All right, Cadets, hurry on up to class, it's time for your first lecture!ENGINEERING 101: Introductory Starship Engineering Operations and Essential PhysicsProfessor:
Lt. Cmdr. winged_mammalClass Location::
Cochrane Hall, room 342Course Description:
Engineering 101 is broken into two separate units: Unit One, Introductory Starship Engineering Operations, is supplemented by Unit Two, Introduction to Essential Starship Physics. In Unit One I will talk about how the essential systems of a Federation starship - including but not limited to warp and impulse drive, deflector shields, transporters, and weapons systems - work in-universe, with lots and lots of digressions where I insert random tidbits of information from science in our universe. In Unit Two I talk about some cutting-edge modern physics that could be utilized to make Trek science a reality. Most of it is purely theoretical and more than likely could never actually be used in any way, but it's interesting to talk about anyway. I had originally planned to do two separate posts, one with just in-universe science and a second with real-world science, but I found I couldn't stop myself from making comments so decided to just go with this route. If it seems like there's a total lack of coherence, it's entirely my fault and I apologize.
In general, this is an in-universe discussion.
And this is an accompanying real-world explanation.
Now, we all know Technobabble is half the fun of any given episode of Star Trek, but it makes for wildly inconsistent theory. So here, I'm going to go with what was used most often, or what makes the most sense. Like, an episode might say the impulse engines could make the ship go faster than light, but that makes no sense so I'm ignoring it. Generally I try to go with what canon says with a minimum of fanwank. Where things changed between the TOS era and the TNG era, I went with TNG since I'm more familiar with it. (And because it's generally less self-contradictory. I love ya, TOS, but consistency ain't your forte.)
But first, a caveat: I'm a senior-year college chemistry student, not a doctor in theoretical physics. I've taken physics and physical chemistry classes, which have taught me a fair amount about weird quantum stuff, and I eat up Discover articles for breakfast, but I don't pretend to understand all this perfectly, especially since most of it is not at all chemistry related. I think it's interesting as all hell, though, and love talking about it. So while I'm going to try my best to write about the real-world stuff clearly and, more importantly, accurately, there's always the possibility that I'll get something wrong. So, don't go using me as a source for your term paper or anything. If you're interested learning more about anything I mention, I recommend reading the things I list in the references before doing anything else. (For some stuff, though, I haven't got a proper source as it's stuff I've learned in my classes. Just google it or something.)
So. Science!( Collapse )( Collapse )
If you've got questions, by all means ask, because I'm sure there are at least seventeen different places I was horribly unclear.
EDIT: We had guest lecturer real-life physics teacher ladymac111
drop by and help out with a couple things. Check out her super comment here.
EDIT 2.0: I forgot to include this link
to a page that explains Einstein's theory of relativity in four-letter words or less. Quite interesting.