|THE ALIEN EQUIVALENT|
OF A BAD HAIR DAY?
NOT A PROBLEM, IT CAN ALWAYS
REFORM TOMORROW ;)
(HOSTED BY DALE CHIHULY'S
I was sad, this week, when I heard that Ray Bradbury had died. For me, it was Ray Bradbury - and Star Trek - that fanned the spark of science fiction in me, the idea that there could be so much more than us in the dark out-there.
Science fiction is grounded in scientific fact
The science research behind MORTIMER CHILTON AND THE COLLECTIVE began in a class of ten and eleven year olds.
We were revising the three states of matter:
Solids, liquids and gases are called the three states of matter.
Materials can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling.
We were also discussing a NASA space mission…and aliens.
I’m not sure how the aliens worked their way into the science lesson, it’s a cosmic mystery.
We used the normal KS2 revision sites (for pupils aged 7 to 11) most of the time. This day someone researched more deeply and discovered there were not three states of matter at all.
There were four states of matter:
Obviously, we discussed the characteristics of each state.
How, on other planets, the life-forms could take their form in any state of matter.
When creating this explanation I turned to NASA and the ESA - Space in Bytes site
CHARACTERISTICS OF SOLIDS:
• in solids, molecules are bound to tightly each other.
• solids cannot be compressed
Most of the characters in MORTIMER CHILTON AND THE COLLECTIVE appear to be solid - but the human body is about 65% liquid.
FACTOID 1: Liquids, gases and plasmas can be grouped together as fluids.
FACTOID 2: The molecules of a fluid – LIQUID, GAS and PLASMA – are loosely bound or not bound at all. They can displace one another and flow.
In the case of alien life, we decided this would allow beings to alter their shape in response to different conditions.
We discussed how a shape that effectively stretched or contracted its molecules would be subject to stress.
CHARACTERISTICS OF LIQUIDS:
• in liquids the distances between molecules are greater.
• the forces between the molecules are also weaker than those in solids.
• liquids cannot be compressed
• they cannot support stress, so they deform.
Although solid, with an outer skin that held its form in place, one of the characters in MORTIMER CHILTON is 95% liquid.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GAS:
• in gases the distance between the molecules are great
• the forces between molecules are very weak
• molecules move freely, disperse randomly and fill the available space
• gases cannot support any applied stress.
In this book, none of the characters are gas – but I have plans.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PLASMA:
• Plasma is an electrically charged gas
• It behaves more like a liquid than a gas, due to the electromagnetic forces between its particles.
Many of the character in MORTIMER CHILTON is plasma. ;)
All is not lost; Mortimer is smart, he knows gravity plays a major role in the behaviour of fluids. Weightlessness can reveal unexpected properties of matter.
WHEN WRITING SCIENCE FICTION THE SCIENCE FACTS MUST BE ACCURATE OR PLAUSIBLE.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SITE YOU VISIT TO DO YOUR RESEARCH?