Paul Gazis is a Greek-American physicist and pilot, striving to uphold the traditions of Athena and Archimedes with the aid of modern microelectronics. Determined since childhood to become a scientist, he attended Caltech as an undergrad and received his PhD from MIT. After graduation, he worked at NASA, Air Force labs, and industry on projects ranging from laser radars, space physics, and Mars rover data analysis, to exoplanet detection and mass spectroscopy, and a successon of spacecraft missions from Pioneer and Voyager to Kepler.
Over the years, he’s studied the solar wind, designed software for medical research devices, and analyzed data from the edge of interstellar space. Along the way, he’s rebuilt old English sports cars, paid his way through grad school by making armor, sailed in major international championships, fought with medieval weapons, watched the sun rise and set over most of the world’s oceans, and flown hang gliders on three different continents. Has some of this experience influenced his writing? Perhaps...
His Majesty's Airship, the Flying Cloud
It’s a world that was, or perhaps a world that might have been. As the Great Powers recoiled, exhausted, from the tragedies of Verdun and the Somme, Woodrow Wilson was able to broker a peace that ended the Great War in 1916. With the forcing ground of military need removed, effort that might have been wasted developing glamorous but impractical aeroplanes was spent perfecting the far more capable airships. Now, ten years later, the world is at peace. Or so everyone hopes.
The Ramships of Agorra
Bussard Ramjets: scooping up interstellar hydrogen to fuel fusion drives that propel them between the stars at close to the speed of light, they’ve been a staple of hard science fiction since Robert Bussard proposed them back in 1960. But how would they work in practice? What are their capabilities and limitations? What would it be like to crew them? How would they function in peace and in war? And how would they shape the civilizations that used themn?
Based on actual physics, our current knowledge of the interstellar medium, and a... realistic?... view of human nature, the Ramships of Agorra series explores these questions. And more.
The Mesotech Wranglers
Our world is filled with tales about The Promise of Nanotechnology, with scenarios that range from benign utopias to technological catastrophes and planets rendered lifeless by the ever-popular ‘grey goo’. Why grey, one wonders? Surely other colors are possible? These tales are all well and good, but they overlook two important problems. First, if engineers want to create nanotechs thgat are more versatile than existing microorganisms, they must compete with billions of years of evolution. This is not a trivial challenge. Second, nanotechs are going to be very small -- that’s what that ‘nano’ bit is all about -- and you can only fit so much capability and travel speed into a machine the size of a bacterium.
An obvious solution to both these problems would be to make your self-replicating automatons a little bit bigger -- the size of a toaster, dishwasher, or truck, perhaps. Then they could incorporate more features, deal with a wider range of environments, and even more important, move from place to place faster than an amoeba. But this might raise problems of its own...