Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A Long Time Ago in a Completely Different Universe

  1. Oct 21, 2014 #1
    This conversation is just for fun. Has anyone ever thought of the obvious answer for some Science Fiction Movies? Physicists will tell you that "What you just saw could not happen in this universe." Isn't the obvious retort, "Well, then it happened in another?"

    Consider Star Wars: ships bank and explosions can be heard. Is it not reasonable to assume that this is happening in another universe rather than in a galaxy far, far away. Space in this environment is filled with a medium, the ether that Nineteenth Century physicists assumed existed in the space between stars. Furthermore, such phenomena as telekinesis seem to be far easier to achieve in this universe than it is in ours. And of course FTL is far easier to accomplish in the Star Wars universe than it is our own. Could subtle differences in the laws of physics simply make such things more possible in another universe than it is in our own?

    Or let us consider the misadventures of young Ka'el. He may come from the planet Krypton, but Krypton obviously cannot exist in our universe. The ship the young Kryptonian escaped in must have had the ability to breach universes. Ka'el cannot possibly be from our universe. Could it be that his superpowers are simply a matter of his bringing his universe along with him? When you shoot a gun at Ka'el could it be that the bullet is not just impinging on an exotic human being, but instead on the totality of an existing, alternate universe. One could imagine that the totality of another universe would be more than enough to stop a speeding bullet.

    What is exciting about he Ka'el interface is that, rather than reacting in a matter/antimatter Armageddon, the laws of Ka'el's universe and our are rather complimentary. Think of the beneficial effects Ka'el goes through when he is bombarded with photons in this universe.

    These are just two examples, I'm sure all of you can think of other, or would have interesting observations about these two examples.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2014 #2
    Creating different sets of laws are troublesome. For example if anything between the stars have friction, pressure why it dont slow down planets? That universe can really operate only with the Force?
  4. Oct 22, 2014 #3
    Well, I did read somewhere that there is an idea that stands that other universes may exhibit differing constants than ours; for example, Planck's constant or Pi. While I don't see how that would be possible, (considering a circle is a circle and it is defined by that very constant) I'm not leaving it out of reason, considering my mind and perception is limited to this universe. One example of this (filtered perception), have you ever tried imagining how a tesseract really rotates if you existed in a higher dimension and could observe the lower dimensions properly? I've tried, it makes my head hurt...
  5. Oct 22, 2014 #4
    Of course creating a different set of laws is troublesome, that's what makes it so much fun to speculate upon.
  6. Oct 22, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It's ok to make your own rules for your universe, but you ought to carefully think of what the greater ramifications of these rules would be. That's what makes good sci fi.
  7. Oct 22, 2014 #6
    The idea of a universe with a different value of pi... that's ineffable. Perhaps an aspect of it being a different universe is that we cannot even consider what it would mean or be like. It reminds me... closed time-like loops are literally impossible to simulate, or really understand.

    Then again, consider a universe where space is made of a three-dimensional grid of cubical regions (pixels). Certainly, the value of pi is different (but it still converges to the value of pi, as the circle gets bigger)
  8. Oct 22, 2014 #7
    True enough. On the other hand you don't want to second guess yourself to the point of paralysis. In the space opera I'm working on psychic powers (telepathy being the main one) are easier to develop and use than in this universe. One of the problems I haven't solved to my own satisfaction is how to keep a secret from your enemy.
  9. Oct 22, 2014 #8
    A universe where the value of pi is different is a little more exotic than I had in mind. Planck's constant...that might be doable.
  10. Oct 22, 2014 #9
    In the Foundation series, there's a device that emits psi frequencies that cripples those with psychic powers. Also, there's a machine which detects someone capable of psychic powers that you get hooked up to. If you want to go a more mystical way, Occlumency!
  11. Nov 3, 2014 #10
    I have more thoughts: What do you think of the possibility of interfacing our universe with other, exotic universes with the intent of creating new materials? In my space opera both sides have partners from other universes that create the main components for their star-drive systems using raw iron from this universe and exotic material from other universes. They create an alloy that is formed into plates that are positioned all over the hull. An electric current is applied to the plates and your off and running. Payment is made for this service in raw materials that said exotic aliens need for their purposes.

    I'm partial to this arrangement because I've always had problems with the dilithium crystals from Star Trek. Are we really likely to find any new substances in the universe that can't be found here? Anyone have any thoughts?
  12. Nov 3, 2014 #11

    Jonathan Scott

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If a distant event causes strong electromagnetic waves at audio frequencies, it is possible to hear sounds induced by those electromagnetic fields in nearby conducting or magnetic materials. I first found out about this when I saw a very bright Perseid meteor and distinctly heard a hissing and crackling sound at the same time which seemed to match what I saw, which initially seemed implausibly surprising but I later found to be a known scientific possibility.

    So science fiction writers could claim this as a mechanism by which explosions can be heard in space (especially given that the delay is typically insufficient to account for the speed of sound)!
  13. Nov 3, 2014 #12
    But then why do so many Jedi Masters have British accents?
  14. Nov 3, 2014 #13

  15. Nov 3, 2014 #14
    'ow should I bleedin' know!
  16. Nov 4, 2014 #15


    User Avatar

    Similar explanation, also from Dr. Who. When someone says " you look human" to which he replies " you look Time Lord".
    I always loved that.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook