• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Rocket Science

So you’re into sci fi? But what about sci fact? Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction…

Each month our very own Voyager Science Queen* will bring you interesting, quirky and downright bizarre tasty morsels from the world of science. And its all completely, totally, 100% true!


The Cartwheel Galaxy
(Photo credit: IYA2009, FETTU, NASA/ESA, P. Appleton, JPL-Caltech, J. Uson, NRAO/AUI and Palomar Sky Survey.)

We’ve all heard that saying ‘it’s not hard, it isn’t rocket science’. This infers that rocket science is complex and complicated, and you have to be very bright to understand it. Nineteen year old Aisha Mustafa, a physics student from Egypt’s Sohag University, has come up with a theory for a new type of fuel-less space-propulsion system using an esoteric physics concept … the Casimir Effect. So, Aisha has come up with a type of rocket science even more complex than balancing a rocket on a controlled explosion.The Casimir Effect is based around the string theory in Quantum Physics; that there is really no such thing as a vacuum and every point in space is an oscillating field, flashing through a range of ‘vibrations’ that we understand as ‘space’, ‘time’, and ‘matter’. If you want a more complex explanation that that … you will probably need to start studying for your Ph.D. in Physics. From my own limited understanding, one of the implications of the Casimir Effect it that it supports the concept of the breakdown of the laws of causality – and causality is where one thing causes something else to happen, one event after another in a logical progression. To me, this is the point where Physics is synonymous with Philosophy.

So, how does Aisha’s design work? Aisha uses shaped silicon plates – similar to the ones used in solar-power cells – placed close together but not touching. The Casimir Effect is the repulsion/attraction that the ‘vibrations’ – quantum particles, matter/anti-matter foam or whatever you want to call it – creates between these plates.  In the vacuum of space, this should create a force that would ‘pull’ or ‘push’, creating the basic thrust of propulsion system. This system works in a vacuum because is no particles of matter to interfere with the creation of this force.

Now, think of the benefits of a fuel-less propulsion system. It can run forever without the need for input from another energy source; in fact, the further it gets into the depths of space the better it should run!  How this might dramatically improve humanity’s ambitions for exploration of the universe, with probes or ships that can propel themselves for eternity. If that thought can’t excite, I don’t know what else can.


*The Voyager Science Queen is also known as Lynne Lumsden Green- find out who she is in About Our Contributors!

2 Responses

  1. Thats pretty cool. Do you have a link to more info on Aisha?

    …and to nitpick, the Casimir effect is ordinary quantum field theory, not string theory. The main difference being that string theory is in no way confirmed, while quite a bit of scientific evidence (and gadgets) supports QFT.

    • From Tsana:
      Thats pretty cool. Do you have a link to more info on Aisha?
      …and to nitpick, the Casimir effect is ordinary quantum field theory, not string theory. The main difference being that string theory is in no way confirmed, while quite a bit of scientific evidence (and gadgets) supports QFT.

      Lynne’s reply:
      I’m sorry, but I don’t have a link to more information on Aisha. What I put in the article is pretty much what everyone knows about her for certain. And … I sit corrected for my confusion between quantum field theory and string theory. I am only a dabbler into the field of Physics. I do apologise for anyone who may find my confusion adding to their own. Alas, I wish I was infallible. I knew I was wading into waters too deep for me when I wrote this article.

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