?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 

Josh's Question and my responce - A Recovering Physicist's Apology

About Josh's Question and my responce

Previous Entry Josh's Question and my responce Sep. 4th, 2004 @ 03:34 am Next Entry
My friend Josh posted something interesting on his love journal, I have (for convience) posted it below along with my reply to the question. Thoughts and opinions are always welcome:

Josh's question
"Okay, Holy Crap did i have a cool conversation just now.

I was gonna go to bed, but this bears recording.

So i'm sitting out on my lawn with my buddy John, and he posits a very interesting situation. He brings up the problem of a fight between Magneto and Darth Vader, which quite frankly i am ashamed not to have thought of before. Who would win? And why?

There are the obvious points of contention, such as Magneto ripping the metal out of Vader's suit and body, and Vader Force-Choking Magneto or fooling him with some nifty Jedi Mind Tricks. So we cut right to the chase: we talk physics. There are four powerful forces in the universe: Gravity, Electro-Magnetism, Strong force, and Weak force. So, we have to wonder, is The Force, Darth Vader's Force, an instance of a Unified Field Theory, therefore incomparable to any single one of the four; is it a misunderstood and mislabeled manipulation of an already defined force; or is it a fifth unaccounted for force, some kind of spiritually guided thing, in which case perhaps impossible to gage against any of the others. We also have to wonder about Magneto's powers, whether they govern solely magnetic things, or do they have to do with broader electro-magnetic theory, in which case he might have great power where the Weak and Strong forces (having to do with electron motion and particle bonding on a subatomic level) are concened. So really there is the basic question of how each of their powers relate to the four Universal Forces.

Now, faced with any tough mental puzzle, i did what has always been a good idea, and asked my sister.

And my sister, god bless her, gave the most brilliant answer i could have ever expected. She immediately cited Aristotle, and the Aristotalean notion of the four basic elements which comprise matter on earth: Fire, Air, Water, and Metal (or maybe it's stone or something. anyway). Now, Aristotle said that these were the four components of all things on Earth, BUT he mentioned a Fifth Element for Celestial Bodies (and yes, i did make the required Fifth Element/Milla Jovovitch/Celestial Body comments, and John made the "Wait, isn't the fifth element Boron?" joke, so we covered all of our bases). This Fifth Element was called Ether, or the Quintessence. Now "Quintessence" also means "the best example of a thing" in a linguistic sense. SO with a few more bits of information, such as the reminder that Darth Vader comes from STAR Wars and certainly counts as a Celestial Body, and the linking of the Four Elements to the Four Forces, we were able to deduce that:

a) Darth Vader, an example of a Celestial Power, employs a Quintessence, a Fifth Element.
b) This Fifth Element is akin to a Fifth Force, apart from the other forces.
c) This Fifth Force is by its nature the Quintessential Force in the Universe, and therefore:
d) Darth Vader would kick Magneto's butt across the Galaxy faster than you can say "Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder."

It was Amazing.
Just Amazing."




My Responce:
"You can quote Aristotle all you want, but we live in the great big grown up universe and that means Aristotle was a puts. Let’s cut to the quick, Aristotelian physics requires a universal gravitational center, among other improbabilities. Aristotelian physics cannot work without these rather basic and easily provable theories. For one, Aristotelian physics does not function unless the Earth is that special gravitational center. Earth isn’t the center of anything, unless you want to be cute and argue we live in an infinite universe but than everything is the center so what is the point?

Looking directly at Magneto, he has – by a physics definition – done work in the past. By changing the velocity of an object Magneto has accomplished something that magnetic fields alone cannot do, work. Therefore Magneto has some degree of control over the electro half of that dynamic duo of E&M. So to answer one of your questions, yes Magneto has some degree of control over electricity and its corresponding fields. The fact that Magneto once created a volcano means this guy is packing some Tesla under the hood. The fact that he can either throw a car or pick up a paper clip and not upset the filing cabinet means he has some serious field control skills. Everything is magnetic, everything. It all varies on how magnetic something is, but everything is magnetic. If you have the kind of power to create a volcano by magnetically tugging on iron rich magma, you could do some tripped out stuff with regular old matter to boot. The guy can levitate himself, set up magnetic fields that act more or less like solids, he easily can pull down a few Tesla minimum. That kind of power and subtle control over the field means he could set up field around an opponents head and induce electric currents in their brain, causing everything from hallucinations to outright complete loss of muscle control, or death. Now Xavier doesn’t need to worry so much because he doesn’t use those leg muscles to begin with, but last time I saw Darth he was walking (but who knows maybe in Episode 3 he will have a super hover ability or a jet pack or a jet pack made of hovering double bladed curved light sabers and other gadgetry that would have come in handy in episodes IV, V, VI)

Looking at the Force is a harder physical concept. It certainly has limited range as far as direct interaction with objects goes. Vader could throw a metal, umm thing, at Luke quite easily when they were in cloud city, or rip Hon Solo’s blaster out of his hand when they were in the same room, or choke everyone and their brother if they were in the same general area, but that is all instances of proximity. Even Yoda had to be pretty close to the X-wing to exhume it from the muck. There simply isn’t a case where the physical abilities of the force are used over the range of say about 4 meters. Yet, the Force provides an intuitive ability that stretches far beyond its distance limitations. Obi Wan seems to know the instant all those people suddenly called out and then fell silent. Obi was a hyper jump away from the planet, or where in hyperspace I don’t recall it is 3 am in Japan, yet he knew. I think it is safe to say he gathered the information faster than light could convey it. Also there are many instances of prescience associated with the Force. These two facts, the information speed limit problem and the knowledge of potential future states problem, can only point to quantum mechanics as an explanation. The Force must imbue its yielder with an advanced understanding of chaos theory to allow them to predict future states. There must also exist a quantum state in harmony with the universe contained within the user. Any change in the real world would create a change in the linked system instantaneously. The Force must allow the user to detect this flux thus bypassing the information speed limit. Of course, as far as science goes, Lucas was about as much a scientist as Aristotle. Example, “It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!” Unless the Kessel run is won by distance and NOT time that is a swing and a miss George.

So what have we got? Magneto will win. It would be a good fight but there could only be one winner here, and that is Mr. Physics himself Magneto. Let’s look at the score board:
1) the magnetic force trails off as 1/r don’t be fooled this is still impressive given the shear amount of magnetic energy Magneto can throw out. The Force seems to trail off at a much greater rate, if I had to say I would guess around 1/(r^2) or 1/(r^3) In other words, Magneto easily has the range on Darth.
2) Darth has prescience so he could conceivably predict Magneto’s attacks prior to Magneto making them. But this gets hazy when one considers Magneto’s ability to mess with the mind using fields. Without doing an uber dorky calculation I cannot say with certainty that Magneto could throw the internal quantum state that allows prescience out of whack but still be OUTSIDE of the range of the Force, but doing some first order approximation, I would have to say it is highly probable he could.
3) The light saber is light, a form of electro-magnetic radiation. It is just two fields propagating in space. The fun Magneto could have with this is charming.
4) In several instances Magneto has ripped out or altered the flow of hemoglobin molecules in a person. The force is based on Metaclorians (probably the physical quantum state linked with the universe.) All things are magnetic. If it really boiled down to a close hand to hand style fight all Magneto has to do is rip every Metaclorian out of Vader’s body. No Metaclorians, no force, no force and Vader’s just a big old hunk of metal which is very magnetic.
Vader can’t win under the rules of physics. If you want to throw in mystical stuff than, yes he would own. But metaphysics leaves such a bad taste in your mouth doesn’t it? Is this a chair because I have named it a chair or does it in someway resemble the true chair off in the intangible and untouchable beyond? Who cares? And more importantly how can you tell if you have the right answer? My chair’s chairness aside, metaphysics is not a happy place to go if you are looking for answers. So we are left with real physics, and real physics says Vader gets owned."
Add a corollary
[User Picture Icon]
From:flong
Date:September 3rd, 2004 02:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You win.

Josh's "proof" makes so little sense that it scares me. And I was an English major, so, you know, fuzzy logic ahoy.
[User Picture Icon]
From:sneakypeteiii
Date:September 3rd, 2004 11:06 pm (UTC)

Game. Set. Match.

(Link)
I'm speechless. Physics wins again!
(Add a corollary)
Top of Page Powered by LiveJournal.com