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Writing a Script - Chaos Theory

  1. Mar 1, 2017 #1
    Hey everyone,

    So i'm writing the script for a Youtube show i'm making, and it's pretty heavy on the science/physics side in terms of exposition.

    So before i jump into what i want to ask let me just briefly explain the story.

    A Time traveler and his time traveling machine go back 30 years in time. On the way, the machine breaks up, part of it landing in a facility, the other crashing into the ocean. The time traveler survives blah blah blah.

    Now the machine lands in a corporate RnD facility, and so a bunch of scientists begin researching it, they find out it's part of a time traveling machine, and so they have a discussion about the implication of time travel and chaos theory amongst their collegues.

    Now the discussion goes a bit like this. The scientist begins by stating a simple example :
    "Joe Blow enjoys a chicken sandwich at this Time(T)=0, in the specific, macro quantum state Ψjoe1
    Any event happening anywhere within the causal, and non-causal universe at T=0 can not effect the quantum state of Ψjoe1 in any way."

    He continues on by saying that as Time (T) goes into negative values, the probability that Joe blow will eat a Ham sandwich(Ψjoe2) instead of a chicken sandwich(Ψjoe1) will increase, and that any event within the causal universe can act as the cause for this change in event. The value increases exponentially, and is inversely proportional to the distance of the cause, and of Ψjoe1 (basically like a field emanating from Joe, except that field is a field of probability that joe would eat a Ham sandwich, which increases in scope as T goes further into negative value.

    He summarizes by saying that by 1950, the chance that Joe Blow would have Ham instead of chicken would be .0000001%(arbitrarily low number), the same probability that he would eat a stick of dynamite.

    So ya if someone could help me out in articulating my idea a bit better, because i believe that i could better arrive at the final joke (i know it's a lame joke but i think it's funny), and if anyone could provide an equation that is actually real instead of the made-up ones i provided that would be great. thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I'm a little confused here. You're saying that as you go back in time it's more likely he'll eat a ham sandwich and then at the end you say the probability is almost zero.

    Also how does the chaos theory factor in to your story?

    One thing about science fiction is that too be really good it can only violate one thing and so you have to be careful not to stretch science too much.
  4. Mar 3, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

  5. Mar 7, 2017 #4
    Right so the idea behind that, is that him eating a ham sandwich instead of chicken, is one possibility of a near infinite amount of possibilities. The closer we get to the eating of the sandwhich (T=0), the probability that it would be chicken increases and approaches 100% (because we know that this happens), and everything, ham, dynomite and whatever else decreases.

    So the whole idea with chaos theory, is that things on microscopic scales are sensitive to initial conditions. So as a system evolves, those minor discrepancies inflate and drastically change the later state of the system.

    So thinking on that idea backwards...If we are in the present, than events in the past would become nodes for initial conditions. The idea is that the further we go into the past, the more and more nodes pop up, because things are given more time to interact with the other nodes in the system. As the system evolves toward the present, subtle differences in the node will be exploited.

    If i have to give an example, lets say we have one event that happens (like my hand gets burnt on the stove). This event is the origin node . Now we look back 1 second in time. Events that lead up to this origin node, (like an electrical impulse to the brain, or the burner being flicked on.) are now nodes as well (secondary nodes) that lead up to the origin node.

    Now we look back 30 minutes in time. There are now a many nodes that lead up to those secondary nodes that will trigger the origin node...events such as the electrical impulse that your brain sends to tell you to go to the kitchen, or the event that the TV was left on advertising hamburgers, or any number of things that lead up to those secondary nodes. The maximal spacial extent of these nodes is the distance that light could travel in those 30 minutes (In other words, a photon 30 light minutes away is a legitimate candidate for being a node). However in our example, let's just assume that things that cause events are relatively macroscopic.

    So finally, lets look back 50 years. Every event on earth is now a possible candidate for being a node that will effect the origin node. 500....5000 years back, and every event on earth, even microscopic...sub atomic events become nodes. (Kind of like how we are all drinking a very tiny amount of dinosaur spit because dinosaur saliva has diffused in our atmosphere.)

    Hopefully this makes sense. I know nodes don't really mean anything in physics but it's the only way i can articulate what i mean.
  6. Mar 7, 2017 #5


    Staff: Mentor

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