: 1920 – New-York, April 1992
Grotto – Part 6
- You are telling me a great deal.
- Yes, we are, but only
superficially. If you repeat this in America, you will probably not be
believed, and nothing you say will give the slightest hint as to the core of
the miniaturization technique. – Boranova lifted her hand and Kaliinin again
threw the switch.
returned and the cage began once again to shrink. It seemed to be going faster
now and Boranova, as though reading Morrison’s mind, said :
“The further it shrinks, the less mass there is to remove and the more rapidly
it shrinks further.”
himself staring, in a state of near-shock, at a cage that was a centimetre
across and still shrinking.
raised her hand again and the whine died.
– Be careful,
Dr Morrison. It weighs only a few hundred milligrams now and it is a fragile
object indeed to anyone on our scale. Here. Try this.
She handed him
a large magnifying glass. Morrison, without saying a word, took it and held it
over the tiny cage. He might not have managed to make out what the moving
object within it was if he had come upon it without prior knowledge, for his
mind would not have accepted an incredibly tiny rabbit.
He had seen it
shrink, however, and he stared at it now with a mixture of confusion and
He looked up at
Boranova and said :
– Is this really
– Do you still
suspect an optical illusion, or hypnotism or – what
– If it were
drugs, Dr Morrison, it would be a greater achievement than miniaturization.
Look about you. Doesn’t everything else look normal? It would be an unusual
drug indeed that would alter your sense-perception of a single object in a
large room of unchanged miscellany. Come, doctor, what you’ve witnessed is
– Make it
larger – said Morrison, breathlessly.
laughed and suppressed it quickly :
– If I laugh,
the wind may blow away Katinka, whereupon Natasha and Sophia will both strike
me with everything else in the room. If you wish it enlarged you will have to
Boranova said :
– Dezhnev is right. You see, Dr Morrison, you have witnessed
a scientific demonstration, not magic. If it were magic, I could snap my
fingers and the rabbit would be its normal self again in a normal cage – and
then you would know you were witnessing an optical illusion. However, it takes
considerable energy to decrease Planck’s constant to a tiny fraction of its
normal value even over a relatively small volume of the Universe, which is why
miniaturization is so expensive a technique. To enlarge Planck’s constant once again must result in the
production of energy equal to that which had been consumed originally, for the
law of conservation of energy holds even in the process of miniaturization. We
cannot deminiaturize then any faster than we can
dispose of the heat produced, so that it takes considerable time to do it, much
more than it took to miniaturize.
For a while,
Morrison was silent. He found the explanation involving conservation of energy
more convincing than the demonstration itself. Charlatans would not have been
so meticulous about obeying the constraints of physics.
He said :
– It seems to
me, then, that your miniaturization process can scarcely be a practical device.
At most it would only serve as a tool, perhaps, to broaden and expand quantum
– Boranova said :
Even that would be enough, but
don’t judge a technique by its initial phase. We can hope that we will learn
how to circumvent these large energy changes ; how to
find methods of miniaturization and deminiaturization that will be more
efficient. Does all the energy-charge have to pass from electromagnetic fields into miniaturization and then into heat on deminiaturization
? Might not deminiaturization be somehow inveigled into releasing energy as
electromagnetic fields again. That would be easier to
– Have you
repealed the second law of thermodynamics ? – asked
Morrison, with exaggerated politeness.
– Not at all.
We don’t expect an impossible 100 per cent conversion. If we can convert 75 per
cent of the deminiaturization energy into an eledctromagnetic field, or even
present only 25 per cent, that would be an improvement over the present
situation. However, there is hope of a technique even more subtile and far more
efficient, and that is where you come in.
– I ? I know nothing about this. Why pick me out for your
salvation. You would have done as well with a child out of kindergarten.
– Not so. We
know what we are doing. Come, Dr Morrison, you and I shall go to my office
while Sophia and
Arkady begin the tedious process of restoring Katinka. I will there show you
that you know quite enough to help us make miniaturization efficient, and
therefore a commercially practical venture. In fact, you will see, quite
clearly, that you are the only person who can help us.
End of GROTTO
will follow with
COMA, on next issue of AIR