Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Hawking , Stephen and Krauss, Lawrence (2007-07-10), The Physics of Star Trek, Basic Books (AZ), Retrieved on 2012-03-22
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: games

    Memes

    22 MAR 2012

     The Marriage of Space and Time

    The marriage of space and time that heralded the modern era began with the marriage, in 1864, of electricity and magnetism. This remarkable intellectual achievement, based on the cumulative efforts of great physicists such as AndrŽ-Marie Amp�re, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, and Michael Faraday, was capped by the brilliant British physicist James Clerk Maxwell. He discovered that the laws of electricity and magnetism not only displayed an intimate relationship with one another but together ...
      1  notes

    Occurred when the relationship between electricity and magnetism was discovered.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Picard Maneuver

    Speaking of time, I think it is time to introduce the Picard Maneuver. Jean-Luc became famous for introducing this tactic while stationed aboard the Stargazer. Even though it involves warp travel, or super light speed, which I have argued is impossible in the context of special relativity alone, it does so for just an instant and it fits in nicely with the discussions here. In the Picard Maneuver, in order to confuse an attacking enemy vessel, one's own ship is accelerated to warp speed for a...
      1  notes

    The captain of the Enterprise has the ship travel faster than light, leaving an image of itself traveling at the speed of light from its previous location; meaning Star Trek's universe would be filled with such apparitions.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Enterprise's Impulse Drive

    Moving back to the sub-light-speed world: We are not through with Einstein yet. His famous relation between mass and energy, E=mc 2 , which is a consequence of special relativity, presents a further challenge to space travel at impulse speeds. As I have described it in chapter 1, a rocket is a device that propels material backward in order to move forward. As you might imagine, the faster the material is propelled backward, the larger will be the forward impulse the rocket will receive. Mater...
      1  notes

    The ship uses hydrogen fusion to propel helium atoms at near the speed of light, but this hypothetical form of propulsion would require incredible amounts of hydrogen to work.

    22 MAR 2012

     Production Costs for Antimatter

    Fermilab produces antiprotons in medium-energy collisions of protons with a lithium target. Every now and then these collisions will produce an antiproton, which is then directed into the storage ring beneath the buffalo. When operating at average efficiency, Fermilab can produce about 50 billion antiprotons an hour in this way. Assuming that the Antiproton Source is operating about 75 percent of the time throughout the year, this is about 6000 hours of operation per year, so Fermilab produce...
      1  notes

    Fermilab produces antiprotons in atomic collisions, here's how many and how much it costs to produce them.

    22 MAR 2012

     What are Dilithium Crystals

    Finally, the Star Trek writers added one more crucial component to the matter-antimatter drive. I refer to the famous dilithium crystals (coincidentally invented by the Star Trek writers long before the Fer-milab engineers decided upon a lithium target in their Antiproton Source). ...What do these remarkable figments of the Star Trek writers' imaginations do? These crystals (known also by their longer formula 26 dilithium 21 diallosilicate 1:9:1 heptoferranide) can regulate the matter-antima...
      1  notes

    The molecular composition and purpose of the Star Trek invention in space travel.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Borg and Ants

    "Restless aggression, territorial conquest, and genocidal annihilation ... whenever possible.... The colony is integrated as though it were in fact one organism ruled by a genome that constrains behavior as it also enables it.... The physical superorganism acts to adjust the demographic mix so as to optimize its energy economy.... The austere rules allow of no play, no art, no empathy." The Borg are among the most frightening, and intriguing, species of alien creature ever portrayed on the t...
      1  notes

    Krauss presents a quote about E.O.Wilson's book on ants and how it works perfectly to describe the Borg in Star Trek.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Flat Universe Problem

    The next obvious feature of the universe in which we live is that it is old, very old. It took intelligent life about 3.5 billion years to develop on Earth. Hence, our existence requires a universe that accommodated our arrival by lasting billions of years. The current best estimate for the age of our universe is between about 10 billion and 20 billion years, which is plenty long enough. It turns out, however, that it is not so easy a priori to design a universe that expands, as our universe ...
      1  notes

    Our Universe is remarkably well tuned, and appears to have laws in place to keep it that way.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Supernova the Western World Didn't See

    Almost 1000 years ago, Chinese astronomers observed a new star visible in the daytime sky, which they called a “guest star.” This supernova created what we now observe telescopically as the Crab Nebula. It is interesting that nowhere in Western Europe was this transient object recorded. Church dogma at the time declared the heavens to be eternal and unchanging, and it was much easier not to take notice than to be burned at the stake. Almost 500 years later, European astronomers had broken...
      1  notes

    But was recorded in China. An explanation for why it wasn't seen in Europe is that observers would probably be burned at the stake.

    22 MAR 2012

     1420 megahertz

    In the Next Generation episode “Galaxy's Child,” the Enterprise stumbles upon an alien life-form that lives in empty space, feeding on energy. Particularly tasty is radiation with a very specific frequency 1420 million cycles per second, having a wavelength of 21 cm. In the spirit of Pythagoras, if there were a Music of the Spheres, surely this would be its opening tone. Fourteen hundred and twenty megahertz is the natural frequency of precession of the spin of an electron as it encircle...
      1  notes

    The natural frequency of precession of the spin of an electron as it encircles the atomic nucleus of hydrogen, it is the tone of the universe.

    22 MAR 2012

     Pauli Exclusion Principle

    In the three-dimensional space in which we live, elementary particles are designated as fermions and bosons, depending on their spin. We associate with each variety of elementary particle a quantum number, which gives the value of its spin. This number can be an integer (0,1, 2,... ) or a half integer (1/2, 3/2, 5/2,...). Particles with integer spin are called bosons, and particles with half integer spin are called fermions. The quantum mechanical behavior of fermions and bosons is different:...
    Folksonomies: physics quantum physics
    Folksonomies: physics quantum physics
      1  notes

    Two identical fermions cannot occupy the same quantum mechanical state.

    22 MAR 2012

     Neutrinos

    Neutrinos were first predicted to exist as the result of a puzzle related to the decay of neutrons. While neutrons are stable inside atomic nuclei, free neutrons are observed to decay, in an average time of about 10 minutes, into protons and electrons. The electric charge works out fine, because a neutron is electrically neutral, while a proton has a positive charge and an electron an equal and opposite negative charge. The mass of a proton plus an electron is almost as much as the mass of a ...
      1  notes

    An explanation of a fascinating particle that is the byproduct of the production of proton and electrons.

    22 MAR 2012

     The Bell Jar

    A famous experiment in high school physics involves putting an electric buzzer in a bell jar, a glass container from which the air can be removed by a pump. When the air is removed, the sound of the buzzer disappears. As early as the seventeenth century, it was recognized that sound needed some medium to travel in. In a vacuum, such as exists inside the bell jar, there is nothing to carry the sound waves, so you don't hear the buzzer inside. To be more specific, sound is a pressure wave, or d...
      1  notes

    A jar with a buzzer placed inside it from which the air is pumped out, eliminating the sound.

    22 MAR 2012

     Decibel Scale is Logarithmic, Like the Richter Scale

    In fact, a physics colleague, Mark Srednicki of U.C. Santa Barbara, brought to my attention a much greater gaffe in one episode, in which sound waves are used as a weapon against an orbiting ship. As if that weren't bad enough, the sound waves are said to reach “18 to the 12th power decibels.” What makes this particularly grate on the ear of a physicist is that the decibel scale is a logarithmic scale, like the Richter scale. This means that the number of decibels already represents a pow...
      1  notes

    Krauss describing a particularly egregious science-blunder in an episode of Star Trek.

    22 MAR 2012

     Science Fiction and Science as a Two-Way Street

    Science fiction like Star Trek is not only good fun but it also serves a serious purpose, that of expanding the human imagination. We may not yet be able to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before, but at least we can do it in the mind. We can explore how the human spirit might respond to future developments in science and we can speculate on what those developments might be. There is a two-way trade between science fiction and science. Science fiction suggests ideas that scientists...
    Folksonomies: science science fiction sf
    Folksonomies: science science fiction sf
      1  notes

    Hawking observes that SF inspires science, but science often turns up things that are stranger than fiction.

    22 MAR 2012

     Metaphor for the Uncertainty Principle

    There is a slightly flawed yet very satisfying physical argument that gives some heuristic understanding of the uncertainty principle. Quantum mechanics endows all particles with a wavelike behavior, and waves have one striking property: they are disturbed only when they encounter objects larger than their wavelength (the distance between successive crests). You have only to observe water waves in the ocean to see this behavior explicitly. A pebble protruding from the surface of the water wil...
      2  notes

    Krauss explains the principle using waves.