Sunday, May 24, 2015

Character Design: Dr. Sagan Carlyle

It's time for some more science here at Danielle Pajak Illustrations! (Yay!) I've recently completed another character design for my graphic novel idea, Infinity's End. (For more posts on my new graphic novel, check out these three character concept posts I've done, Dr. Sarton, Dr. Aedon, and The Casimir.) So, my next character I am unveiling is Dr. Sagan Carlyle, who is basically BFFs with my main character Dr. Sarton, my very own "Science Bros" if you will. (Sorry, I've seen Avengers Age of Ultron three times already, so I have that on the brain.) Dr. Carlyle is the antithesis to Dr. Sarton, (in many ways similar to how Tony Stark is to Bruce Banner), so I wanted Dr. Carlyle to be someone who looked and felt a little different than the rest of my characters up until this point. He is someone who is more charasmatic and relaxed, and doesn't take himself (or most of anything else) so seriously. Though, he is very passionate about the sciences and tries to push others around him to think outside any form of constraints and to pursue bigger and grander ideas, so he is a strong motivator and speaker. Like Sarton, though, he is also a physicist, but with emphasis on engineering and archictecture (I'll come back to this later). Here are my two concept pieces I completed:

"I'm just a glorified mechanic."

Yes, he is obviously named after Carl Sagan, haha, but the name has importance for his character.
Sagan means "wise one" and Carlyle means "protected tower". Also, it just sounds cool.
I wanted to capture Dr. Carlyle's more cavalier personality through his character design, but still retain the monastic ambiance that I am going for in the whole design of my world. So, as you can see his clothing is looser and not so tight fitting, bringing a more open connotation that is his personality. He also wears an ornament, as you'll notice, which is a significant addition for his ensemble. His contours are dynamic, his posturing a little impudent and debonair, and he is stronger and more aggressive in comparison to Dr. Sarton. Though, overall, he still maintains some of that reserve and conservatism which is valued in the scientific institution in which he works. I am really happy with the way his character concept came out, of which I am more than a little partial, haha. (Is it weird to be in love with your own character?) He will play a significant role in Dr. Sarton's journey, and his being that antithesis to his friend will challenge Sarton in very unexpected ways. I am so excited to tell this story!

Anyway, going back to his being a physcist engineer and architect, as you might remember, quantum physics is the basis for my world. I've been learning so much about it of late as well as other areas of science, and one exciting thing I've learned about is nanotechnology. There is still a ways for it to advance, but the things we can already do are simple amazing! We can move individual atoms and build small structures out of them, moving atoms as if they were merely lego blocks. One accomplishment in nanotechnology was back in 1997, when Cornell University created a guitar that was the size of a human cell! Here is a picture of it:

"The world's smallest guitar is 10 micrometers long -- about the size of a single cell -- with six strings each about 50 nanometers, or 100 atoms, wide. Made by Cornell University researchers from crystalline silicon." - Cornell Chronicle
I think this is just incredible that we have the technology to build with atoms at such a small of scale! Here is something really cool to watch that really shows our current capabilities, the first ever atomic film! Created by moving individual atoms frame by frame! Then you can watch the "making of" video, in which they describe the science behind their little film.




Nanotechnology will only continue to advance, but the fascinating thing is, the smaller and smaller we go (which is why our technologies continue to decrease in size), there will be a point where we won't be able to get any smaller because quantum physics takes over, the wave/particle duality. Technology as we've come to understand it will hit its limit within the very near future, your iPhone or iWatch or storage devices will only take you so far. That is where another crazy concept will take over: quantum computers, which is a whole other fascinating subject in itself. However, returning back to atoms, and using them as building blocks, one of the ideas I want to incorporate in my world is that technology is so advanced, that humanity is able to manipulate the very smallest of small subatomic particles, thereby mastering matter completely. This concept is very similar to the Star Trek replicator, in which Captain Picard always asks for his Earl Grey. This is the same idea, syntheizing materials at a subatomic level. However, in my world, it is taken a step further, where humanity is able to manipulate everything. If they want to create suns, galaxies, planets, make infinitly complex structures, change elements from one to another, anything they literally desired and dreamed, they can do this. Nothing is off limits for them, and so in that way the world of the quantum is magnified and put on display on an universal scale. So, this where my "engineers" and "architects" come in, which they would be the experts in this field. It takes an Engineer to be able to understand the technology and science behind the machines (or as I'm calling them in my world, "quantum simulators") and it takes an Architect to have the skill and artistry to create them. In my world being an Architect is one of the highest and in demand positions because, obviously, people would be needed who have the skill to be able to maintain a society of such capabilities. Since this skill is made possible, ultimately, by science, scientists usually end up just becoming Architects, just so that they can be useful. It is depressing for the scientist in that the practical avenues of their work are so limited, but Dr. Carlyle, in this case, is a very exceptional Architect and Engineer. It is with his help that Dr. Sarton will be able to bring to fruition his theories and ideas in the story.

Before I leave the subject, though, one of the foundational principles, or the science, behind my "quantum simulators" is the Higgs Field. One of the greatest discoveries that has occured recently, was the Higgs Boson. It was a theorized particle (which makes up the Higgs Field), that was thought to give fundamental particles their mass. Well, it was theorized correctly, because it was found in the particle collider at CERN in 2012! Basically, elementary particles (such as quarks and electrons) are given mass as they interact with the Higgs Field, and these elementary particles go on to make larger particles, such as neutrons and protons, then ultimately atoms. So, it would seem to me, that if you were to somehow manipulate the Higgs Field, you would be able to begin to manipulate matter itself, because you could change the structure of subatomic particles by the smaller constituents of subatomic particles. This is the basic idea behind my quantum simulators, though since this is the far advanced future, I am assuming that there are even more infinitly complex quantum fields used for manipulation, because all that we are and see, what gives mass to things, isn't *just* from the Higgs Field (actually most of it isn't!). I'm still trying to piece together basic concepts on the science of my story, but this is one of the foundational elements.

So, as I come to the end of my post, (I hope you've enjoyed all our sciencing!) I'll leave you with one last video that explains Higgs and the elementary particles, and how amazing it is that most of what makes up mass is *not* mass! The masslessness of mass is staggering! O_o



BONUS ARTWORK:
Another completed piece of Dr. Sarton entitled Sacrifice.


He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Giant of Lannister

"Why do you read so much?”

Tyrion looked up at the sound of the voice. Jon Snow was standing a few feet away,
regarding him curiously. He closed the book on a finger and said, “Look at me and tell
me what you see.”

The boy looked at him suspiciously. “Is this some kind of trick? I see you. Tyrion
Lannister.”

Tyrion sighed. “You are remarkably polite for a bastard, Snow. What you see is a dwarf.
You are what, twelve?”

“Fourteen,” the boy said.

“Fourteen, and you’re taller than I will ever be. My legs are short and twisted, and I walk
with difficulty. I require a special saddle to keep from falling off my horse. A saddle of
my own design, you may be interested to know. It was either that or ride a pony. My
arms are strong enough, but again, too short. I will never make a swordsman. Had I
been born a peasant, they might have left me out to die, or sold me to some slaver’s
grotesquerie. Alas, I was born a Lannister of Casterly Rock, and the grotesqueries are all
the poorer. Things are expected of me. My father was the Hand of the King for twenty
years. My brother later killed that very same king, as it turns out, but life is full of these
little ironies. My sister married the new king and my repulsive nephew will be king after
him. I must do my part for the honor of my House, wouldn’t you agree? Yet how? Well,
my legs may be too small for my body, but my head is too large, although I prefer to
think it is just large enough for my mind. I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths
and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his
warhammer, and I have my mind . . . and a mind needs books as a sword needs a
whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” Tyrion tapped the leather cover of the book. “That’s
why I read so much, Jon Snow.”

The boy absorbed that all in silence. He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn,
guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little
of herself in her son. “What are you reading about?” he asked.

“Dragons,” Tyrion told him.

“What good is that? There are no more dragons,” the boy said with the easy certainty of
youth.

“So they say,” Tyrion replied. “Sad, isn’t it? When I was your age, used to dream of
having a dragon of my own.”

“You did?” the boy said suspiciously. Perhaps he thought Tyrion was making fun of him.
“Oh, yes. Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he’s
seated on a dragon’s back.” Tyrion pushed the bearskin aside and climbed to his feet. “I
used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours,
pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I’d imagine my father burning. At other
times, my sister.” Jon Snow was staring at him, a look equal parts horror and
fascination. Tyrion guffawed. “Don’t look at me that way, bastard. I know your secret.
You’ve dreamt the same kind of dreams.”


Excerpt from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11