Meet The Real Life Zefram Cochrane

In an unassuming garage, in the middle of Nebraska, the strangest, most exciting thing is being attempted. In testament to boundless enthusiasm, creativity, and raw guts worthy of the fictional Cochrane, an adjunct proffesor with the University of Nebraska may have created the first man-made warp bubble in history. And yes, he did it in his garage.

David Pares, adjunct proffesor, University of Nebraska, has a garage that in many ways looks just like mine. Things stacked up to the celling, stuff piled everywhere, little trails to allow you to get through the confusion. But all that comes out of my garage is botulism. David Pares’ garage is giving birth to the future. He spends much of his free time here, when he’s not teaching one of his 12 courses a year at the University of Nebraska. His work centers around a Faraday cage, a laser and what appears to be a machine made of circuit boards printed with a series of repeating fractal designs. To date his success has been small but measurable. Using as much as 200 watts of power he has been able to remotely effect solid objects, in this case a 3.5 lb weight, using only the force, whatever that force is, created by the inexplicable machine. He says he is compressing the fabric of space. 

His research has gotten a positive mod from a small handful of physicists but most in the community seem to believe that his discovery is premature at best. 

“A lot of people are going to flat-out dismiss it off the top, but I think he’s crossed some kind of bridge here,” Jack Kasher, a retired physicist, says.

Kasher goes on to say that NASA may well show interest in Pares research, drawing an analogy between the maverick researcher and the and two bycicle mechanics tinkering away in their own garage and effecting the course of mankind forever. The Wright brothers analogy seems appropriate. They too were shunned by their peers in their early attempts at flight until that one fateful day on a wind swept beach in Kitty Hawk. 

One of the possibly insurmountable obstacles to warp drive, the direction Pares believes his research is taking him, is the enormous amount of energy that science shows is required to power such a machine, somewhere on the order of a sun’s worth of energy, or more, to generate this unnatural bending of the fabric of space. Pare has a different belief. He believes that warp bubbles occur naturally and relatively frequently on the surface of the earth. His proof is anecdotal but he points to a handful of tales, events experienced by pilots in which planes, traveling in proximity to severe thunderstorms, seem to have inexplicably traveled hundreds of miles in a matter of seconds in some cases. Pares theory is that the extreme electrical activity involved in those thunderstorms may literally be bending space. The idea that intense electrical activity can effect space is supported by the physics community, that thunderstorms create warp bubbles, not so much. 

And yet, Pares’ machine is doing something, going beyond moving a weight remotely. In laboratory tests the machine was suspended from a scale and turned on. The scale recorded a 3 gram change in weight, indicating to the observers a generation of at least some kind of repulsive or attractive force. 

It’s a small start, but if Pares is right, and he stays true to his course, the man may be about to help the human race boldly go. I think Zephram would be proud. 

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