My friend Scott posted something on facebook about Sir Isaac Newton's battle against a counterfieter. Apparently, he was in charge of the mint for a period of time and had to battle against a very skilled and intelligent counterfeiter. This lead to a brief discussion about using this a source material for stories. One of the suggestions was the possibility that his alchemy research actually bore results. A group of commenters posited a steampunk world where Sir Isaac Newton serves as a detective, or at least continues his role at the mint.
This led to the following ideas in my de-sugared brain:
- The counterfeiter, William Chaloner, develops a semi-functioning philosopher's stone to make gold coins.
- The philosopher's stone is essentially a battery with an insane amount of energy, thus providing the energy required to change lead to gold. (After all, you have to add protons to change lead to gold, so we're going nuclear!)
- To produce the philosopher's stone, Chaloner develops a type of diamond anvil that compresses tiny sheets of tin or pewter into a super-material that converts mechanical energy into chemical energy.
- This machine uses a massive hydraulic device to produce the force large enough to perform this change.
- Chaloner walks on a platform that slowly descends three stories. The sheets of tin/pewter are placed on top of the diamond anvil on the other cylinder. Although the other cylinder is several feet in diameter, it only raises less than 1/4 of an inch. The diamond anvil itself is very small due to the price of diamonds, but the resulting supermaterial can be stacked together to create a powerful battery. It takes quite a bit of time to create one battery.
- The battery is only good for one use, but that one use generates eight to twelve pounds of gold.
- In theory, it can be recharged, but it would take quite a long time using waterwheels or various other techniques available at the time.
- Sir Isaac Newton improves upon the battery, but find that it can power all manner of things for a very long time (years).
The linkdump approches. Sources are named.
Here are the links of supporting information. Yes, this is still not entirely possible according to the known laws of the universe, but it is at-least a bit more plausible to me:
Book about Sir Isaac Newton working at the Kings Mint.
A look at Alchemy, thanks to Khan Academy.
Wikipedia's thoughts on energy storage.
What is a diamond anvil actually? (My diamond anvil is loosely based on this.)
Resource for diamond cutting information.
And, of course, hydraulic machinery.
Chew on that for the weekend. Maybe I can work on it in December. 🙂