far as I know, there is no law stating that life, even intelligent life, must comprise Carbon atoms, require water, and an extra shot soy latte in the morning to reach a sentient state. With that said, a universe comprised of Calcium Carbonate, (CaCO3), could as easily be teeming with sentient life, albeit probably at the atomic level, as our universe – you know, the one we perceive of as having stars, galaxies, solar systems, water, oxygen and iPhones.

This gives rise to a number of really ARCANE conclusions.

  1. We may not be the only intelligent life in our universe. (Perhaps not even on our own planet) That finely proportioned, limestone lintel above your front door, may be a universe in itself; teeming with intelligent life – its scientists, searching endlessly for similar, Calcium-based life forms, completely unaware of our existence, simply because we don’t fit their search criteria.
  2. Our search for extra-terrestrial life in the Cosmos, with that narrow criteria, that we first find liquid water, may be, well, limited and somewhat obtuse.
  3. (This sort of goes with No 1) Universes, different than the one we perceive as our own, may exist within other universes. This gives rise to No 4. The Chef salad of Hypotheses.
  4. With all of our Theoretical Physicists, Astrophysicists, and Astronomers, struggling to determine what existed before the Big-Bang, (essentially what was in existence around that sub-atomic particle, that purportedly exploded, went through various stages of expansion, and formed our Universe – you know, the one we perceive) could it have existed within a limestone Universe? Perhaps within a lintel above someone’s door? A door in another Universe?

To sum up: Except for a few very prescient Greeks, Pythagoras & Aristarchus come to mind, and later, Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Kepler and their ilk, people were quite convinced the Earth sat perfectly still at the centre of the Universe. They were not unintelligent – simply saddled with conceited, and severely compressed imaginations.

So the question arises: Are we any better?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we should consider expanding our search criteria, as we gnaw away at that Anthropic Universe, looking for that perfect habitat on another celestial body, replete with fresh water, oxygen, and all the other necessities for organic life.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my newest post, and have extracted from it something useful for your next Sci-Fi story. I’m going to go now, to attempt communication with the desperate scientists, locked within my limestone fence. Hmm! I wonder if they communicate using electromagnetism. If not, what else could they use? (Perhaps this is a question Earth scientists may consider, as well.)

If my work pleases you, consider sharing this with your networking pals and maybe picking up one of my six recently published novels:

‘Love in the Time of Apocalypse’ (Published – June 2017)

‘Alina’ (Published – May 2017)

‘Never a Sun Rises’ (Published – April 2017)

‘Fractured Horizons: A Time Travel Odyssey’ (Published – Jan 2017)

‘…but then, why Mars really?’ (Published – Dec 2016)

‘AHNN’ (Published – Oct 2016)

T.E. Mark

T.E. Mark is a Science Writer, Author, Language Teacher and Violinist. He has written novels for Young and Adult Readers and continues to write science articles for national and international magazines.