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Koobie’s Physics Theory – It Doesn’t Scatter Quite Right…

By Koobie,

  Filed under: Lost Theories
  Comments: 27


Since Lost is a pseudo-scientific show, it contains a large amount of physics.  So I have decided to start a weekly post about the wonderful scientific mystery of the show we all love. Every Saturday, after an episode, you will be able to curl up with a nice chunk of some scientific theoretical goodness.  So with that intro out of the way, let’s dive right in.

“Confirmed Dead” had a lot going on, but the line that stuck in my head all this time was what Daniel Faraday said.

“The light, it’s strange out here isn’t it, it doesn’t scatter quite right.”

With that in mind, let’s completely over analyze what could be meant by the light not scattering right.

First Off, What is Light Scattering?

Scattering is a general physical process whereby some form of radiation, such as light, is forced to deviate from a straight trajectory by one or more localized non-uniformities in the medium through which it passes.  Which is also the reason why the sky is blue (the shorter wavelengths of blue scatter more than red/green). 

Ok, so what’s the relevance of that?

Well, Michael Faraday (the actual physicist), who was a huge influence on electromagnetism, had discovered that light can actually be changed (or bent) with an electromagnetic field.  This is called the Faraday Effect.  When light enters the field, it is split into two different polarized waves of light.  If the light has enough of a change that can be noticed by a physicist, then there must be an extremely powerful electromagnetic field on the island (i.e. the hatch anomaly).

Theory Breakdown

Bear with me, folks, these theories get nuttier as I go along.

Theory #1:

The electromagnetic field is remnant of the hatch implosion, and the effects cannot be seen with the eye.  Daniel had detected the field before (using the Faraday Effect), and is just seeing what he thinks he should see.  The implications of the statement are just as small as the statement itself.

Theory #2:

The island is being “cloaked” by this field.  “Cloaked” is in quotation marks, because the island is not completely cloaked.  The light is bent enough to just distort the image, thus making it invisible to the casual observer.  The island’s unique electromagnetic properties create a large enough field that bend the light enough that it cannot be seen from space.  Thus in Ben’s words, “God can’t see this island any more than the rest of the world.”

This strong electromagnetic field also accounted for the storm that the people from “Not Penny’s Boat” experienced.

Theory #3:

During World War II, it is rumored that the idea of cloaking a battleship with an electromagnetic field was tested.  The tests were successful, but when the ship was cloaked, it was never found again (or by other accounts, teleported and traveled through time).  It is theorized that this ship (if the events ever happened) slipped into a Closed timelike curve or CTC for short.  A CTC is a path through 4-dimensional space-time that is closed, which means it returns to its starting point.  Which means causality, fundamental to all science, breaks down.  Technically events no longer need a cause, or even a cause and effect can happen simultaneously.  This opens the door for time travel.

The island’s electromagnetic field is strong enough to pull the island into a CTC.  This would account for it to being hard to find, but also to many other things.  Such as Desmond’s visions and his attempts at changing fate, since the path is closed the events will repeat themselves until they happen.  And when Locke’s legs and Rose’s cancer were healed, no cause, just effect.  The island is disconnected from the rest of the world’s space time, permitting time travel.  All this adds up to the island being “special.”

  • Brian Holmes

    Theories two and three are…. AMAZING.

  • docarzt

    Doc loves him some CTCs! Well done.

  • Marko

    Finlay some real-based scientific theories! I totally agree with you man. Keep up the good work.


  • Marko

    Any theories about Jacob, the whispers and the dead? Cause “ordinary” ghosts is a bit cheesy don’t you think?;]

  • James

    Nice ones Koobie. These seem based enough in reality that they could be explained in laymans terms on the show. Hence: this is totally possible. I’m not so sure about the CTC thing, but I definitely like the idea that the island is not visible due to the electromagnetic anomoly. It seems like a really good explanation. Nice job. And nice job to the writers for creating such a simple line, yet such a loaded line.

  • numbersarebad

    Faraday Effect, Cloaks, and CTC….I like it. This could explain alot. Maybe with each of the freighters, we will get answers to certain mysteries. Daniel may explain the sky turning purple and electromagnetic stuff, Charlotte may explain some things like the 4 toed statue and some Dharma things, Miles could explain the crazy ghost and whisper stuff, and Frank could explain the location of the island and some Oceanic mysteries.

  • an1

    I think you’re on to something with the CTC stuff.

    I went to the wiki CTC link you provided and the first thing that I see in the Light Cones section of the article is:

    George Minkowski is on the “ship”.

  • numbersarebad

    I wonder how much of a “headcase” Daniel Faraday is. Maybe he could have been in the same mental institute Hurley was in. If so we could learn more about Libby without Hurley or Desmond flashbacks. It doesn’t seem like Desmond probably ever saw Libby after getting her boat, and Hurley didn’t seem to recognize her when falling in love with her. We were told that we would get more info on Libby and through another character’s flashback.

  • chromaticblues

    Wasn’t the CTC-Theory already discovered at Find815? I remember this theory:

  • chromaticblues

    The theories are good anyways. (:

  • DocArzt

    Hmmm… I’ve actually been preaching the CTC sermon for about two years. I couldn’t find my first one but:

    In the foot notes. It makes perfect sense because Desmond’s time trip is not without major consequences, but the island seems sheiled from them all the same. CTC allows events on the island to exist within a privileged frame, its a nice dues ex machina for the writers.

  • Eric

    The movie ‘The Philadelphia Experiment’ is one and there was a mini-series called ‘The Triangle’ that dealt with an updated or modern day ‘experiment’….I have also been looking for a movie called ‘Millennium’ – that could have a little inspiration here…Though I am hoping for a better explanation to LOST than a series that reinvents a previous experiment.

  • Koobie

    Eric, Even though it is being ‘reinvented’ the CTC is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Don’t worry, the writers have crafted an extremely deep story with many different aspects 😉

  • Yeah…I’ve been posting stuff like this for a while now, as have many others. Not sure how this gets attributed to one person, but whatever.

    But this statement irks me: “Since Lost is a pseudo-scientific show, it contains a large amount of physics.”

    Physics is not a “pseudo-science”. There are parts of physics that can most certainly be labeled as “theorhetical science” or “theoretical physics”, but this does not, by any means, place them in the realm of astrology, parapsychology, eugenics, intelligent design and the like.

    “Pseudoscience may be defined as a body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific or made to appear scientific, but does not adhere to the scientific method,[2][3][4] lacks supporting evidence or plausibility,[5] or otherwise lacks scientific status.” (from Wiki).

    I know that might seem a little picky, but lumping physics in with this other crap just seems wrong.

  • Koobie

    Yes, I see what you are saying.

    But most of this pseudoscience does have roots in physics, thus why it seems “scientific” when it is actually not. Lost takes the basics, and runs with them.

    Which is what I am saying with that statement, because of the pseudoscientific nature of the show it does contain some actually real science.

    Although, I did wrongly group Theory #3 (which is pseudo) in with the other actual experimentally proven science, and for that I apologize.

  • Rulito

    I think you interpreted that sentence wrong. I don’t think he meant physics was pseudoscience but more like Lost has a lot of scientific aspects in it but that’s not all of the whole package of Lost, that there are plenty of other influences within the story and that they deliver the science aspect in sort of a way to entertain more than educate. That’s what I took from that sentence at least.

  • Rulito

    and then Koobie posts that message as i’m typing mine lol, ah whatever haha. I’m just one man blabbing

  • downthehatch

    Um my brain just melted with that! LOL. I think I got what you are saying. If this is even an inkling of what is going on, the writers are very very intelligent. That’s what I love about this show…the underlying subtext that if you bother to do research, like I am positive they are, you get all kinds of AH HAH’s! Whether or not they decide to expain the elements is up to them, but I think they know we’ll somehow find out on our own. It’s almost like Lost is Class and you are given homework that isn’t necessarily given to you. I have learned SO much about science and philosophy from site’s like this one and books like Nikki Stafford’s.

    Thanks for the theory!

  • Thanks for the clarification. You’d think somebody had dissed my girlfriend. I think I just cemented my status as Geek by vocally defending the honor of physics. Anyway, good deal, and I’m with you on the ideas.

  • Diamond

    Although I’m not very well versed on science, I picked up on the Faraday point also 🙂 I have some other thought picked up from the episode, and they may not be relevant, but then again, someone with the knowledge could possibly see a link.

    Daniel Faraday – Could the island be some kind of Faraday cage/shield
    Faraday is linked with Hans Christian Ørsted who discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetism – link to HO or HansO ?
    Faraday’s law became one of the four Maxwell equations – is this any reference to the find815 Maxwell group?
    Rayleigh scattering – I used to think that the sky was blue because it reflected the ocean (lol), but the comment about the light not scattering reminded me of this. Rayleigh scattering is the scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation and is also tied in with the Maxwell equations
    Nice on about Charlotte Staples Lewis (Related to Clive Staples Lewis (CS Lewis) possibly?) – a few things about CS Lewis that may also be tied..most of his novels were dealing implicitly with Christian themes such as sin, humanity’s fall from grace, and redemption – are these themes already in Lost?
    Also, working on the early Purgatory theme, Lewis wrote a number of works on Heaven and Hell. One of these, The Great Divorce, is a short novella in which a few residents of Hell take a bus ride to Heaven, where they are met by people from Earth. The proposition is that they can stay (in which case they can call the place where they had come from “Purgatory”, instead of “Hell”): but many find it not to their taste.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling, but hopefully there is something in this post that may help someone.

  • Henry Holland

    Good summary, Koobie –nice catch about Minkowski too, an1– though I think it’s missing something.

    You’ve seen the Orchid Station film with our good friend Marvin Marc Edgar Candle-Wikmund-Halowax, right? It mentions that the “unique properties of the Island” create a Casimir Effect which allows Bunny #15 to be in two places at once–ala Walt in his various appearances. Just another piece to the puzzle, I guess.

    I love the scientific aspect of the show.

  • Dave

    Great stuff. Thanks.

  • Dan

    I think the link about the Minkowski space is pretty cool. Cuz he is on the boat. I bet that guy turns out to be Ben’s man. Or an overall badass.

    But DocArzt… nice work. This is perfect. And if it turns out to be false, which would surprise me, this is the most credible theory I’ve ever read about why the island is special. Most others are wack. This actually has some science to it. And I love the connection to the Philadelphia project. That seems very LOST.

    I do hope that Eve, in season one, turns out to be Amelia Earhart. Or maybe she’s still alive. Part of the others. Cuz Richard is ageless. could the CTC explain his lack of aging? or is he a manifestation like the other visions. This really is the best show ever.

  • rere999

    Has anyone explored the theory of a parallel universe?
    Although my background in physics is nacent at best, I do recall that there is a belief in the scientific community that matter can exist in multiple states simultaneously. I think it’s more in line with quantum theory, which could also work in conjunction with CTC theory. It would explain how the passengers got there, only to become trapped in the infinate causality loop.

    Now, the discovery of the submerged Flight 815 can either support that possibility (the missing pilot’s ring) or the more common “conspiracy” belief. Is the island a gateway via electromagnetism to an alternate time and existence?
    This is a stretch, but could the pilot be the same man, but unmarried, in the reality he comes from? When the Oceanic 6 return to the mainland, they seem to feel like they don’t belong there. How is Jack’s father still alive? (see Looking Glass part II) Locke constantly re-iterates “We’re not supposed to….” indicating he somehow knows about the disruption of time and space occuring. Ben must have knowledge of the anomaly because he’s trying so desperately to consolidate the power that controlling it has given him. How can Ben arbitrarily pull Locke’s father to their location, when the last thing he remembers is driving alone at night?

    Now I have to admit, the parallel universe theory is commonly explored in sci fi, so all of these events could just be another ploy by the producers to mislead us. But given all theories aforementioned, it doesn’t seem to be unreasonable.

  • Trevski

    after reading An1’s post I went to the link about Minkowski spacetime and I read it all & I noticed the following timelike-vectors described:

    1)future directed timelike vectors whose first component is positive, and
    2)past directed timelike vectors whose first component is negative.

    henryhollands post mentions the orchid & i remembered them saying ‘it had been set to negative 20’ which when talking about all things Casmiric, I assume applies to time travel/displacement.

    So did that bunny go back 20 minutes i.e. before they took it out of the cage?

  • Paul Johnson

    Ok now, LOST having a history of being psuedoscientific means that theorizing about this using bits of science is sort of a shot in the dark. While there are obvious easter eggs and name references (check out minkowski as well if you are interested) knowing how the electromagnetic properties exerted by the island (clearly impossible, even with special relativity) work is nearly impossible.