Thor’s hammer explained: Mjolnir-centrism!

Having a conversation with my friend, Wolf (yes, that is his name – I’m not just getting high and talking to wild animals, pretending they are conversing with me, though I can understand why someone may think that given my relationship with my dog), we got on to the inevitable subject that all Marvel comics fans do at least several times a year – How does Thor’s hammer work?

confused-wolf-10247648

My insight was spurred by this conversation and by a recollection of a conversation from the Big Bang theory, in which Penny, Bernadette and Amy were arguing over if you could pick up Thor’s hammer in space. Their conversation focused on the semantics of the word “up”, which is meaningless in space – and however amusing and insightful about space itself, this didn’t really answer the question.

thor hammer big bang

However, my mind began to race, thinking about the fact that only certain people can ever MOVE Thor’s hammer.

Now, go with me on this (famous last words).

If an object is in space and you somehow push it, Newton’s 3rd law states that the same force you exert pushing that object will also be exerted on you in the opposite direction.

As Newton states:

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.”

Or, as wikipedia summarizes it:

“When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.”

And his first law states:

“Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.

Or, again, according to wikipedia:

“When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

Now, this presents us with a problem. If I am in space and I push against Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer, for those who are inexplicably reading this but who don’t know what Mjolnir is), Newton’s laws state that I should move Mjolnir and that I should also be moved backwards. I may move it only very little, but I will move it.

However, Mjolnir, apparently, should not move at all.

This has a profound implication for physics. For Mjolnir must, therefore, represent THE preferred frame of reference for the universe – in fact, it must be the center of the universe. And there must be some kind of technology which enables only certain people (or a certain person) to allow Mjolnir to move the rest of the universe around it.

This makes sense, with everything that we observe it doing.

Think about it – we see Mjolnir appear too heavy to lift, no matter what force is applied to it, and yet it doesn’t go smashing through a glass coffee table when it is rested upon it, as such a heavy object should.

Now, we could say that there’s some convoluted technology that is close to magic, which allows it to have a perfectly balanced anti-gravity mechanism that perfectly allows it to adjust its apparent weight appropriately.

Tyson-Tweet-thor

OR we could say that it is the center of the universe, and that it isn’t falling through the coffee table because the coffee table is not moving relative to Mjolnir at that point in time.

Sounds great to me….

fry idea

And then we have the way Mjolnir appears to fly around finding Thor’s hand via strange trajectories through space at incredible velocities – and yet stopping it’s motion magically just in time for him to grab it, without him flying backwards with its momentum.

Well instead, Mjolnir, as the center of the universe, is moving the entire universe around itself in the most efficient trajectory until the point at which Thor’s hand occupies the same space, and it then stops the universe from moving around it. This is perfectly in keeping with Newton’s laws of motion, if Mjolnir is the center of the universe, and the universe is being made to move around it. It doesn’t send Thor flying backwards with any momentum, because essentially there is no momentum.

Then there is the incredible way that Thor wields Mjolnir – striking things all over the place, whilst the amount they appear to fly or have damage inflicted seems quite arbitrary to the momentum Thor would be imparting to the hammer with his swing.

Instead of Thor wielding the hammer like a mason, and giving the hammer momentum, Mjolnir is moving the universe around it appropriately enough to cause the exact damage it wants to the people or objects it strikes – by making them hit it with the required force and then fly away with the appropriate trajectory.

This would also explain how Mjolnir allows Thor to fly. He isn’t flying – he’s just moving the entire universe around him, as he’s holding Mjolnir.

Image credit: Thor Visionaries : Walt Simonson volume 1, taken from http://www.comicsrecommended.com/articles/marvel/thor-mighty-simonson-1.html

Image credit: Thor Visionaries : Walt Simonson volume 1, taken from http://www.comicsrecommended.com/articles/marvel/thor-mighty-simonson-1.html

There is, of course, the origin story of Mjolnir itself – that it was forged in a dying star.

Well, how about the people who forged Mjolnir found that there really was a center of the universe, and that this center occupied some space inside an old dying star – possibly the oldest star in the universe (cough cough, let it slide, cough cough)?

Upon finding this center of the universe, they create some technology that allows a person holding an object forged around this center to move the entire universe around it (or that allows the object itself to move the entire universe around this center).

Once forged, you would only need to activate the object and make it move the dying star away from this center, and move whatever planet or relative location in the universe to this center.

Image credit: ESA Herschel space telescope image, taken from http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1317317-european-space-agency-captures-image-dying-star

Image credit: ESA Herschel space telescope image, taken from http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1317317-european-space-agency-captures-image-dying-star

So, there we have it. Newton’s laws of motion seem to indicate that Mjolnir must occupy THE preferred reference frame in the universe, and since it must move the universe around itself, it therefore occupies (in the only way we could define it, I guess) its center.

Mjolnir-centrism.

Somebody tell the Geocentrists they were right all along – they just have the wrong thing in the center of the universe. And it only works in a comic book universe anyway, with an extreme butchering of physics….

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