Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Timeline by Michael Chricton

This Sunday was gloriously lazy. We had the final day of Children's Church for the year and I got to give the kids their prezzies and load them up on sugar as we made gorgeous cookies for the congregation (that became decorated by M&Ms and jelly snakes into smiley faces and mutated Kthuluesque creatures). I went to see King Kong with James and hang out talking for a while afterwards which was nice. Then I got to lie in the sun and combine two particular interests of mind - medieval western European history and quantum mechanics. The nice thing about Michael C. is that he always researches things so well, includes a full bibliography and even when he's stretching science the base is correct and the rest can't help but seem plausible if we could only harness the technology to do so.

The start explains (with diagrams) quite excellently the changing scientific ideas of light being a particle beam, then a wave, and then both. Sridat tried to explain it to me over dinner one night, and also Schrödinger's Cat, but I think I found this clearer (again, the diagrams really do help). Michael then suggests that if there is nothing in our dimension affecting the single photons being shot against the far wall, yet they are moved out of a beam function and intoa wave pattern, then it must be something in an alternate reality. This then gets combined with the idea of an infinite number of parallel universes that are, at any given moment, experiencing any and all moments in time ~ then the quantum particles in the universes most closely parallelling ours could stimulate those exisiting in our perception of reality. This then gets tied in with quantum computing, foam space, wormholes etc... and our heroes end up in fourteenth century France. Interestingly, the book in many ways is substantially different to the movie although I still enjoyed how the movie tured out.


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