Questions on using Anti-matter

Discussion in 'Writing' started by BlueAngel, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I have a short story I'm currently outlining that involoves mutant characters that can somehow generate high enough levels of it to be truly dangerous. Now, after reading several sources on antimatter, I found that it is impossible to create enouh of it to be so destructive, and that it is an extremely difficult thing to create and even contain.

    So my qestion is, how do I work all these things out enough to be believable? Wuld it be a new form of antimatter, since it came from a highly evolved human? How would the mutants themselves be able to control it? ~Angela
     
  2. PlanetRetcon

    PlanetRetcon Podcaster

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    I see no reason why it'd be impossible to create enough to be destructive. Sure, under normal conditions it'll react (quite violently) with regular matter and turn into energy but if you made a perfect vacuum (Or even a near-perfect vacuum and then threw some antimatter in the chamber to "clear out" the rest of the atoms) I see no reason why you couldn't "create" your antimatter in the container and then when you have enough release it and create a fairly big boom.

    Now, as to it being extremely difficult to create and contain... Yes, that's true. I actually don't know what all goes into creating antimatter, but we have created a bit, so it is possible. I've outlined how to contain it above, so it's not all that much of a stretch to assume that the means of creating and containig it will become easier as the level of technology rises.

    As a reader, I'd personally have no problem accepting that they could create and contain it, if you as the writer told me so.

    I don't know what you mean by "control" it. Just keep it out of contact from regular matter and you're fine. You could make up a "force field" or perhaps use magnets to suspend the matter. Just remember, if you wave your hands hard enough, and there's a good reason for it, people will believe pretty much anything you tell them :)
     
  3. choppy

    choppy The Great Flying Bear

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    Well Dan Brown managed to convince enough people that it was possible in Angels & Demons - so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    I'm not sure what you mean by a "new form" of anti-matter. Essentially you can think of it as regular matter with opposite charge. To that end, if you had a way of producing it, you could contain it electromagnetically. To produce it, you would need either a large amout of an isotope that gives off anti-matter by natural decay, or some kind of particle accelerator that could induce reactions that would have anti-matter as by products. The technical trick, I think, would be gathering it together. In fiction you can get around that issue by avoidance or slipping in some kind of techincal jargon, ie. use your trusty matter anti-matter separation matrix.
     
  4. Konrad

    Konrad Member of Team Kronos

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    Check out the stringtheory and set the story in a different dimension.
    Everything is possible with that.
     
  5. Soon Lee

    Soon Lee Registered User

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    Given it's a writing thread, I thought it was about how to end sentences with a bang.

    *ducks*
     
  6. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    What I meant by 'new form' of antimatter; That it would be generated by a living being it may have some different properties than that of the kind found in space.
    On controlling it; Since these characters will be weilding this power with their hands or other limbs, what counter-active affect will they need to be able to contain it until release? Well, from the above posts, I can gather that they may have the ability to control it by some supernatural magnetism of the mind. Or a magnetic field generated by their own body and then bending it to contain the anitmatter.

    I also have another issue to solve. Since one of the two characters with this power will be captured, how would his volitility be subdued? Drugs? Or some other means?

    BTW, Thanx to everyone who replied. I have read Angels & Demons, and it was a decent book, because I couldn't put it down.
     
  7. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    If you want to be realistic, I suggest you read the scientific literature on the subject. A good place to start is http://arxiv.org/ and google scholar. Or get a good high energy physics textbook from your library.

    Maybe it's just me, (and I hope I don't sound harsh) but the concept of Dan Brown's book has me writhing in my skin. Also things like people in a spaceship going into a black hole to teleport around the univerise. Now if you want a teleportation device, fine, then make up your own hole but do not twist something that already has a pre-defined meaning.

    So I suggest that you either follow what you read about in the papers and be true to the science (which is, I admit, hard) or make up something else. Now you cannot make up a new sort of anti-matter because there is only matter and anti-matter in the standard model and nothing else, but you could perhaps create a new sort of radiation instead?
     
  8. xMetal

    xMetal Registered User

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    The problem with anti-matter is that it cannot come in contact with ANYTHING, not even one molecule of normal matter without problems. I'm pretty sure that the only way to "contain" it with our science now it to use massive magnetic fields in a vacuum to keep the anti-matter in place.

    If your characters can simply make it, they'll need to do so in a vacuum, otherwise it would destruct before they could do anything with it.

    BUt as others have said, if you want it realistic you are going to need to research scholarly articles.
     
  9. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    Well, if I can't reasonably use antimatter as the dangerous matter the characters, then what would be other dangerous forms of matter that I could use as reference to create the same amount of destruction of a nuclear weapon if not more?

    The point is, what level of dangerousness would this powerful matter created by said mutants have to have to worry humanity?

    As they are the new evolving branch of the human species, humanity as a whole still fear and hate them. I know this follows the xmen theme, but I'm putting my own twist on things here, you'll see when I get it posted.
     
  10. xMetal

    xMetal Registered User

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    Perhaps, if you are getting xmen-ish, you don't need to be quite so stringent on the science.

    Perhaps these folks could have control over things at the molecular level, so they could conceivably make anything into a fission bomb? Or they could generate plasma by exciting any material?
     
  11. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    So then if that could work, reasonably speaking, what would this ability be called? I have no name as of yet, and suggestions are apreciated.

    So, if said characters could control things at the molecular level enough to create fission bombs and plasma, how would I explain how it works? Remember, one of the two who have this power will be captured and studied by humans, so there will need to be a somewhat reasonable way to describe how it occurs.

    Also as far as controling somone potentially this dangerous, what methods would they have to take to subdue him?
     
  12. Konrad

    Konrad Member of Team Kronos

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    You could make it so that the mutants have a huge amount of energy stored in them. They can release that energy how they like, one small bit at the time or it all in one big explosion.
    That way ordinary humans would be tempted to both kill them and use them. For energy or as weapons.
     
  13. xMetal

    xMetal Registered User

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    If I may so humbly suggest, all of these questions are up to YOU! You are the writer after all, and you have all the ideas in your head, so you need to figure it out! :)

    You don't want anonymous people on a messageboard writing your story for you, now do you?
     
  14. Archren

    Archren BookWyrm

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    I would say that anti-matter per se would be unlikely - they'd also need to be able to manipulate magnetic fields like Magneto, and even then they're probably going to blow themselves up before perfecting their control.

    What about a new kind of super-powerful chemical? Something like - they secrete a catalyst that causes water and oxygen to combust in a chain reaction, thus turning all the oceans of the world into a huge explosion.

    Orson Scott Card used a similar device in "Ender's Game," the M.D. that caused all dense matter to explode. A new secreted chemical would be a little more plausible but still could be a world-ending threat.

    Just another suggestion. Good luck!
     
  15. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    I think explaining the details of particle physics is beyond the scope of this board, but I know that MIT has its courses online so you could check that out and teach yourself some basic quantum physics before moving on to leaning something about the standard model, decay, nuclear fusion and fission, anti-matter and all that fun stuff. Trust me, it's cool. I normally loath quantum physics, but this part of it is so much fun.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  16. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    Funny you mentioned that. I have an unfinished short story where anti-matter is contained in a tennis-ball sized vacuum. When someone wants to "unleash" it, they just bounce it off the ground - like a ball.

    Was kinda stuck on the science-side of this myself, hence the unfinished story. :D
     
  17. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    I read a scifi story once where this man builds an empire after discovering a stable form of antimatter he called antimatter2 (or am2 for short). To make AM2 safe for transport, it's coated with in imperilium, a magnetic alloy he spent a year working on.

    For AM2 to be usable, you have to burn a hole in the imperilium with a laser.

    What you want isn't so much antimatter but something exotic that reacts powerfully, like a supercharged plasma.

    As to what would be enough to scare people about them, it's the first time someone showing off makes a mistake and takes out a building - or a city block.

    Or proves they can read the mind of a politician.
     
  18. Konrad

    Konrad Member of Team Kronos

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    But wouldn't a creature capable of dealing with am and such be in terrible danger when the thing explodes.

    And Expendable why you are surely not expendable. :D
     
  19. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    It should be, yes.

    I'm not me? I'm sure I am Expendable.
     
  20. MrBF1V3

    MrBF1V3 aka. Stephen B5 Jones

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    Hey Ex, I don't think I've seen you around for a while, nice to hear from you again.

    Um ... is it possible to read the mind of a politician?

    There will always be people intent on pushing the limits, even if it means dealing with substances which could possibly destroy poeple, houses, or even cities. Sometimes there are people involved who are smart enough to know how dangerous it is, and figure out a way to control those dangers.

    And sometimes it's the undiscovered side effects that take you out.

    I recall reading about an early A-bomb test, some of the most intelligent people on the planet sat on top of an air craft carrier to watch the test. They felt the heat "like an oven door being opened" from the radiation.

    Just a thought.

    B5