Re: Setting the controls for the sun

Anders Sandberg (
Mon, 18 Aug 1997 15:53:17 +0200 (MET DST)

On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Dan Clemmensen wrote:

> The question, of course, is whether
> or not neutronium can exist in the form of collapsed atoms.
> If so, some sort of chemistry should be possible, and therefore
> nonotech may be possible.

The chemistry in _Dragons Egg_ was based on the atoms near the
surface of the neutron star; their behavior can be quite complex
(magentically stabilized ultra-strong whiskers is one possibility I
like) but it is the neutronium itself which is interesting.

> Otherwise, neutronium may end up being either a "neutron soup" or
> a "neutron crystal." If "soup", there may not be enough structure
> to support computation.

Unfortunately this seems to be the most likely state, a superliquid
of neutronium. But do not despair, it would contain flux tubes for
angular momentum and magnetic fields, which perhaps could do some
neat trick (I think they are to sparse to be a truly dense computer
though, judging from my reading on neutron stars). In fact neutron
stars might contain both proton and neutron superfluids, with
independent flux tubes.

My best bet is on quark matter, that could be an excellent substrate
for intelligence. See Baxter's _Flux_ for a fictional treatment with
plenty of hard science for how nuclear, neutronium and quark life
could co-exist.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y