Fun With Physics

I can hear you now.  “Um, Gwyn?  Isn’t this blog supposed to be about things medieval?”

Yep, it is.

“Did they even have physics in the medieval period?”

Not as a recognized science, perhaps, but let’s face it, nobody fell (or was flung by centrifugal force) off the planet for lack of gravity, rainshowers resulted in rainbows, and a body in motion tended to stay in motion (think horse stops dead, knight keeps going), so it’s safe to say physics was a part of their world.  In fact, in 214 BC (well before the medieval era), it is believed Archimedes, perhaps the greatest scientist and mathematician in all antiquity, helped defend the kingdom of Syracuse using solar reflectors to set the enemy’s sails aflame, creating what was, in effect, the first ray gun!

How’s that for archaic physics?

Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m mathematically challenged.  I can do the basics, even some advanced stuff (as long as you don’t ask how I reached my conclusion), but the application of theorums, postulates, axioms, and all that other gobblety-gook is just too confusing.  Yet I find physics fascinating.  Go figure.

A number of years ago, my sweetie and I were watching a movie about King Arthur’s Merlin.  Predicated by his, and other wizards’ of the age, preoccupation with alchemy, we discussed the probability that sorcerers were, in truth, engineers and scientists with a fundamental grasp of laws and principles not yet documented or fully understood.  It seemed probable given that magic, as we know it, is all about the illusion.  Add the technological aspect, like turning on a radio for isolated Amazonian tribesmen, and you have the foundation for deification.Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku: Book Cover

  Thus, in keeping with the outlandish but intellectually stimulating subject of my previous blog, at the suggestion of a friend and fellow writer, Ruby-Slippered Sister Tamara Hogan (,  I have begun reading  Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku.  Now, I’ve seen Dr. Kaku on numerous cable programs dealing with science and found him entertaining and informative in that context, but a book on physics?  I approached it with caution, but soon found I couldn’t put it down.  The man has a knack for making the subject come alive.  No calculus, differential equations, or gobblety-gook clutter the pages, just explanations of how it all works reduced to terms any layperson, mathematically challenged or not, can understand.
So, Celtic mythology has taken on a new layer of possibility, a layer that may or may not consist of alien technology but that brings a vibrant new hue to an already colorful subject.
Yes, the research is still leading the way, but the discoveries are mind boggling.
What fun!


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4 responses to “Fun With Physics

  1. Great article, Gwynlyn! I’m fascinated by physics too (even though I have problems programming my cell phone). I’ll have to pick up a copy of Michio Kaku’s book. I’m a big fan of his Science channel programs.

  2. It’s a great book, Laurie, and should be a must-read for Sci-fi writers. I’ll never be a Samantha Carter, but Dr. Kaku has a talent for making it all seem simple—no mean feat, that.

  3. Oooh, this sounds like a great book, Gwynlyn!! I can’t always understand physics, but I do like reading about it. Will definitely check this one out ;).

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