Dark Matter, Alternate Universes, and a Story Idea

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on January 22, 2014 in Large Hadron Collider, Nature, Physics, Technology, Writing |

I haven’t had a science update lately, mostly because my favorite science project the Large Hadron Collider is on hiatus. It’s being upgraded to increase its power so it can smash teeny, tiny particles even faster and harder. Scientists are hoping to unlock the secrets of dark matter.

Dark matter is thought to make up a large part of the universe, but so little is known about it. Thinking about the universe and great mysteries like dark matter get my creative juices flowing. One of my favorite science programs is Discovery Channel’sΒ How the Universe Works.Β It kind of make my head hurts because the theories and science discussed are so mind-blowing in both concept and scope, but boy it’s so exciting to think about the universe.

I took physics classes in high school and college and found them, frankly, boring. Nothing we discussed ignited any sense of excitement. I get that you have to learn the basics to better understand the bigger concepts that theoretical and astrophysicists study, but I wish those basic physics classes had at least sparked some interest in learning more. And they just didn’t do that. It wasn’t until I was an adult, long out of school, that my own curiosity lead me to a passion for learning about the universe.

I hope to one day use a fictional story to meld my passion for writing and creating worlds and characters and my excitement over the universe. It’s been percolating for some time now and I think I have a premise and a main character. But I need to finish up a couple of other projects first and school myself more on the scientific concepts I’ll need to know to make the story authentic. Anyone want to give me a crash course? πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with this little gem of an article called “Quantum Theory Proves That Consciousness Moves to Another Universe After Death.”Β It definitely sounds science-fictiony, but it’s one of those ideas that I love reading about, if only to make my head spin a little with both excitement and confusion.

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  • Meradeth says:

    You so totally need to write something on this! And I have a physicist in residence if you ever have any questions πŸ˜‰ Also, totally understand how college classes don’t spark interest in the cooler side of the field–I hate that! Something I’m always trying to avoid when I teach, because it definitely detracts from student interest (and performance for some students…).

    • Oh, I don’t think my brain will let me get away with not writing about this! Thanks for the offer on the physicist in residence. πŸ™‚ I think if I had been shown how learning the basics of physics could lead to learning about some of the more advanced (and super cool) stuff, I might have been more into it. I bet you do a great job of engaging your students, Meradeth! You always sound so passionate about your work.

  • Loren says:

    Whoa, this post has just worked out a part of my brain that has been dormant for a long time. I hope to learn more, subconsciously, from your book!

  • Mirka Breen says:

    Dark Matter… even the words are evocative. But of what?
    I hope someday to have an intuitive notion about it that doesn’t send me into panic-mode πŸ˜‰

    • So true about the way Dark Matter sounds. Could be a good book title. It’s such heady stuff, and even the smartest people in the world don’t know what it is really. It gives me a sense of awe with just a tinge of fear in it!

  • Very thought-provoking, Katie. I love the idea of the consciousness existing outside the physical body, as well as the theory of parallel universes. I look forward to your science-inspired fiction.

    • Thanks, Heather! I’ve always thought the idea of parallel universes to be so interesting. And I truly believe that a scientific explanation of an after-life doesn’t necessarily have to conflict with a spiritual or religious idea of one.

  • Dark matter and alternate universes are both interesting topics, which is why I’ve used both in stories. In “Beverly Bronte Space Chick,” published last November by Muse, a couple of chapters have Beverly dealing with a large body of dark-matter which threatens to destroy the Earth. “Cop with a Wand” and “Ten Years,” both from Muse, and “The Ultimate Magick,” coming out from another publisher this Friday, all deal with aspects of alternate universes. This stuff is fun to write about!

    • Hi, James! Your books sound really interesting. I haven’t really written anything with dark matter or alternate universes in them before. The book that’s percolating in my mind seems like it’s going to be more an internal journey that also has some interesting science stuff going on in the periphery. I guess we’ll see when I start writing it. πŸ˜‰

  • Can’t wait to see what ideas are inspired here!! πŸ™‚

  • Jeff Chapman says:

    Cool stuff. Thanks for the article link. We’ve been watching the “Making Stuff…” series on Nova this summer. It covers the application of cutting edge theories and discoveries to technology that might be used in the near future. Lots of fascinating devices and possibilities to get your scifi mind cooking.

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