This week, I’m going to do something just a little different.
As many of you know, I’m just about done working on my master’s degree in physics. All that’s left at this point is finishing up my thesis which will, hopefully, be done in the next month (don’t worry, when it is finally done, you’ll get a chance to read all about the change in the hadron composition of neutron stars as they spin down). There are two sides to my life, the science side and the writer side. The two sides meet fairly regularly from my perspective, but anyone on one side rarely gets a chance to see anything that I do on the other. So, today I’m splashing some physics into all this creative writing.
As part of a class I was taking this last semester, I was supposed to write an introduction to a topic related to the class, but not explicitly discussed. I chose ion thrusters as my topic, with the intent of sharing it with my friends that write sci-fi. Since ion propulsion systems have long since been a favorite in the genera, I figured a solid look at how they work couldn’t hurt.
A few comments: First, to make it related to the class, I talked a lot about particle accelerators, which may feel a little off topic. You’ve been warned.
Second, you may notice that I left the name of the professor for the class on there. I did this because Dr. Calvin Johnson also writes science fiction and physics related articles. What I’ve read of his, so far, is incredible. I suggest that you do some creative googling in his general direction and take a look at some of his short stories, and/or articles (here are two links to start you off: http://www.physics.sdsu.edu/~johnson/writing/sf.html http://www.analogsf.com/2014_12/index.shtml).
Without further blabbing, here is a PDF of my Introduction to Ion Thrusters. May it help with your understanding of the topic and, thus, the strength of your fiction.