Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals
Featuring Sandra Alland, Annie Clarkson, Marie Louise Cookson, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Claire Dean, Zoe Gilbert, Andy Hedgecock, Annie Kirby, Anneliese Mackintosh, Adam Marek, Adam Roberts, Sarah Schofield, Ian Watson & Margaret Wilkinson
Featuring leading scientists acting as consultants on the stories, and writing scientific afterwords, bringing the theory featured in the stories to life.
Science is always telling stories. Whether in the creation myths of evolution or the Big Bang, or in the eureka moments of science history, narrative – just as much as metaphor – is a key tool in the scientist’s surprisingly literary toolkit. Perhaps the most interesting use of story is the thought experiment, the intuition pump, that draws on the most instinctive parts of the imagination to crack otherwise perplexing problems.
From Newton's Bucket, to Maxwell’s Demon, from Einstein's Lift to Schrodinger’s Cat – all are examples of 'fiction' being used at the highest level, not just to explain, but to deduce, to prove. In this unique anthology, authors have collaborated with leading scientists, to bounce literary, human narratives against purely theoretical ones, alloying together real stories with abstract ones, to produce truly extraordinary results.
Full list of thought experiments: The Twin Paradox The Grandfather Paradox Maxwell's Demon Laplace's Demon Mary's Room The Chinese Room Schrodinger's Cat Galileo's Boat The Infinite Monkey Typing Pool Einstein in a LIft Einstein Chasing a Beam of Light Newton's Bucket Olber's Paradox
Starburst Magazine gave Thought X 9/10 in their preview of the book
Listen to Tara Shears talk about Special Relativity and the Twin Paradox at the Bluecoat in Liverpool
Listen to Margaret Wilkinson read her story, 'If He Wakes', at the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts, only on MacGuffin:
From Part 1 of the Project:
Initially this project grew out of a out of a commission of five stories from the following writers:
Sara Maitland (2 stories) - working with Dr Rob Appleby and Professor Tara Shears
Sara Schofield - working with Dr Rob Appleby
Marie Louise Cookson - working with Dr Rob Appleby
Claire Dean - working with Prof Roman Frigg
first two stories, by Sara Maitland, are titled 'The Beautiful
Equation' (dealing with anti-matter and Paul Dirac's formulation of the
schrodinger equation) and 'Dark Humour' (about the four fundamental
forces) have been included in Sara's new collection Moss Witch. Follow the link for more.
The other three stories, 'The Tiniest Atom', 'Bright Boy' and 'People Watching' - which explore the thought experiments 'Laplace's Demon', 'Maxwell's Demon' and 'Gallileo's Boat', respectively - are available to read online below, along with their afterwords.
Read Bright Boy by Marie Louise Cookson.
Afterword by Dr Rob Appleby here.
Read People Watching by Claire Dean.
Afterword by Prof Roman Frigg here.
Read The Tiniest Atom by Sarah Schofield.
Afterword by Dr Rob Appleby here.
In the meantime, here are some clips of three of the above mentioned stories being read and discussed, on Radio Four's 'Open Book' with Mariella Frostrup, at Lancaster Litfest, and at Manchester's MadLab.
1. LISTEN TO: Prof. Tara Shears and Sara Maitland discuss anti-matter and the story 'The Beautiful Equation' with Mariella Frostrup on Radio Four's Open Book.
Click here then scroll to 10mins in.
2. WATCH: Sarah Schofield, Marie-Louise Cookson and Dr Rob Appleby discuss Maxwell and Laplace's Demon, and the stories 'The Tiniest Atom' and 'Bright Boy' at MadLab.
3. Watch Dr. Rob Appleby and Sara Maitland discuss the four fundamental forces, and the story 'Dark Humour' at Lancaster Litfest.
(apologies for the poor sound). See it here.
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- 23 Feb 2017