As I sit at my console inputting the coordinates to my next mission, I find myself thinking about the nature of the universe once again. Currently, there are two complementary theories of physics. Relativity (theory) describes how physics works on a large scale. Quantum mechanics describes physics at the atomic and subatomic scale. Though physicists use both theories to understand the universe, a grand unifying theory that ties both theories together remains elusive.
Before delving into this a bit more, I think it’s important to know what could be gained by further understanding physics. Understanding the law of motions and gravity led to the industrial revolution. Exploring electromagnetism led to the ability to manipulate electricity and magnets in a way that allows many of our current technologies to function. Learning about the nuclear, weak and strong forces gave us an understanding of how to channel the immense power of atomic energy. A grand unified theory of physics could revolutionize our technology and enable the next era of humanity.
String theory is one attempt at creating a unifying theory of physics. String theory states that individual points of atoms are connected. It thinks of electrons like rubber bands, tiny vibrating strings, with an infinite number of vibrations… And when you look at subatomic particles they sure do look that way under a microscope. At least thus far, the theory hasn’t been experimentally proven though the math checks out. Different atomic particles can be thought of as different strings.
A game changer would entail being able to manipulate particles to do what we wanted them to do. Right now, controlling subatomic particles seems rather difficult if impossible because the position and momentum of particles are hard to predict because they’re so small and seemingly random. (The uncertainty principle). Additionally, entropy indicates that randomness and heat loss will result when trying to control molecular motion. How then can particles and energy be controlled more orderly and what would that result in?
One theory to controlling subatomic particles I have would be to try to implement harmonics in a manner that could alter the flow of particles. Electrons vibrating differently turn into different particles. Perhaps magnetism and/or gravity would be used in a rhythmic manner to allow particles to flow and have more predictability. “Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.”¹ The result of being able to alter the vibration of particles would lead to programmable matter and possibly even altering matter.
Imagine having a bunch of junk and reordering the matter into useful raw materials or even adding it to other matter to create something useful. Modifying matter would require a great deal of energy and could be dangerous as some heat would inevitably dissipate… Possibly an uncontrolled reaction. Ideally, the tech would use that dissipating energy to power the conversion.
I guess the closest science fiction analogy to this would be the Star Trek replicator except it would be able to be pointed at something and change its physical properties so it seems like it would be even better than a replicator. Being able to reorder matter into whatever we needed to be could eliminate scarcity. Once our needs are taken care of, things like original music, writing and art would be highly valued. A new era of creativity could possibly take place or people are doing things that they always wanted to instead of trying to simply sustain, they could thrive.