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Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes (Springer Praxis Books) [Kindle Edition]

James F. Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

To create the exotic materials and technologies needed to make stargates and warp drives is the holy grail of advanced propulsion. A less ambitious, but nonetheless revolutionary, goal is finding a way to accelerate a spaceship without having to lug along a gargantuan reservoir of fuel that you blow out a tailpipe. Tethers and solar sails are conventional realizations of the basic idea.

There may now be a way to achieve these lofty objectives. “Making Starships and Stargates” will have three parts. The first will deal with information about the theories of relativity needed to understand the predictions of the effects that make possible the “propulsion” techniques, and an explanation of those techniques. The second will deal with experimental investigations into the feasibility of the predicted effects; that is, do the effects exist and can they be applied to propulsion? The third part of the book – the most speculative – will examine the question: what physics is needed if we are to make wormholes and warp drives? Is such physics plausible?  And how might we go about actually building such devices? This book pulls all of that material together from various sources, updates and revises it, and presents it in a coherent form so that those interested will be able to find everything of relevance all in one place.

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From the Back Cover

What is needed to get around the galaxy quickly has been known in science fiction since at least the 1960s TV's Star Trek made famous "warp drive" and a bunch of attendant, less well-known "technologies." Some of the episodes even featured "stargates," portals to the distant past or future. Until the 1980s, all this was regarded in the serious scientific community as speculative, if entertaining, silliness. That situation changed when Kip Thorne, instigated by Carl Sagan, reverse engineered the general relativistic requirements for any technology purporting to enable such rapid spacetime transport. The key requirement that Thorne identified was the creation of a Jupiter mass of "exotic" matter - that is, matter with negative rest mass. Thorne's work put discussion of rapid spacetime transport on the public agenda of serious science. It also set the benchmark for what has to be done to achieve truly advanced propulsion. Being able to create the stupendous exotic mass of stuff needed to make stargates and warp drives is the holy grail of advanced propulsion. A less ambitious, but nonetheless revolutionary, goal is finding a way to accelerate a spaceship without having to lug along a gargantuan reservoir of fuel. And this may be possible. There has been progress on both the theoretical and experimental fronts since early 1990s. Making Stars and Stargates has three parts. The first discusses the theories of relativity needed to understand the possible propulsion techniques. The second addresses experimental investigations into the feasibility of the predicted effects; that is, do the effects exist, and can they be applied to propulsion? The third part of the book - the most speculative - examines the questions: What physics is needed if we are to make wormholes and warp drives? Is such physics plausible? And how might we go about actually building such devices?

About the Author

Dr. James F. Woodward is a professor of history emeritus and adjunct professor of physics at California State University Fullerton. Jim earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at Middlebury College and New York University (respectively) in the 1960s. From his undergraduate days, his chief interest was in gravitation. For his Ph.D., he changed to the history of science, writing a dissertation on the history of attempts to deal with the problem of “action-at-a-distance” in gravity theory from the 17th to the early 20th centuries (Ph.D., University of Denver, 1972). On completion of his graduate studies, Jim took a teaching job in the history of science at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), where he has been ever since. Shortly after his arrival at CSUF, he established friendships with colleagues in the Physics Department who helped him set up a small-scale, table-top experimental research program doing offbeat experiments related to gravitation – experiments which continue to this day. In 1980, the faculty of the Physics Department elected Jim to an adjunct professorship in the department in recognition of his ongoing research.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10606 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Springer New York; 1 edition (15 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461456231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461456230
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #644,302 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for AQA A2 Physics project 25 April 2013
By Joanne K. Pilsworth VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son, as he was having to write a report for his A2 Physics course on the practical possibilities of a mission to Mars. The report had to be written from a Physics perspective and was supposed to entail indepepdent study, so he needed information which included the Physics equations etc. (I am a biology and chemistry graduate, so know nothing about Physics).

Based on my son's response, this book really fills a gap. I liked particularly that it was a recent book, which is very important in some areas of science. I liked also the step-wise approach taken by the author. And, let's face it, if a book can be read by a reluctant A-level student, then it can't be bad at all.

Overall, if you find your offspring in a similar situation of needing more advanced material than provided by the school, then I recommend this book highly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Synopsis 1 Feb. 2013
By Kurt Schoedel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Woodward's book is a very good overview of the theory of Mach's principle as well as the technical issues involved in the realization of technology based on it. The book is divided into three sections. The first is the theory. This is an explanation of Mach's principle, the history of its derivation, and how it relates to GRT and SRT, The second section details the experimental work over the past two decades and the issues involved. The third section is the direction of future work needed and design issues to realize technology based on Mach's Principle (mostly wormhole generators). This third section is quite speculative, but is solidly grounded in the theory of the first section and the experimental results of the second section.

Having followed Dr. Woodward's work over the past 3-4 years, I am convinced that his ideas are the ONLY possibility of a propulsion breakthrough (propellant-less "spacedrive" and traversable wormholes) that could allow for cheap, rapid space transport offered by physics. I have read enough of his experimental research (both through this book as well as other sources) to be convinced that his ideas are real.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it is readable. 17 May 2013
By R. Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The essential disclosure: The author and his work have ties to my place of business, the Space Studies Institute (founded by Princeton Physicist Gerard O'Neill). There are some very smart and highly educated people among the membership of SSI and they very strongly support the book and the hard work behind it.

That said, I was not a member of SSI when I first heard of, bought and read this book for myself. And I am not penning this review in any official role for my organization.

When I purchased the book on its release I was just a regular space/science interested person who had tried some "extreme science" books before that said 'even a layman can understand this' and usually found the statement to be incorrect for my level of laymanism. This book however IS accessible to me where it counts and I have and will recommend it.

Not all of it is readable for me. When the math parts come up even a slide rule would not save me ;-). As to whether the math itself works as he describes, I can not say. But the author does a very good job of writing comprehendible prose to frame contexts and introduce the math segments so that the ideas make sense. The whole book works this way, basing new material on what has already been fully explained, and so in the end it is a satisfying read.

I believe that most anyone with a high school or higher general understanding of math and physics and a desire to look at the cutting edges of practical science will get something out of this book. Geniuses will likely get far more out of the details, but there are more of us regular people than brilliant ones and it is to 'us folks' that I address this: It is not dry at all, the background and historical information is written very conversationally. I even laughed at couple of the jokes (I hope they were jokes, I thought they were).

I wish that I were more educated in the types of Maths used in the book, but even without that personal education I made it through to the end in a matter of days with an understanding of Mach basics, new things to ponder and some cautious excitement for the potentials that Dr. Woodward spells out.

And THEN I joined SSI :-).

Try it. I look forward to reading more reviews, hopefully somewhere between mine and the ones who speak fluently in numbers.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book introducing space travel that is much more realistic than Star Wars. 8 Mar. 2013
By M. A. Khakoo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Woodward addresses the possibility of space travel using mechanical propulsion linking electromagnetic fields with gravity fields along the lines of Mach's principle. This is not crazy stuff, but courageous and very possible stuff. It is important that humanity takes such work extremely seriously as our survival (once all our fossil fuel account is depleted) depends on such ideas as far fetched as they might be. Only the foolish would ignore such work.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of game changing science 3 Nov. 2013
By D - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the search for the principles behind new propulsion and transport methods, this book is a treasure trove of science - not engineering - with both groundbreaking theory within mainstream physics and actual experiments producing results no matter how small. The emphasis is on propellantless propulsion and impulse drive.

The interesting part of the theory is twofold. First, there is one equation with three terms that provides the physics of impulse, warp and wormhole. Only the Tardis is not discussed. Second, NASA has for over a decade been unable to refute the theory or experiments.

As a whole, the book is a good read by telling the background in stories and implying that giant leaps are often the result of many small steps. Must read for every science, aerospace and engineering student.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the math put you off 15 Sept. 2014
By lawboss - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title to the book is interesting--and sounds like something a publisher would push on an author. The read, however, is intriguing at many different levels. I've read the book several times and each time come away with something new. I understand the purpose of inserting the math and while it detracts a little from the read the concepts were not hard to follow. The science behind the math was insightful and well explained. Dr. Woodward is the type of individual that would be a wonderful dinner guest....he has a broad grasp of the subject matter (adding a nice historical backdrop to the read) and from what little I have been able to find about him on YouTube ...he appears to have a good sense of humor and a great deal of patience. These attributes come through in the book as well.
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