Quantum Physics, String Theory And The Origins Of Bryce Maxwell...

I am often confronted over the origins of the character Bryce Maxwell, and my interest and knowledge of Quantum Mechanics.

From the early mid-course of 2001 and through into January of 2003, I had a good coworker for whom I worked as a P/A (Programmer/Analyst) out at Lakeshore Avenue West near Royal York Road. That was a rough time in my life, as its when I first uncovered the fact that there had been a somewhat nasty group of people who seem to take delight in wreaking havoc with the lives of others. Don't mistake this post as a vent or griping session. Consider this more as a primer and background to where The Two Dragons story-line
is venturing into the unknown.

At that time there had been a lot of change in the lives of people I know and cared for, and certainly within my life as well, and as a result of my own shortcomings and misgivings. If the real life gremlins aren't to be taken for granted, then you'd better be prepared to admit and acknowledge your own mistakes, shortcomings and failures. Like the post mortem for any chapter of your life, there's going to be triumphs and tragedies, and not always in harmonious amounts. Those that happen as a result of or in spite of your own efforts. Those that arise from these mysterious tricksters to whom I referred as the gremlins. Finally, those that happen as part of the luck of the draw.

At that time, I happened to have an immense interest in physics, from both the standpoint of String Theory and Quantum Mechanics, though I was much more fascinated with the analog aspects of String Theory while having a growing interest in the particulate and wave function views prominent in Quantum Mechanics. Actually, in both Quantum Mechanics and String Theory, the wave function f(x) is the most common tool, but functions very differently in each.

My employer at that time, whose name is John Marshall, was dedicated to Quantum Mechanics and expressed a lot of interest in the variety of Quantum Computing Simulators that were in development at the time. So his reputation was connected to Quantum Mechanics, while my reputation had somewhat become entangled (forgive the pun) with String Theory.

John and I talked a great deal about either subject, and he was the first person to introduce me to Quantum Computing Simulation, which are basically like virtual machines that run on classical computers, and are capable of running Quantum Computations on a stack of virtual q-bits, albeit very, very, very slowly. These simulators were good at demonstrating the principles behind Quantum Computing, but were labourious to use, even for simple calculations.

So, with this dynamic in place, and John representing the world of Quantum Mechanics and I representing the world of String Theory (despite my early interest in Quantum Mechanics), as part of a much bigger social game and stratos of which I'm now completely aware, from the point nearly almost a decade later when I created the character Bryce Maxwell, it was assumed that I'd taken the whole association of being interested in Quantum Mechanics from my coworker and friend John Marshall. This was added to a long list of other such claims with regard to aspects of my own life, and own creative decisions, whereby this notorious group of gremlins laid the groundwork for taking anything  that isn't firmly nailed down to the life of another person.

So let's first deal with that aspect, and my interest in Quantum Mechanics, because it actually began much earlier than when I first met and came to know John Marshall. It also relates to an homage to another author whose written works were amongst my favourite of books to read.

I received the Michael Crichton book Timeline in 1999, as a gift from my father (David) for my birthday. He and my own girlfriend at that time both knew that I was a big reader, and had been reading his books since the late 1980s. The book Timeline, deals with time travel, as a research tool for the study of history, by allowing researchers to go back in time to specific dates. The entire premise is founded upon principles well grasped at that time, while the calculations for manipulating time and space, and the immensely powerful magnets that are used to warp time/space are all conducted by a Quantum Computer. The first Quantum Computer, built by a corporation who is using them for research. Remember, this book was published in November of 1999 (hence I received it for my mid November birthday upon its release, still warm from the press). 

I hadn't met John Marshall at that point in time, so I didn't have any contact with any advocates of Quantum Computing. The way I related Quantum Computing to the current revolution of classical computers, was akin to the introduction of 3D accelerated hardware to home and business computers of that time. Hardware that was in its early infancy back then. I remember telling a friend who used to invest in tech stocks, that Diamond 3D, 3DFX and NVidia were manufacturers that innovated 3D hardware, while respecting the three initial API offerings (OpenGL, Glide and Direct3D which was at version 3.0 at that time). 

OpenGL already had a long and respected history for its conciseness and strict API guidelines for compliance. These elements were vital for its role in the sciences and in film, especially its support on Sun and Silicon Graphics workstations. Glide was 3DFX's attempt to standardize an API targeting the gaming market, while Direct3D was Microsoft's attempt to replace its aging GDI (a graphics API for Windows based computers) with its new DirectDraw technology, which was much faster and gave software vendors a "direct interface" to the underlying graphics hardware.

My investor friend at that time apparently did quite well, as Diamond 3D's products eventually went on to become a part of ATI, with Diamond having created the Radeon brand, both of which are now a part of AMD. NVidia eventually gobbled up 3DFX, and is one of the leading manufacturers of accelerated 3D and AI hardware. The 3D hardware market is a multi-billion dollar market, for the sciences, business and trading, content production and entertainment. Just to give you an idea, the Quantum Computing  revolution is being touted as having more of an impact than than the invention of the wheel. That's a pretty big claim, but given what may become possible as a result, it very well could be true.

So, essentially, I was onboard for Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing back in 1999, a full two years before I'd met John Marshall, especially after having read Michael Crichton's book, Timeline. I'd earlier felt that he'd hit the bullseye with his novel Jurassic Park (a book which I purchased in the same week it was released in 1990), especially where it came to DNA technology. If you have any doubts about that, then you obviously haven't heard anything about how CRISPR has already revolutionized medicine and hobbyist DNA technology.

ALERT: Jurassic Park Book Spoilers Ahead

Speaking of which, Jurassic Park introduces the character Ian Malcolm, a charismatic, if not somewhat narcissistic mathematician who lives a cliché life more like a rock star than a scientist. He's even presented in the book as somewhat of an arrogant womanizer. Much the same, the character John Hammond was a cut-throat devious CEO, obsessed with bringing his dinosaur flea circus to market, with near the same obsession as Captain Ahab. Though Malcolm redeems himself by standing firmly against the park, and any attempts by humanity to capitalize the technology of life, both he and Hammond die as a result of the events that eventually lead to the collapse of the park's safety systems. Hammond is eaten alive by the equivalent of dinosaur rats, a swarm of Compsognathi. Malcolm dies as a result of his injuries sustained from the attack of the T-Rex when the electrical power of the security fences first dies.

However, in 1993, Steven Spielberg, Jeff Goldblum and Ghandi director Sir Richard Attenborough (David Attenborough's brother), brought a much different interpretation of the same characters to the big screen, turning Ian Malcolm into a more loveable rather than scientifically prophetic character, while John Hammond became Walt Disney, trying to bring dinosaurs to all the children of the world, laying the burden of blame for the disaster entirely upon the corporate espionage of the company Ingen.

Speaking of, in the late 1980s, still very much having been into reading and science, especially through the pages of my favourite magazine of all time, Omni Magazine which I'd begun reading from its very first issue nearly a decade earlier, my heroes were all writers and scientists. Amongst them, I was often fascinated by Ayn Rand, Richard Feynmann (a Quantum Physicist and musician), Isaac Asimov and my two favourite horror authors, Clive Barker and Stephen King. Before that, I was a big fan of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne and Herbert George Wells. I've also read numerous Dean R. Koontz novels. John Grisham and when it comes to espionage and military, Tom Clancy, and that's just a small smattering of books and authors I've read. So, with my early introduction to Richard Feynmann, he eventually became the model for what would become Bryce Maxwell, namely based upon his work in Quantum Physics, and because his love of music and performance, like someone whom I know personally, and love and admire. Richard Feynmann was the initial inspiration behind what became Bryce Maxwell on the front of science, but musically, and in terms of his moral compass and heart, it was someone else.

Jeff Goldblum's interpretation of Ian Malcolm was perfect for cinema, and served to create a doorway for a character like Bryce Maxwell, but really that kudos goes to Michael Crichton, for bringing the world's attention and interest to the world of science, through characters like Ian Malcolm (despite his somewhat swarthy womanizing nature in the book), and nearly two and a half decades earlier, the characters Doctor Jeremy Stone and Doctor Mark Hall in his book Andromeda Strain, and eventually his movie of the same name. Bryce Maxwell combines two very important people from my life into one character. One I knew personally, while the other I came to know through their writing. However, my interest in science, and certainly with Quantum Physics was always there, albeit I spent my time reading about alternative theories like String Theory, whose applications are considerably less practical but whose theoretical applications are mind boggling.

I hope that explains things and clears the air with regard to the origins of my character Bryce Maxwell, who echoes both my love of science and music, but represents two of the most influencing people in my life in both of those aspects. One a prolific writer of science fiction and adventure stories, the other a musician, thinker and philosopher that directly played a big part in my life.

200 Sherbourne Street Suite 701, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
and fav.inbox@gmail.com (they both come to the same person, me).