Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Retire? Yeah, I want to die with my head in the typewriter. That's my idea of retirement."
- Alfred Bester

Antron  
  A single particle of antimatter - an antiproton.  

This is an early science fiction story about antimatter* - the story calls it "minus elements". It opens with an unusual object seen at great distance from the Earth, and subsequently investigated:

A week later the rocket was circling cautiously around the unknown body. It was about the size of the Moon, but little could be seen of its surface, which appeared to be under a continuous bombardment with some immensely high explosive. The flashes from the explosions, consisting mainly of cosmic, gammas, and UV's, were evidently the source of the light which load puzzled the observers. Carter and Poggenpohl crouched behind their lead-glass screens and watched.
“Looks like a flourescent screen being bombarded by electrons, Jimmy. Somewhat larger scale, though. More bombardment on the forward side, too."
“Yes, there is. It looks as though it were sweeping a path through space as it approaches the Earth. Man that gun, will you, please, and fire a solid shot at it when we go around the rear of it again ?''
“O. K. Don’t see what you’re driving at, though. Do you expect a bell to ring, like in a shooting gallery? I'll signal when I fire, and aim directly at the center when we’re exactly behind it.”
The minute went by, then, “Ready — fired! Watch for it!"
There was no need to watch. Twenty minutes later, when the hundred-pound piece of steel hit the surface of the wandering planet, there was a tremendous flash, dwarfing those which had been observed.

Keep in mind that this was written in 1937, and the description of antimatter is not accurate.

(* See also The Great Thirst, a 1934 story by the great Nat Schachner; see positron beam. Take a look at The Roaring Blot, by Frank Belknap Long and published in 1936. It doesn't mention particle-antiparticle annihilation, but it directly references P.A.M. Dirac's work.)

"You remember, when we first saw this thing, I put you through a quiz on matter? I had a hunch then, and I've proved it. You described the sort of matter with which we are familiar. Look here. You said that matter was made up of neutrons and positrons, in the last analysis, in the nuclei, and of electrons on the outside. Well, there is another sort of matter possible. What is to prevent an electron from combining closely with a neutron, and forming a negative proton? The possibility was mentioned way back in 1934, and I think the old boy even gave his hypothetical particle a name—an 'antron,' I think he called it. Now take some of these antrons, and some extra neutrons, and make a nucleus out of them, and then release enough positrons on the outside to balance the antrons. And one has an atom with a negative atomic number, since the atomic number of an atom, of course, is the number of positive charges on the nucleus.

"And now one makes a whole universe with these minus elements. And one makes oneself out of them, too, and lives in the place, and can't tell the difference between it and a regular universe. All the physical laws will be the same—but just wait until part of your new universe hits part of a regular universe! Figure it out. What do you think will happen?"

"Uh—let's see. First the outer electrons in our matter will neutralize the outer positrons in the reverse matter—and there'll be a hell of a lot of light or other radiation—UV, gamma, cosmic and what not. Then the nuclei will get together. Nothing will happen to either set of neutrons. But the positrons on the protons will neutralize the electrons on the antrons, and there'll be another burst of radiation and a lot of neutrons left over. So the net result will be a mob of neutrons and a flock of radiation. What do you think? Is that thing out there"—he gestured toward the anomalous planet they were leaving behind—"out of a reverse universe?"

Technovelgy from Minus Planet, by John D. Clark, Ph.D.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1937
Additional resources -

The positron was predicted by Dirac; the positron or anti-electron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron.

Carl D. Anderson was the first scientist to report a sighting of the positron in a cloud chamber [2]. A rather young physicist working at Caltech, Anderson was analyzing cosmic ray tracks when he came upon something peculiar. He noticed that one particle seemed to make precisely the track of an electron, but its path curvature suggested that it had a positive charge. It quickly became obvious to him that this particle was indeed the positron predicted by Dirac's calculations. He published his results, and was actually the man who coined the name “positron”.

See also contraterrene matter from Collision Orbit (1942) by Jack Williamson.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Minus Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by John D. Clark, Ph.D
  Tech news articles related to Minus Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by John D. Clark, Ph.D

Articles related to Material
GNoME AI From DeepMind Invents Millions Of New Materials
Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
Do We Still Need Orbiting Factories?

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.