Mar 28, 2015

Contact 30

Contact 2: the needed sequel.
Carl Sagan's science fiction novel, Contact, was published in 1985. In his story, Sagan depicted a message from aliens that used a series of prime numbers to draw the attention of scientists to a coded set of instructions for how to build a complex piece of alien technology. Also, there was another "message", a message from "God" hidden away inside the transcendental number Pi. We still need another Contact movie to tell the story of the message inside Pi.

I'm currently writing Sagan into the Exode Trilogy and as part of my celebration of the 30th anniversary of Contact, I'm trying to think of a cute trick that would allow me to incorporate prime numbers or transcendental numbers into the story Star Dance.

Primes and Pi on my mind.....
prime spiral
God's fingerprint
The first novel by Arthur Clarke that I read (The City and the Stars) also included prime numbers (see this account).

Gersen and Alusz
Jack Vance included the Greek letter Pi in several of his stories. For example, the star Pi Cassiopeia was described as the location of a planet called Orpo, the world where Demon Prince Kokor Hekkus committed one of his kidnappings while trying to raise 10 Billion SVU as part of his effort to "buy" the inexpressibly beautiful Alusz Iphigenia Eperje Tokay.

A Star King
Beyond mere mention of Pi, in Star King, Vance states that Fourier analysis can be used to break the encryption of the recorded astrogation data for Teehalt's Planet, a world "too beautiful for degradation". However, Gersen is able to negotiate a deal with the owner of the decryption code, allowing him to visit the planet. Of relevance to the Exode Trilogy and the Ekcolir RealityFourier was among the first to recognize the importance of the greenhouse effect for planets like Earth.

The Prime Radiant
Equations "projected" by the Prime Radiant
In Forward the Foundation, Isaac Asimov's character Yugo Amaryl creates the Prime Radiant, a small device that stores all of Seldon's plans for the future of the Galaxy.....or something. We are supposed to think that it is called a "radiant" because it can "project" and display the equations of Psychohistory, although it does not use ordinary projection with light waves. Then exactly what does it "radiate"? I prefer to imagine that the Prime Radiant was a mind control device used by Daneel to control Hari Seldon and the Second Foundation.

The Pi man.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was a self-taught mathematician who lived from 1887 to 1920. Ramanujan reminds me of Asimov's character, Amaryl. One of the mathematical objects named after Ramanujan is the "Ramanujan prime", the first few of which are 2, 11, 17, 29 and 41.

Like Ramanujan, Amaryl first labored in obscurity then he was "discovered" by a famous mathematician. However, not only was Amaryl a mysteriously good mathematician, but he was also "good with his hands", which means, of course, he was able to make the Prime Radiant. Sure. I suspect Daneel or one of his robotic helpers was involved.

Daneel the telepath
Also like Ramanujan, Amaryl died at a young age before he could fully develop and exploit his quirky mathematical insights. Amaryl coined the term "achaotic equations", which supposedly made possible the prediction of future events by the mathematics of Psychohistory.

Most importantly, Amaryl was able to use the Prime Radiant as a "detector" for identifying the existence of Wanda's telepathic powers. Asimov told readers that it was her uncanny "sense of symmetry" that led Wanda (with the help of the Prime Radiant) to recognize the critical roles that Terminus and Trantor would play in the future because of their positions at the "opposite ends of the Galaxy". Sure.

I prefer to believe that the Prime Radiant was an elaborate joke played by Daneel. Daneel needed to hide from humans the existence of time travel (see Foundations of Eternity) , so he created the pseudoscience of Psychohistory and used it to trick a few key people into believing that mathematics could predict the future. With Daneels "mentalic" abilities, tricking the bumbling humans was as easy as pie.
Alien telepathy. Alien 1: I sense he is not the real Captain of the Enterprise.
Alien 2: Yes. He's able to resist the urge too ravish the slave girl

Pi Day to Pie Day
Diagram of hierions and sedrons
Albert Einstein was born on March 14th, Pi Day. Pie = 8.53973422267..... (e is Euler's number), so August 5th is Pie Day. I'm currently writing Chapter 5 of Star Dance in which Bet tries to explain to Ghyl her continuing interest in Einstein. She is establishing the needed conditions that will result in the ability of Earthlings to have a basic understanding of hierion physics in the Buld Reality, the universe as we know it. Central to that goal, is that Einstein must move to the United States and provide critical information (the so called 10D Einstein Equation) to the U.S. government.

However, in the Ekcolir Reality, Einstein dies on August 5th, 1922, murdered by a right wing assassin. Paradoxically, as a kind of temporal inversion due to Einstein's death, foreign minister Walter Rathenau does not die in 1922 and he goes on to lead a democratic Germany in the 1930s.....Hitler never comes to power and there is no World War II in the Ekcolir Reality, only the "post-war boom" which drives global industrialization and produces terribly high levels of greenhouse gases.

In the Ekcolir Reality, in 1920, at the age of 41, Einstein travels around the world, visiting both the United States and India.

The hierion mass equation
While he is in India, Einstein meets Ramanujan who, while on his death bed, provides Einstein with an astonishing equation (in the Ekcolir Reality, Einstein calls it the Ramanujan Equation) that predicts the masses of the hierions.

Contact, 1997. The Contact television show.
Background art work: "Ellie's Vision" by Zane Bien.
In Contact, Ellie takes a loooong trip across the galaxy, but by the magic of Hollywood time contraction, it all happens in an instant. I prefer an alternate interpretation: her memories of the journey are artificial, having been implanted in her mind by a nanorobotic endosymbiont.

Hard fantasy adventure
A second Contact movie could reveal that the machine was a device for bringing nanoscopic aliens to Earth. 2017 would be a good year for the release of Contact 2.

Next blog post: April Fools' Day 2015.

Related Reading: Contact the television program
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