Friday, October 14, 2016

Smashing Atoms Into Wormholes by Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast, authors of Brainwalker


Inside the Book:


Title: Brainwalker
Author: Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Publisher: DualMind Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Fourteen year-old Bernard is full of out of the box ideas—ideas that nobody appreciates. Not his ultra-rational father, not his classmates, and definitely not his teacher, who’s fed up waiting for Bernard’s overdue science project. You’d think with a hotshot quantum physicist for a dad, the assignment would be easy as “pi”, but with his relationship with his father on rocky ground, Bernard is under more pressure than a helium atom.

And Bernard’s impulse control flies out the window when he’s stressed. So instead of turning in his project, he moons the class and gets suspended. Now his dad’s got no choice but to bring him to his work. At the Atom Smasher. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Bernard, who knows smashing atoms at the speed of light can—theoretically—make wormholes. How about that for the most mind-bending science project ever? But when he sneaks into the particle accelerator and someone hits the power button, Bernard ends up in the last place he’d ever want to be.

Inside his father’s brain.

And it’s nothing like the spongy grey mass Bernard studied at school. It’s a galaxy, infinite and alive. Like, people live there. A mysterious civilization on the brink of extinction, as unaware of their host as he is of them. But there’s zero time to process this. Bernard’s about to be caught up in an epic struggle between the two sides of his dad’s brain over their most precious resource: 

Mental Energy.

 With his father’s life at stake, Bernard must go up against the tyrannical left side of his father’s brain to save the dying, creative right side. But how the heck is he supposed to do that when he’s just a hopelessly right-brained kid himself?



It’s not much of a spoiler to say that the real action in Brainwalker starts when Bernard opens the hatch on a particle accelerator and goes through a wormhole into the Brainiverse. The question is just how plausible is it?
Before answering the question, it’s important to remember the words of the Mythbusters, “Don’t try this at home.” Getting caught up in a particle accelerator is one of the worst things that could happen to anyone; but that doesn’t make the physics any less interesting.
The particle accelerator in Brainwalker is based on the Large Hadron Collider, which is the world’s largest “atom smasher,” built at CERN near Geneva in Switzerland. Like the LHC, the particle accelerator in Brainwalker is seventeen miles long. It has to be that long because the proton beam moves so fast: 99.9999991% of the speed of light to be exact. At that speed you could bicycle to the Moon in less than two seconds.
Because it’s a collider, it actually uses two beams, one going in each direction. The LHC uses superconducting magnets to accelerate clumps of protons to near light speed, and then more magnets to cross the streams. The particles smash each other to bits, and the scientists look at the fragments. The harder they hit, the more energetic the fragments, and the better chance you have of finding something new.
Unfortunately for those of you wanting to copy Bernard, you can’t just open a hatch on the LHC and hop in. That’s a good thing, too. First, there’s no air inside the collider; it would stop the protons. Second, the superconducting magnets have to be kept very cold to work; about 456 degrees below zero. That’s much colder than even outer space. If you opened a hatch you’d get blasted by radiation and frozen by temperatures more than 325 degrees colder than the coldest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica.
So, opening the hatch is a no-go, but what about the wormholes?
Well, that’s a big maybe, which makes sense since nobody knows if wormholes actually exist.
What we do know about are black holes, and several theories say that a big enough particle accelerator could create tiny quantum black holes. Since some theories also say that a black hole might be one end of a wormhole, then maybe a big enough particle accelerator could create a wormhole. It would have to be more powerful than the LHC, but there’s nothing in the story that says the one where Bernard’s dad works isn’t that powerful.
Wormholes themselves are pretty neat. Imagine a piece of paper (that’s space-time) folded together so that the ends touch. A wormhole would let you jump directly from one end to the other so that you could skip going the length of the paper. Also, because wormholes fold space-time, not just space, a wormhole can even work as a time machine connecting the future or the past. One jump could take you anywhere, or even anywhen.
So while you can’t jump into a particle accelerator, the basic idea of a powerful one creating a wormhole is not that far-fetched. The catch is that you’re not likely to be as lucky as Bernard if you encounter one.

Meet the Authors:


Robyn Mundell is an award winning playwright. A graduate of New York University, she performed in dozens of plays in New York. She studied with such theater legends as Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler. Robyn wrote and performed in several of her own plays including Pieces of Oand Traveling Bowls of Soup, produced by Pulitzer-prize winner Beth Henley. Traveling Bowls of Soup opened at the Met theater to rave reviews and received several Drama-Logue awards. Robyn has since been selling original screenplays and TV pilots to major film companies and networks. She is the daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, and is married to actor-playwright Raymond J. Barry. Together, they have four children.


 French-Born Stephan Lacast likes to think of himself as a geek, which depending on your  dictionary means either “knowledgeable about computers”, or “boring social misfit.” At the age of twelve his idea of fun was building computers and programming, and by fifteen he was a contributor to a computer magazine. A graduate of Paris-Dauphine University, he holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information Systems. After teaching at Dauphine University, Stephan went on to work as a consultant and engineer for one of the top ten Information Technology services companies in Europe, before deciding to leave Paris and move to the United States.

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