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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Super-Photon  
  Three photons in one.  

At this point in the novel, the Thessians struck with a beam of pure silvery light that tore a hundred feet of pure cosmium off the nose of our hero's ship? What is this incredible weapon?

"...do you know what that weapon is, Morey?"

"Got some readings on it with the Banderlog's instruments, and I think I do. Twin-ray is right," replied Morley.

"Hmhm - so I think. It's a super-photon. What they do is use a field somewhat similar to the field we use in making cosmium, except that in theirs, instead of the photons lying side by side, they slide into one another, compounding. They evidently get three photons to go into one. Now, as we know, that size photon doesn't exist for the excellent reason that it can't in this space. Space closes in about it. Therefore they have a projected field to accompany it that tends to open out space - and they are using that, not the attractive ray, on us now. The result is that for a distnce not too great, the triple-ray exists in normal space - then goes into another. Now the question is how can we stop it? I have no idea - have you any?"

"Yes, but my idea can't exist in this space either," grinned Morey.

From Invaders From The Infinite, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Experimental Publishing Co. in 1932
Additional resources -

The term "super-photon" is in common use in physics today, but I can't find an earlier reference to this term than Campbell's. The idea of that light can be treated as packets or discrete quanta of energy dates from Einstein's treatment of the photoelectric effect in 1905; I'm not sure when the word "photon" was created.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Invaders From The Infinite
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to Invaders From The Infinite
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Super-Photon-related news articles:
  - Super-Photons Used For Good, Not Evil

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