Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"In my mind I have gone all over the universe, which may make it less important for me to make piddling little trips... I did enjoy seeing Stonehenge. It looked exactly the way I thought it would look."
- Isaac Asimov

Positron Beam  
  Vast numbers of positrons, the antimatter counterpart of the electron, are beamed around the Earth.  

First mention of antimatter (the word "antimatter" is not used) in a science fiction story, as far as I know.

I’ve shielded off every conceivable form of radiation. This is something else— particles, positrons, positive electrons, in enormous quantities. Come over here.”

He dragged Allan this time to one of the huge pendent magnets. A long vacuum tube lay parallel to the wire- coiled bar. At the farther end of the tube, inside, was a screen, with dulled surface. Attached to the nearer end was a leaden, funnel-shaped machine. Sandy thrust down a lever.

The machine whirred, but the tube remained dark. The dull screen, however, burst into a thin perpendicular line of glowing, sparkling pin points.

“The machine is a wave filter,” Dale explained. "It cuts out all wave lengths, allows only projectilelike particles to get through—my own inven¬ tion. They might be electrons, positrons, or neutrons. They’re hitting the fluorescent screen, see, and activating it into light. Now I’ll turn on the magnet.” He thrust another switch. “Look at that!”

The thin line of glittering pin points moved inexorably to the right, almost to the very edge of the screen.

“Positrons, my boy,” he snapped. “That’s what they are. Electrons would have moved to the left, toward the positive pole of the magnet, and neutrons, having no electrical charge, would have remained where they were.”

Allan shrugged. "So that proves there are positrons around. What, if anything, has that do with heavy water ?”

Sandy shook his head pityingly. “That’s what a university education does for a man. Positrons of a certain voltage will smash hydrogen atoms. Four million volts is more than sufficient. The positron slams its way into the nucleus, and, being equal and opposite in charge to the electron, they both whiff out of existence in a burst of energy. The stripped proton combines with the nearest atom that still holds its excess electron, and, behold, you have a double proton, or deuton, and heavy hydrogen is born.”

From The Great Thirst, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1934
Additional resources -

The positron had only been named (and found) by Carl Anderson in 1932, after P.A.M. Dirac's 1928 prediction.

Thanks again to @MrBeamJockey for mentioning this story!

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Great Thirst
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner
  Tech news articles related to The Great Thirst
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner

Articles related to Engineering
Synthetic Voices Demanded Of New Actors
'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
Fusion Power Breakthrough?
Thin Film Dome Protects Cities From Nuclear Blasts

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

MIT Robot Eel Made Up Of Voxel Segments
'It was about five feet long, a silver flexiprene-covered body like a fat snake...'

Synthetic Voices Demanded Of New Actors
'The tape-recorded synthetic voice spoke with its usual dispassionate calm'

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.