"Ant Man" and the Planck scale

  • Thread starter dahoa
  • Start date
  • #1
93
5

Main Question or Discussion Point

Ant-Man can shrink to the subatomic quantum realm where space and time cease to have meaning. Can he reaches inside the planck scale?

I wanted to use the words "below" or "above" the planck scale. But when describing inside it.. do you use "below" or "above" the planck scale to describe inside and outside it.. and why do they use the below or above since there is no below or above (what's the origin of these terms in describing the planck scale)?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
15,921
5,618
Ant-Man can shrink to the subatomic quantum realm ...
No. There are no molecules or atoms down that small.
 
  • #3
No. There are no molecules or atoms down that small.
YES, and, Marvel's explaniation to pym particles is"shrinking the distance between atoms",which means he can't get down to volume smaller than all the atoms on him added up,which by th way,will never go to "subatomic" levels.
 
  • #4
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
15,921
5,618
YES, and, Marvel's explaniation to pym particles is"shrinking the distance between atoms",which means he can't get down to volume smaller than all the atoms on him added up,which by th way,will never go to "subatomic" levels.
The OP has left the buliding. Permanently it seems.
 
Last edited:
  • #5
Matterwave
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,965
326
YES, and, Marvel's explaniation to pym particles is"shrinking the distance between atoms",which means he can't get down to volume smaller than all the atoms on him added up,which by th way,will never go to "subatomic" levels.
I believe that's Hank Pym's explanation - but whether Hank himself really understands the Pym particles is suspect since he does say that you could go "subatomic" if you mess with the regulator (correct me if I'm wrong, but I do seem to recall him saying both these things in the first Ant Man movie). One would think that a physicist of Hank's caliber would understand that if shrinking involved shortening distances between atoms, then "subatomic" is never an option. So there's a couple of (in universe) possibilities:

1. Hank is dumbing things down to make the explanation of Pym particles comprehensible to someone who is not an expert in the subject like he is.
2. Hank is lying purposely in order to hide the true nature of the Pym particle.
3. Hank doesn't understand Pym particles (or basic physics at that) and his success was a total fluke. - Unlikely given the characterization of Hank.
4. The basic laws of physics and logic don't apply. <- Physics laws is seen to be broken willy nilly...but one would hope logic at least applies.

An out of universe explanation of course is just that this is a plot hole that the creators neglected to address and it can always be hand-waved away by a sufficient source of handwavium.
 
  • #6
I liked fantasy and "science fiction" about shrinking people when I was a kid, but found it rather unsophisticated (to be kind) as I grew older (perhaps this qualifies me as a kind of science fiction snob).

Minaturization flies in the face of everything known about science.

In The Fantastic Voyage (still worth watching because of Raquel Welch in a skin tight diving suit), the submarine would have been bounced around randomly because of Brownian motion. Also, relative viscosity would have increased millions of times, so it would have been like a submarine trying to navigate through asphalt or tar. It would have destroyed the propellers, to say the very least.
 
  • #7
Zap
170
56
Yes, but at the plank scale, Ant Man will have triggered the creation of a microscopic black hole.
 
  • #8
23
7
Isaac Asimov eliminated many of the scientific errors seen in the movie "Fantastic Voyage" when he wrote the novelization. He also wrote "Fantastic Voyage II," which had a different treatment of miniaturization. Miniaturization is still completely fictitious, but some science fiction writers wave their hands better than others.
 
  • #9
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
12,408
5,169
I never understood how shrinking would reduce the mass of something. E.g. in The Fantastic Voyage. If you shrink a tee-shirt in the washing machine it still weighs the same when it comes out.
 
  • #10
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,648
2,117
I never understood how shrinking would reduce the mass of something. E.g. in The Fantastic Voyage. If you shrink a tee-shirt in the washing machine it still weighs the same when it comes out.
Stories with shrinking routinely ignore, flout and contradict themselves when it comes to mass of a shrunk object. In one scene, you can carry a miniaturized tank in your pocket; in the next, you mass the same as a normal human and dent floors. Then in the next scene you throw a 50 gram salt shaker which, when embiggened, masses 50kg.
 
  • #11
I never understood how shrinking would reduce the mass of something. E.g. in The Fantastic Voyage. If you shrink a tee-shirt in the washing machine it still weighs the same when it comes out.
Asimov suggested that if you could somehow take a poll of every molecule in an object, and then remove them proportionately, you could shrink the object.

This, however, runs into other problems.

In a person, this would reduce the sophistication of the brain, and leave you with something perhaps as intelligent as an insect, for example.
 
  • #12
23
7
Asimov suggested that if you could somehow take a poll of every molecule in an object, and then remove them proportionately, you could shrink the object.

This, however, runs into other problems.

In a person, this would reduce the sophistication of the brain, and leave you with something perhaps as intelligent as an insect, for example.
Asmov was aware of this difficulty. The scenario you correctly described was put in the mouth of a character who was stating one of the reasons why miniaturization would not be possible. As for the miniaturization that the FV novelization characters use, Asimov brings it to life with one of his favorite hand-waving tricks: invoking hyperspace.
 

Related Threads on "Ant Man" and the Planck scale

  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
974
Replies
7
Views
1K
Replies
12
Views
719
  • Last Post
2
Replies
37
Views
4K
Replies
10
Views
1K
Top