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Spinel's avatar

Let's say you had the ability to turn your body temporarily into any of the five states of matter. Would you use this ability? What would you use it for?

Asked by Spinel (3220points) January 31st, 2010

The fives states of matter are:

1. Gas. Gases can expand or be compressed to almost unbelievable sizes. Some examples are oxygen and helium.
2. Liquid. A liquid takes the shape of its container and the surface is not as “strict” as that of a solid. A liquid can stretch and change shape. An example? Water.
3. Solid. The state your computer or your ipod’s in. A solid resists shape changes.
4. Plasma. Plasmas are electrically charged gases. An example of this would be fluorescent lights.
5. Bose-Einstein Condensate. This state only exists slightly above absolute zero. It’s when all atoms attain the same quantum-mechanical state. I can’t think of an example of this one.

So, if you could will your body to change into any of these fives states at any time, would you? What would you do with such an ability – how would you use it? Would you feel comfortable with this ability?

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24 Answers

naivete's avatar

Gas. Specifically oxygen. Right now, I just don’t want to be seen.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Gas. I can fly with this form. And liquid. I can turn into other object/people in shape.

Les's avatar

My brother would have you know that there are many more than 5 states of matter

But if I had to pick, I’d be a Bose Einstein Condensate. I like the cold.

JONESGH's avatar

I want to say gas so I can fly and be invisible, but can people inhale me? That would be traumatic.

Fred931's avatar

Option 5 sounds freaking awesome, so I’d have to go with that.

wundayatta's avatar

Plasma. I think that plasma is more organizable and might even be capable of supporting some form of sentient life.

Then again, it’s hard to imagine being uniformly one thing. These things tend to be under the control of other things, and are not able to will anything. They just work as they work. As a human, I can think and I feel like I’m making choices and exerting control in the world.

As one of these states I would be giving up my life—except, of course, if the state I chose could support life. Perhaps plasma could support a self-organizing, self-perpetuating form of existence. I doubt if any of the other states could. All in all, I don’t think I’d choose any of them. I’d rather remain human.

And since I don’t believe turning into one of those states would allow me to remain human, I guess I wouldn’t “use” it for anything. It would be the other way around. I would be used by nature, or possibly by other life forms.

Trillian's avatar

I’d have to go with gas. I read a really cool concept in a Piers Anthony book once. This girl was an incarnation. She could get bigger and bigger, kind of diffuse so that she was larger than the planet itself. Then she could reduce herself back in size in any location on the planet and kind of phase back into solidity when she was where she wanted to be. How cool would that be?
I’d visit places I’ve always wanted to see, like the lakes of Kashmir, and the Himalayas. Pretty much all of Nepal. I’d set in motion every prayer wheel I could find. I’d see for myself the mountains called “The Far Pavilions” that I fell in love with years ago in a movie. I’d go to Scotland, Ireland and Wales. I’d go to Peru for the Ayahuasca experience. And the South Pole. Actually, I’d go spend time at both poles. I’d go see for myself New Zealand, and spend a small amount of time at the Great Barrier Reef. I’d find places to stand and watch the Orcas. And Beluga Whales. And I’d go to where I could see the displays of the Aurora Borealis. And for the Perseids in August and the Leonids in November I’d go find the best places to watch them.
Ask me if I’ve given this much thought.

Spinel's avatar

@Les Proposed states? :) The five I mentioned are currently the most widely accepted. Still though, I did’t know there might be more. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

Chongalicious's avatar

Liquid so I can slide under doors and things! (Mr. Fantastic!!!)
Gas so I can sneak around unnoticed! (Invisible Woman!)
Solid so I can clobber things :) (The Thing!)
And even though fire isn’t a state of matter, who wouldn’t want to be Human Torch??

So this thread just helped me realize where the Fantastic Four come from. Thanks! :D

I’d want to be plasma just because it sounds cool haha.
And that 5th thing, It’d be pretty awesome just in knowing how mysterious you are by being Bose-Einstein Condensate. :)

So to sum it up, I want to be a master of morphing between all the states!

Spinel's avatar

@Trillian Have you written an essay on this before? ;)

@Chongalicious Lol! I was thinking of the Torch as I typed this. ;)

Trillian's avatar

@Spinel, no. Actually, I’ve just thought disconnected bits of this at different times. I am in the process of earning a degree in Technical Writing however, and fancy myself a writer on the odd occasion.

Chongalicious's avatar

@Spinel haha hooray for comic nerds! :P

Bugabear's avatar

Actually I’d rather turn into a superfluid. Then I’d have no viscosity and I could go up walls :)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’d just as soon convert to pure energy. No one who knows me would ever suspect it of me.

VanCityKid's avatar

Probably gas, because then I’d be able to fly….somewhat I guess, I wouldn’t be helium or anything lighter than oxygen for sure. Liquid would be pretty sweet as well.

Oxymoron's avatar

I would choose to be a gas. It would be awesome to be able to squeeze myself into small spaces. Plus, no one would be able to see me as long as I wasn’t a colored gas.

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CyanoticWasp's avatar

Some days it seems to turn into gas and liquid all on its own, and there’s little or nothing I can do to stop it.

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mattbrowne's avatar

I’d opt for a quark-gluon plasma or quark soup. I always wanted to know what the super-solid interiors of neutron stars look like. Provided that someone will unsquash me afterwards.

Trillian's avatar

@mattbrowne. you didn’t by chance read Dragons Egg, did you?

mattbrowne's avatar

@Trillian – It’s on my reading list. Did you? Astrophysics is utterly fascinating. And I’m a proponent of hard science fiction, of course. Are you too?

Trillian's avatar

@mattbrowne several times. It’s a favorite. I like the hard stuff where all the equations match, I like the complete fantasy, so Niven, Brin, and Farmer. ;-)

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