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I require the assistance of a physicist.

  1. Nov 6, 2011 #1
    I would like to apologize in advance if this is posted in the wrong category.

    I am currently participating in NaNoWriMo with a story that I hope to finish and submit for publishing. It is of the Science Fiction genre, however, and I do not have the working knowledge of certain things that I require to make the story plausible. I require the assistance of a physicist to fill in the blanks.

    If you are available to answer questions in a timely fashion, and able to describe things in great detail in layman's terms, please reply or send me a message (after that I would prefer, for convenience sake, to communicate via personal e-mail, though we could keep it on the website if you are uncomfortable with exchanging e-mail addresses). I would give you the basic gist of what I already know, and you could correct any mistakes I have made and elaborate.

    I would be very grateful and, in the off chance that I accomplish my goal of publication, I would of course give you credit for the assistance.

    The information I require pertains to space-time. I know that a good number of you have probably just rolled your eyes, because the subject of space-time is so overused in Science Fiction, and I agree. But, as many writers do, I believe that I can breathe new life into an old horse that has been beaten to death with a stick, so to speak.

    As I have said, if you are available to assist, please contact me. Thank you vry much in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2011 #2
    Is this like a new Nigerian scam?
  4. Nov 6, 2011 #3
    No... I honestly need help with the information. I want it to be as close to scientifically sound as it can be, even if it is fiction.

    Is my request really so absurd that you would think that? Yikes, that doesn't bode well for me, does it?
  5. Nov 6, 2011 #4


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    Eiri, If you are too lazy to read up on the subject, you need to at least confine yourself to specific questions rather than ask for a general exposition that is likely to be as long (assuming you could get anyone to bother) as the ones you are trying to avoid.
  6. Nov 6, 2011 #5
    All right. That could have been worded without the accusation of laziness or ignorance, but I understand.

    For the record, I have read up on the subject, but I am not arrogant enough to think that reading up on it means that I can fully comprehend it without having it explained to me by someone that can break it down. But I will just try to do the best I can with what I have. I apologize for wasting your time.
  7. Nov 6, 2011 #6


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    Fair enough. The scope of the question was so staggeringly broad that I was quite put off by it and over-assumed about you. Sorry about that.

    If you have specific questions, ask. This is a great place to get such information.
  8. Nov 6, 2011 #7
    I realize it was very broad. I was hoping to find one person that would assist me and go from there, but I guess it makes sense that one would need to know what they would be informing me about before they decided to inform me.

    As I said, it's about space-time. If I understand correctly (and I probably don't, to be honest), space-time is to be thought of as a fabric, theoretically able to be shifted or torn. If one so desired to travel in time, one would have to be able to go faster than the speed of light, and would then be going so fast that they would be going either forward or backward in time, though without the ability to control how far.

    Here is the basic plot of my story (and yes, it may seem juvenile and silly, but I am aiming at a younger audience and it is fiction, so please bear with me) is that a scientist wishes to travel in time. He thinks he has everything worked out, from going faster than the speed of light to how he would control how far he went in time, but in execution it falls short and instead creates tears in the fabric of space-time, exposing his world to an infinite number of paradoxes.

    What I need to know is the actual science of this situation, and how one might "heal" this tear. I have considered that maybe creating a secondary tear within the initial would somehow act as an opposing force and both tears would be mended, but...

    As I said, it sounds silly, but if someone could please share some knowledge?
  9. Nov 6, 2011 #8


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    As far as I know, your entire premise is beyond the bounds of science. It breaks multiple rules and leaps into the area of speculation. Current science knows nothing of tears in spacetime, faster than light travel, time travel, etc. The idea of spacetime as a "fabric" has nothing to do with the actual models of spacetime.
  10. Nov 6, 2011 #9
    Be that as it may, informed and educated speculation is better than that of someone with only a high school level knowledge of science, isn't it? I would rather have the "ifs" and "assumings" of a physicist than the "maybes" and "dumb lucks" of someone else.
  11. Nov 6, 2011 #10


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    I've really wracked my brain trying to come up with something that could be even remotely plausible (and that's WITH the understanding that everything Drakkith said is true) but the problem is that this is so far outside actual science that nothing fits. What it really amounts to is that you can pretty much make up whatever you want. People familiar with science will roll their eyes just at your basic premise, so whatever you do after that won't matter to them, so I'd suggest just focusing on being entertaining to non-scientists. LOTS of sci-fi writers have broken actual science all to hell and gone and have still written some very entertaining stories.

    So good luck with that.

    EDIT: bring a black hole in there somewhere ... that's always popular. Maybe you can use it to fix the tear (shudder) in the fabric (shudder) of space-time.
  12. Nov 6, 2011 #11
    I appreciate your honesty. The hardest part about writing science fiction, I think, is knowing that a lot of people WILL roll their eyes at it, and I'd hoped that getting close enough to true science would make up for that. Like you said, I'll just have to take a lot of liberties and hope that my creativity makes up for the absurdity of it all. Though I think I'll leave out the black hole; that has always felt like a cop-out to me, even for science fiction.

    Thank you for your time; you really have been very helpful. Have a great day, everyone, and maybe our paths will cross again when I have a question that is actually answerable!
  13. Nov 6, 2011 #12
    "Tearing the fabric of spacetime" is very Star Trek, if not older than that. Which is nothing against the concept or Star Trek, but it was sci-fi in 1966 (very good sci-fi) and it's still sci-fi. You are as free to speculate as were the writers of Star Trek, but there isn't much a physicist can do for you except give you a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down on the final concept as you ultimately present it.
  14. Nov 6, 2011 #13


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    A good rule of thumb in my opinion is to stay as close to real science for as much as the story allows. Especially the little stuff. For example, knowing that you will not explode or freeze within seconds of exposure to a vacuum could make for some very interesting antics for your characters. (Though it ain't fun)

    When it comes to the BIG stuff, as long as you to a good job of tying the story into it and making the actions of the characters not only matter, but realistically matter, will be fine. IE running the final seconds to hit the big red button to activate the weapon that will destroy the black hole to seal the tear in spacetime before it destroys Earth might seem interesting, but in reality it's kind of boring unless you tie a whole bunch of stuff into it. Perhaps making it so the experimental technology keeps breaking down and one of your characters has to battle against the clock to repair it without the proper parts while in a vacuum with only a sealed helmet on, exposing the rest of him to the vacuum of space, seems much more interesting!

    But that's all just my opinion!
  15. Nov 6, 2011 #14


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    As an aside, doing a NaNoWritMo effort with the intent of publishing, especially on a subject you are need to do extensive consulting on, is, IMHO, missing the point. NanoWrimo is about putting words on paper with free abandon - 50,000 in the space of one month - 1666 every single day.

    Nanowrimo is entirely antithetical to careful research and editing.

    But who am I to judge?
  16. Nov 7, 2011 #15
    75% of the physicsforums members who actually know how to repair a tear in the fabric have left this world permanently. As the remaining 25% (you see, there were only four of us) all I’m willing to say is that the repair mechanism receives more energy in a second of ‘repair’ than your sun puts out in a year. The effect (which we four called ‘the zipper’) will propel you (if you can hold on) to places and spaces bizarre beyond imagination. I was lucky to survive the first trip. Maybe I didn't.
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