The non-science of Fringe: Momentum Deferred

Fringe: Season 2: Episode 4: “Momentum Deferred”

Physics is a bitch.

Physics is a bitch.

“Are you Olivia Dunham?” Shapeshifting cyborgs from the future another dimension start combing the area for mercury and frozen heads. The usual impossibilities aside, this episode was refreshingly easy to watch.

This episode is debunked at Popular Mechanics and Polite Dissent, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Random thoughts

No, you cannot gain the memories or experience of things that you eat – if you could, all meat-eaters would start lusting after fields of grass and become wary of men in overalls. It’s possible that Walter’s worms contained some psychoactive material, like the Colorado river toads from season one.

If I were faced with bodies bleeding mercury, I wouldn’t have handled them as casually as Walter did – examination in an unventilated room without masks? Crazy.

I’m sure that the parallels to Terminator 2 here have passed no-one by, in fact the T-1000’s “mimetic polyalloy” might have been a little more believable than mercury. I have high hopes for someone saying, “Come with me if you want to live,” in a future episode.

Nina fluffs the Pauli exclusion principle a little – in general chemistry, it’s usually expressed as, “two identical fermions cannot have the same quantum state at the same time.” A fermion is a type of particle (common examples include protons, neutrons and electrons), and a quantum state is a collection of properties that completely describe said particle. This can be extended into a general statement about matter (which is mostly made up of fermions), but it would go something like, “no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time with the same energy.” Physics is a bitch, eh?


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