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

"It was [H.G. Wells'] adolescent fiction, his imaginative stories, that live forever - and yet are not acknowledged in literature classes as being great literature. So to hell with the academics!"
- Greg Bear

Slow Glass (Scenedow)  
  A window made of Bose-Einstein Condensate that slows light to a snail's pace.  

A man and his wife go looking for a good deal on a woodlands "scenedow" for their apartment.

The most important effect, in the eyes of the average individual, was that light took a long time to pass through a sheet of slow glass. A new piece was always jet black because nothing had yet come through, but one could stand the glass beside, say, a woodland lake until the scene emerged, perhaps a year later. If the glass was then removed and installed in a dismal city flat, the flat would—for that year—appear to overlook the woodland lake.
From Light of Other Days, by Bob Shaw.
Published by Analog in 1968
Additional resources -

A piece of exposed slow glass was called a "scenedow:"

Apart from its stupendous novelty value, the commercial success of slow glass was founded on the fact that having a scenedow was the exact emotional equivalent of owning land. The meanest cave dweller could look out on misty parks—and who was to say they weren't his? A man who really owns tailored gardens and estates doesn't spend his time proving his ownership by crawling on his ground, feeling, smelling, tasting it. All he receives from the land are light patterns, and with scenedows those patterns could be taken into coal mines, submarines, prison cells.
This story anticipates the successful creation of Bose-Einstein condensates in 1995. A dilute vapor consisting of approximately 2000 rubidium-87 atoms was cooled to one twenty-billionth Kelvin (not degrees Kelvin - see minor note comments).

Bose-Einstein condensates are created when atoms are cooled to absolute zero; the atoms collapse into the lowest quantum state, producing a superfluid. Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein worked out the details in the 1920's. The unusual optical properties of BECs were predicted at that time.

Bose-Einstein condensates have optical densities such that the speed of light passing through the mass is extremely low - walking speed as opposed to its usual 186,000 miles per second.

This idea was used prior to Shaw's story; see the slow glass rod from The Exhalted, a 1940 short story by L. Sprague de Camp.

If you're interested in making light do tricks, check out NYC Heliostats and Star Wars Orbital Mirrors.

See the "Slow Glass-related news items" below for real-world applications.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 7 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Light of Other Days
  More Ideas and Technology by Bob Shaw
  Tech news articles related to Light of Other Days
  Tech news articles related to works by Bob Shaw

Slow Glass (Scenedow)-related news articles:
  - Light Captured In A Crystal
  - Slow Light 'Scenedow' Close At Hand
  - eBayaday Sells A View On eBay

Articles related to Material
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.