On the periphery of participating in the scientific revolution

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

There’s an age-old story about Albert Einstein that discusses his experience when he was young and in school and asked a teacher about how light could be viewed as both a particle and as a wave. The teacher remarked that obviously he had much more to learn as light was ONLY a wave, and once he learned that he would be able to understand the nature of that particular issue in science. Einstein spent his early adult years proving the teacher wrong and that light could be both a particle and a wave. It kind of changed science forever. Kind of cool.

When I was in grade school, I remember a similar kind of situation when I was first taking physics. And strangely enough, it involved the nature of light. The topic was about the scientific speed limit (the speed of light) and how nothing could go the speed of light, and that all attempts to achieve the speed of light would forever fail. I asked about light itself, indicating that obviously IT could go the speed of light because it was, in fact, light. Therefore, as it was a substance (specifically a particle, according to Einstein nearly eighty years before), then that meant a substance could achieve the speed of light. As scientists would eventually start to realize, light doesn’t approach the speed of light. It IS light and thus, always travels at the speed of light.

And then in the 1970s, there was a huge breakthrough in the concept of antimatter and tachyon particles. Antimatter, for clarification, is anything that is the opposite state of matter, meaning it has the same mass as matter but is in an opposite charge to that of matter. Antimatter particles (referred to as antiparticles) combine to create antimatter just as Matter particles combine to create particles. Tachyons, for those not familiar, are particles that move at speeds above the speed of light, which according to some mathematics I was playing around with at the time, I determined could not reach the speed of light from the opposite direction (the negatives proving to be the same opposite problem from the opposite side).

During this questioning period I was undergoing, I started to believe that I understood what tachyons really were and conjectured that what we know in our universe consists of matter that is incapable of achieving the speed of light. Therefore, in an antimatter universe, the antiparticles would consist of tachyons that would travel above the speed of light, but never be able to reach the speed of light from the other direction. It seemed pretty simple to me. The only thing missing was the simplicity of “where is it then?” We know where matter is because we see it, but we don’t know where antimatter is because we don’t see it long enough to determine that it’s really there (or are capable of stabilizing it before it dissipates in our own universe). This led me to believe that perhaps there’s a buffer substance between the two types of matter (positive and negative). And a simple matter of deduction gave me the theory that, unfortunately, I’ve never been able to completely disprove.

And that’s the Theory of Neutramatter. Neutramatter is a buffer substance that you would need to separate both matter and antimatter, which by simple definition would have to separate particles going below and above the speed of light. It almost seemed too simple because the substance that would need to separate the two universes is the most obvious substance known to man, and that’s light. As we know, light travels at the speed of light (which is kind of duh realization), which then indicates that as it is the buffer substance, the one thing that separates the two universes is the presence of light.

And as we know that light consists of more than just the visible spectrum, there are all sorts of properties that make up the wavelength frequencies that would separate this light across its spectrum, and thus, keep both matter and antimatter from ever crossing into each other’s specific realms.

The strange thing is: I was watching the latest episode of Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson last night (taped from the night before that), and the focus was on the properties of light. It reminded me completely of this theory I had so long ago, and it almost seemed like the science of that show was about to make the, well, quantum leap to the theory itself, as it still seems to fill in the gaps that we still have. A couple of the questions that Tyson brought up (that mankind still has) fit directly into that theory.

It kind of makes me wish I would stuck it out with physics and continued on that path. I still believe there’s something to it, but when I was proposing it back then, string theory was the new kid on the block, and no one really cared about light at the time. I still think there’s something there, but today I’m a novelist who does nothing in science (aside from science fiction). And I wonder if I completely missed my calling.

duaneOn the periphery of participating in the scientific revolution

One Comment on ““On the periphery of participating in the scientific revolution”

  1. Jason

    Alas, Neutramatter got stolen from you and was eventually branded as Neutrasweet. 🙂

    These what-if scenarios are fascinating, aren’t they? Just don’t spend too much time looking backward in time … or Superman will have to rotate the planet backward again.

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