The painting “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” by Pablo Picasso became the most expensive in the world when it sold for $106M at Christie’s in New York in 2010. However, if you had a copy, a fake, one that looked identical but was not the original, it would be worth a tiny fraction of that, maybe the cost of the materials required to make it plus a bit for it aesthetic value.
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But what if you took all the atoms of the original and changed them for identical new atoms, so that it looked exactly the same. Would it still the be same the painting that Picasso painted in 1932 and would it still be worth $106M, if you knew that it had a total atom transplant.
Edward Page Mitchell was an editorial and short story writer for a daily newspaper called The Sun in New York city in the late 1800’s. Mitchell was one of the first sci-fi writers and is now regarded as a major figure of the genera but most of his articles were published anonymously in the newspaper instead of books, so he was never become as popular as some of his contemporaries like HG wells.
The story “The Crystal Man” written in 1881 about a man who made invisible by science was 16 years before HG wells’ “The invisible Man”.
Other works like the 1881 story “The clock that went backwards” was the first instance of a time machine being used for time travel and the first instance of a temporal paradox, and it also predates HG wells “The time machine” by 14 years.
Other stories include The “Tachypomp” written in 1874 about faster than light travel and “The Ablest Man in the World” about a thinking computer and a cyborg was written in 1879 but “The Man without a body” of 1877 was one of the first stories about the teleportation of matter.
In the popular sci-fi series Star Trek, the transporter is meant to dematerialize matter in one place then rematerialize it else where, teleporting the object or person within seconds.
In his book “The Physics of Star Trek” Lawrence Krauss looks at how such a transporter might work in the real world. In order to dematerialise matter, the binding energy of the atoms and all of their component parts, the quarks would have to be overcome. To do this you would have to heat the matter to 1 trillion degrees to unbind the quarks and at that temperature the matter would lose its mass and become radiation. The amount of energy required to dematerialise a human sized sample would be in the order of a 100 megaton nuclear weapon.
Now assuming that we could overcome all the problems involving quantum mechanics to make such a teleporter system that didn’t vaporise the transporter and could beam you from one point to another, even if it was a 100% verbatim copy of the original, would your personality, your consciousness, your soul, spirit or what ever you might want to call “you” still be you.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Author: P C III
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0