1. LetaDarnell
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    LetaDarnell Member

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    Good ol' atoms

    Discussion in 'Research' started by LetaDarnell, Dec 9, 2014.

    I have no idea how to research this. I'm not even sure if I could find a book that actually addressed this exact problem while being WAY above my understanding.

    I have people who have the magical ability to adjust the space between atoms and the space between the parts that make up atoms (proton, neutrons, electrons).

    I can look up a lot of resources dedicated to how this works on an astronomical scale. But I have no idea what would happen on a scale of say, five air atoms (nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, each say*).

    Anyone have an idea where to look this up, or, heck, know this and can tell me?

    *I know air isn't made up of all those equally
     
  2. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Check first whether you mean atoms or molecules. Do you mean the space between atoms or the space between molecules ?
     
  3. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have any idea, regarding sources.

    Also, I don't exactly understand what your looking to have answered in these resources? As in: What would be the consequences of adjusting the space within and around atoms? If so, if your changing the space within the atom, then, likely, you would destroy the atom. Changing the space around/between? Well, that depends on the atmosphere and surrounding objects. (Don't really know why I'm even speaking on this part, as I don't really know.)

    Also, does this magic need to be explained, or are you simply curious? I don't know what the applications of this magic are, but as long as it fits on the macro level and doesn't raise questions, this micro aspect could be disregarded. Again, I don't know what you're going for here.
     
  4. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Less air, i.e. greater altitude, more space between molecules. No magic required. Compressed air, less space. Your just changing density.
    As for adjusting where an electron orbital is. I can't remember my chemistry to well, but electrons like to orbit in specific valences. And they are very particular exactly where that is.
     
  5. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    This is why I asked the Q about atoms or molecules .. When there is more space between the atoms of Oxygen (x2) and Hydrogen (x1) within water, then water becomes vapour and with more space will split into individual atoms .. depending on other circumstances.

    If you mean the space between atoms within Oxygen ? Space between the two oxygen atoms ? Then the oxygen gas will become less dense.

    If it is distance INSIDE the single atom of, say, Oxygen ? the you are saying that the electrons spin around the nucleus at a closer range ? This would have require a completely changed core group of universal constants and the result would pervade everything in 'that' universe .. Everything would be more dense for a start .. and only a genius mathematician could tell you what other knockon effects migt occur.

    What I don't understand is this "I have people who have the magical ability to adjust the space between atoms and the space between the parts that make up atoms (proton, neutrons, electrons).

    How would you have people able to do this .. without knowing what it would do ?
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    He would be talking about atoms. Elements are single atoms with different numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons.
    A molecule can be a single atom or a grouping of atoms.

    Oxygen atom, also an oxygen molecule:
    [​IMG]

    O2 Molecule:
    [​IMG]

    Tell me again what you are looking for, this doesn't quite explain what you are trying to do:
    Perhaps if you explain what the outcome is their magic results in.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're going to have to deal with more than just changes in density. Inside the atom, you're dealing with the strong nuclear force. Also, as electrons move to lower energy states (i.e. are demoted), they give off energy. Seems to fooling around with the space between individual components of an atom could have some serious consequences.
     
  8. LetaDarnell
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    LetaDarnell Member

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    Exactly.

    The first thing I figured would happen if the space between an electron and a neutron (and there's a lot--if you're the size of an electron) would be energy. I just wasn't sure in the form of what (or what first--radiation, light, heat etc).

    That's kind of what I'm trying to figure out. Recently I read someone explaining in their story 'I know nothing about gravity. So I figured that's be a great excuse to give someone gravity powers and do whatever the heck they wanted with it.' I don't want to be that guy.

    What happens when someone looks at this


    [​IMG]
    And then says 'there's so much space between that proton and electron. Let's move them closer together.' or 'Look how close those are, all smushed together like that. Let's give them both some room'?
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You are asking what would happen about something that doesn't happen. You have a lot of self educating to do. Perhaps you might want to start here:
    Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

    First, electrons don't really orbit the way they are depicted in models. Rather they are located in 'shells' around the nucleus and the probability of their locations as they move gives us what the shell's shape is.

    Besides the nature of the electron locations, there are some other aspects of quantum mechanics that don't exactly fit with our common sense realities:
    Like @Steerpike said, when an electron moves to the next shell it either takes a quantum (a threshold level) of energy to move further away from the nucleus, or it gives off a quantum of energy when it moves closer to the nucleus. That energy is in the form of a photon.
    Photons have different amounts of energy depending on their frequency:
    Anyway, you need to start by teaching yourself the basics.
     
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  10. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    I don't wish to sound negative toward the OP .. because I enjoy coming here for help too :) But it seems to me to be very much a case of cart before horse here.
    The OP appears to have pounced on this 'idea' of "the magical ability to adjust the space between atoms and the space between the parts that make up atoms" without knowing why or what for.
     
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  11. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I too don't mean to put the OP's idea down here, but, so few people have even a basic understanding of electron movement from one orbital to another, and why it takes energy or why they give out energy depending on the direction of movement, that to change these constants would mean nothing to most people, including me.
     
  12. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Actually something just occurred to me that I mentioned in this forum a while back on the same kind of topic.
    Asimov wrote what I personally view as one of the most imaginative and innovative pieces of SF ever,using a topic somewhat similar to this - "The Gods Themselves". Well worth checking out imho.
     
  13. Shrubs
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    Shrubs Member

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    Researching quantum mechanics is a must when talking about subatomic paricles. Those representations of atoms are simplifications of what is actually going on... an electron does NOT move around the center of an atom like a planet around the sun. It's unpredictable. I would advise researching quantum mechanics and the double slit experiment for inspiration but changing where an electron is within its orbital ain't gon' do squat... they do that on their own because they're particles that act like waves but in an orbital they act like a density. From my limited understanding they are all three, particles, waves and densities, at the same time but can be none of the three as well and just pop out of existence (quantum tunnelling? I think that's what it's called). When dealing with subatomic particles you have to forget classical physics. It's like a whole different universe when you hit the subatomic level

    Resources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics
    Wiki on quantum mechanics

    Video that I first learned about the double slit experiment

    I would also recommend looking up lectures from Lawrence Krauss for any sort of physics related topics.
    P.S. quantum computers are a thing that you might want to research as well. Real quantum computers though, not the ones that people have made already, those are just powerful computers.
    P.P.S. I wrote this whole thing out not realising that someone has talked about quantum mechanics already... Oh well I'm posting it anyway!
     
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  14. AJC
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    AJC Active Member

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    In my opinion, you shouldn't try to explain this because the "space" between particles is still a very active area of research. There's no agreement in the scientific community. It would also depend on whether you're talking about solids, gases, or something else entirely. Furthermore, particles aren't hard spheres in real life, though this is how most people think of them. They're just modeled that way for simplicity. Trying to push particles together or pull them apart is more complicated than the picture you've shown. You mentioned magical abilities, which leads me to believe that you are writing fantasy, not science fiction. If that's the case, I don't see the need to explain the abilities themselves.
     
  15. LetaDarnell
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    LetaDarnell Member

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    You made more sense, so I'm quoting you.

    I can't find the picture at the moment (I really wanted to ever since I made this thread and I'm still looking for it). It's pretty much just an example of the millions of different orbits an electron can take, making knowing where it is impossible.

    I've actually taken some very basic quantum physics, and this power was inspired by a teacher of mine. I asked him what would happen and he said 'well, that's star or bigger'. I asked what would happen on much smaller scales, from single atoms to a 'ball' of a substance the size of a fist. He said he didn't know, but if anyone built a particle accelerator they'd know. I've been trying to keep up with news about the Hadron Particle Accelerator, and yes, they'd even created black hole the size of a few atoms. The article didn't mention anything about it, nor could I get anything from the forums other than 'it didn't last a second'.

    I don't think a black hole would do the same thing on such a vastly different scale than a stable one, but I'm not sure.
     
  16. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    In my view you are ploughing a mistaken furrow, and your accumulated knowledge to date is so deeply flawed that I would try another plot if I were you.
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I have to agree with AJC. It seems like you don't have a very good explanation for the magical device you're using, so it's best to just leave out the details.
     
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  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This is not how electron orbits are described in the models. Electron orbits are described as shells and the electron's location is based on probability, not based on the possible orbit.

    This 10 minute video is useful, as are other videos on the guy's blog.

     
  19. Shrubs
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    Shrubs Member

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    I wish I was more knowledgeable in the subject so I could help out a bit more but I'm not sure what else to say... the only thing I can think of is instead of messing with subatomic particles mess with intermolecular forces. I had the thought about this a while ago. Other than that if you decide to do further research into quantum mechanics and orbitals it might be interesting to note how photosynthesis uses photons from light to excite electrons in pigment molecules to new orbitals. If you want info on intermolecular forces I'll be able to help but otherwise I can't think of anything else sorry.
     
  20. LetaDarnell
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    LetaDarnell Member

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    Cool. Thanks for that.

    I'm thinking of moving to molecular stuff. I gotta rethink how to address it in a thread.
     
  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You have to ask yourself whether learning all this stuff is actually worth the reward. From what you've posted so far, it doesn't seem worth the effort. Even if you did somehow manage to explain it to the reader's satisfaction, there are still several questions you would need to address. How does this ability benefit anyone? In my mind, it's far more beneficial to be able to manipulate large objects. Also, how would someone be able to tell whether they succeeded in pushing two atoms closer together? That's not something that can be easily observed.
     
  22. Shrubs
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    Shrubs Member

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    Looking at working with something broader in chemistry that we have more information on might be for the best as it's easier to understand than subatomic particles. I do encourage researching intermolecular forces or anything in upper levels of chemistry for inspiration.
     
  23. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    The question I would be addressing, if I were you, is the classic writing question "Why?".

    Why does my character have this ability ?
    Why does it benefit him ?
    Why does he want to use it ? .... etc. etc.
     
  24. Shrubs
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    Shrubs Member

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    Exactly! And if one could control intermolecular forces you could boil someone by removing the hydrogen bonds that bind the water molecules in their body. You could turn 70-80% of someone to steam essentially. I'm not sure you could use this power for much more than killing someone unfortunately lol.
     
  25. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    If you could do that .. then there would seem to be little reason not to just 'disappear' them :agreed:
     
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