Russia : 1920 – New-York, April 1992
– Part 2 –
– And who are the
people who do know the basics of miniaturization?
– That also is not
something that, in general, it is safe for you to know. However, I can lift the
curtain just a bit in this matter. Pyotr Shapirov is one of them.
– Crazy Peter – said Morrison,
smiling –. Somehow I am not surprised !
You shouldn’t be. I am sure
you say “crazy” only as one of your jokes, but it was he who first worked out
the basic rationale behind miniaturization. Of course – she added thoughtfully –,
it may very well be that required a certain insanity – or, at any rate, a
certain idiosyncrasy of thought. It is also Shapirov
who first suggested a method of achieving miniaturization with a minimum
expenditure of energy.
– How? The conversion of
deminiaturization into an electromagnetic field?
Boranova made a face :
– I was merely giving you an example. Shapirov’s method is far more subtle.
– Can it be explained?
– Only roughly. Shapirov
points out that the two great aspects of the unified theory of the Universe,
the quantum aspect and the relativistic aspect, each depend on a constant that
sets a limit. In quantum theory it is Planck’s constant, which is very tiny,
but not zero. In relativity, it is the speed of light, which is very great, but
not infinite. Planck’s constant sets a lower limit to the size of
energy-transfer, and the speed of light sets an upper limit to the speed of
information-transmission. Shapirov maintains, furthermore,
that the two are related. In other words, if Planck’s constant is decreased,
the speed of light would increase. If Planck’s constant were reduced to zero,
then the speed of light would be infinite.
Morrison said at once :
– In which case the Universe would be Newtonian in its
– Yes. According to Shapirov, then, the reason
for the enormous energy consumption of miniaturization is that the two limits
are uncoupled ; that Planck’s constant is decreased
without the speed of light being increased. If the two were coupled, then
energy would flow from the speed-of-light limit into the Planck’s constant
limit during miniaturization, and in the other
direction during deminiaturization, so that the speed of light would go up as
miniaturization proceeded and down again during deminiaturization. The
efficiency should be nearly a hundred per cent. Very little energy would then
be required to miniaturize, and re-expansion could take place very quickly.
Morrison said :
– Does Shapirov know how miniaturization and deminiatur- ization can be
carried through with the two limits coupled ?
– He said he did.
– Said ? Past tense ?
Does that mean he has changed his mind ?
– Not exactly.
– Then, what has he done ?
– Albert – she said, almost pleadingly –, do not go too fast. I want you
to think. You know miniaturization works. You know that it is possible, but not
practical. You know that it would be a boon for humanity and I have assured you
that it is not meant for destructive or warlike use. Once we know that out
national precedence is recognized, which we want for psychological reasons I
have presented to you quite frankly, I am sure we will share miniaturization
with all divisions of the globe.
– Really, Natalya ? Would you and your nation trust the United States if the situation were
– Trust! – said Boranova,
and sighed heavily –. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone. It is the weakness
of humanity that we constantly read the worst into others. Yet trust must begin
somewhere or the fragile mood of cooperation we have enjoyed for so long will
shatter and we will be back to the twentieth century with all its horrors.
Since the United States
feels so strongly that it is the stronger and more advanced nation, should it
not be the first to risk the act of trusting ?
Morrison spread out his arms :
– I can’t answer that. I’m a private citizen. I do not represent my
– As a private citizen you can help us, knowing that you will not be
harming your own country.
– I can’t possibly know such a thing since I only have your word for it
and I don’t believe you represent your nation any more than I represent mine.
But all this is irrelevant, Natalya. Even if I wanted
to, how on Earth can I help you make miniaturization practical, when I know
nothing about the subject ?
– Be patient. In a while we will have lunch. Dezhnev
and Kalinin will be through with the
deminiaturization of Katinka by then and will join
us, together with one other whom you must meet. Then, after lunch, I will take
you to see Shapirov.
– I’m not sure about that, Natalya. You told
me just a while ago that it would be dangerous for me to meet anyone who really
understood miniaturization. I might learn too much and this might raise
problems with my return to the United
States. Why, then, should I risk seeing Shapirov ?
said , sadly – Shapirov is
an exception. I promise you that you will understand this when you see him. And
you will also understand why we must turn to you.
– That – said Morrison, with the conviction with which he had lately
proclaimed the impossibility of miniaturization –, I will never understand.