Saturday, February 4, 2012

Inheritance and wave-particle duality

I read Inheritance a few months ago. While reading it, I noticed a sentence which appeared to be a reference to wave particle duality and the atomic theory of matter. Anyways, I asked Paolini (the author) about it, and he confirmed it. (I learned this today, I hadn't checked my Twitter account for weeks).
Isn't it great that Paolini, an amazing author, is interested in physics, too?

Here's my full explanation of the situation (Copied from my post)

I'm rather surprised by this passage from it:
(This is on the flight back to Urû'baen, when Valdr tells Eragon and Saphira about the starlings' dreams)
"From him, they received a vision of beams of light turning into waves of sand, as well as a disconcerting sense that everything that seemed solid was mostly empty space."

At first, I interpreted the second part as "Not everything is as hard as it looks".
But I couldn't make any sense of the first one.

Then, I remembered something from Rutherford's experiment. "Atoms are mostly empty space". I didn't like this connection (Why would Paolini mention that ?), but then, the allusion to subatomic physics made the first sentence crystal clear. It refers to wave-particle duality, i.e. the fact/theory that light is both a continuous wave and a bunch of particles

I know, it's unlikely that CP would mention such things, but he has mentioned lots of scientific stuff before (coral, etc.. can't remember it off the top of my head, need to reread the first three books).
Also, <spoiler alert (If you haven't read Inheritance yet)>
the explosion at Vroengard (By Thuviel), and at Urû'baen (By Galbatorix), are both probably nuclear (as the sickness that Glaedr mentions is very similar to leukemia). So maybe, after all, CP did refer to waveparticle duality/atomic theory.