Blog

Hard science can be a bitch…

Trying to root the science bits of a science fiction book in fact, current theory, and realism is a bit of a bitch to say the least. Not only can the calculations be time consuming in some cases, but sometimes there just isn’t an easily available answer to a question you’ve come up with.

My recent foray into the world of electromagnetism, and more specifically the Takeyama electromagnetic coil experiment, has given me a question for which I can’t seem to find an answer. I’m wondering whether scaling that experiment up from its current maximum (1200T) to the Schwinger limit (4.4×10^9T) will induce a visible effect in an imperfect vacuum (ie; inner solar system outer space with a hydrogen density of several atoms per square meter). Nobody seems to know, there doesn’t seem to be a way to figure it out on my own without some guidance, and everyone I’ve emailed politely to try and get an answer has either not had the time or not had the inclination to respond. I’m on the brink of making up the answer based on logic, which – with my luck – will net a wrong answer.

Lame.

It does, however, give me a reason to go a little more speculative in future books. Maybe I’m limiting myself a little too much. Maybe being a little more like Peter F. Hamilton than James S.A. Corey might do me well. Maybe only time will tell.

For now, though… I think it’s back to gathering information. If I need to make a logic decision instead of getting a real answer, I might as well get as many of the relevant facts as I possibly can.