Shrink RaysMarch 17, 2011
A shrink ray is any device which uses energy to reduce the physical size of matter. Although the laws of quantum physics don’t allow the miniaturizing of atoms and shrink rays do not exist (perhaps with the exception of electromagnetic forming) they feature quite prominently in popular fantasy and science fiction. For The Incredible Shrinking Man any shrink based desire is worth an investigation. In virtual reality, in MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft and Second Life, where man is less confined to the limits of the possible, shrink rays are often used to live out certain fantasmal scenario’s. There’s also a vast collection of amateur D.I.Y. shrink films on Youtube. In popular Hollywood movies like Dr. Cyclops and Honey I shrunk the kids the ray often becomes a representation of the dark side of science, or the fact that we can’t control its outcome.
According to sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov miniaturization doesn’t actually make sense unless you miniaturize the very atoms of which matter is composed, and that is impossible. For the Incredible Shrinking Man however, the primary importance is its prominent existence in our imagination. How do we connect the desire it represents to the motives of our investigation?