Dear top secret science network,

Humanity was visited by visitors from another universe altogether (one which doesn't obey our laws of physics) - the D'jini. A diplomatic convoy of them apperead one day in our linguistics research lab. D'jini have abilities that in our universe are simply physics-breaking but in their are more commonplace. The most interesting one is the ability to conjure food, creating matter from nothing.

The ability works as follows (as described by the D'jini):

  1. The D'jini makes skin contact with a concious and sapient entity with their left hand.
  2. The D'jini using their telepathetic abilities learns of what we would call "favourite food" of the touched entity.
  3. The D'ijini slowly conjures one serving on their (as read from the memories related to the favourite food concept - i.e. one large peperoni pizza or six sushi rolls or a bar of chocolate) of the food - displacing the air around their right hand slowly.
  4. Upon completion of the conjuring or if at any points someone breaks off the skin contact the D'jini is not able to use their ability for another earth week or so - the ability requires certain amount of heart beats to be recharged.

Obviously the ability itself isn't very scientific in our universe and we are afraid that trying it out may create some serious issues for us.

We can ask the D'jini if their abilities offer some kind of protection but neither them or us are trained in nuclear or quantum physics enough to know exactly what the dangers could be.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, for starters, unless you're God, do not try to summon matter out of nothing $\endgroup$
    – Alastor
    Commented Mar 24 at 9:02

4 Answers 4


Dangers you say?

OK, let's assume it's a nice big deep pan pizza, and it weighs 500g (let's stay metric for the sake of the math).

There's a nice equation E=mc2 that we can work out how much energy that 500g needs to be created, which equates to 44,937,758,937MJ of energy. The Hiroshima atomic bomb converted approximately 700mg (or 0.7g) material (62,912,863MJ).

If the D'jini get it wrong, that's quite a big bang...

OK, Lause has asked "Could you extrapolate on how they could get it wrong and steps they could take to avoid "getting it wrong"?"

So, I'm assuming that if they get it wrong, they're just back to their own dimension, possibly with a rather large headache from the explosion (ah well, there'll be another planet with sentients somewhere nearby I'm sure).

Therefore, let's assume that they get the energy from maybe an energy differential from their dimension to ours. So, the limitation of about once a week isn't to do with re-charging, more from the mental excursion of controlling the process.

I'm thinking it's more likely they are controlling some sort of machine that does the actual process to convert the energy to mass. But they control the parameters. For each atom.

Let's go back to our large 500g pizza. If we say it's made of just Carbon12 (that's going to be most of it anyway), that's approximately 2.5 x 10^25 (25 with 24 0s after it) atoms (good old Avogadro!).

So, to create our pizza via conversion from energy to matter, we need to know:

  1. Where each of those 2.5 x 10^25 atoms are, in relation to each other. Let's add not add the complication of molecules - we'll assume put them all in the right place and the bonds between them will happen automatically. :)
  2. What sort of atom each one is (otherwise, we don't get a pizza, we get charcoal)
  3. How much each atom is vibrating, assuming we want the pizza not to be at absolute zero temperature.

What other things to do we need to think about?

Well the D'jini have to reply on the person they are holding to actually think of just one thing while they produce the food.

So, things that can go wrong.

  1. As Lause mentioned, let go, the process stops. I was originally thinking it would just stop as though it never happened, but how about it stops at that point. So you get a mush of the food appearing rather than the pizza, chocolate etc.
  2. The D'Jin is holding my hand and I'm thinking about pizza, no chocolate, no pizza, no that weird broccoli thing my wife made that was surprising nic... no pizza! Pizza dammit! I end up with something that looks like pizza, but tastes of a mix of chocolate and broccoli...
  3. Let's assume there's an issue with the machine. Worst case scenario boom! Big baba boom!

The we have a series of other things that can go wrong.

Creating atoms sounds complicated to me. Forget protons and neutrons etc, we've got to start with quarks, muons and all that zoo! Best scenario, pizza disintegrates into sparkly nothingness, worst scenario, biggish bada boom!

So, we've created the right building blocks for the atoms. That's a lot of protons, neutrons and electrons in that there soup. I'm from a different dimension and we don't really have the equivalents to atoms, C12 is pretty much the same as Pu239 surely? Why are my new friends getting sick?

So, those molecules we assumed all would be OK with? Hmmm, maybe not. How much cyanide would you like in your pizza? Oh look my nice friend has just fallen over. I wonder why?

Finally we have those atoms correct, no molecule issues. What can go - aargh! AAARGH! WHY WOULD YOU CREATE PIZZA AT 250c ON MY hand! Vibrations are a funny thing, just a little bit wrong and HOW HOT!!?

  • $\begingroup$ That is also for direct conversions. When the mass is converted via chemical or other processes, The efficiency decreases by quite a bit. The E=MC2 value of a Kg of Gasoline is 2 billion times more potent than the chemical burning of that same value. I would assume that the failure of conversion would be closer to 22MJ of energy as the mass they are creating gets constrained by the efficiency of our physics. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 15:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ITAlex Not sure why you'd use the chemical energy content of matter that hasn't been formed yet. The D'jini must produce a huge amount of energy to make matter from nothing. If he fails, you don't get gasoline which then explodes, you get a huge quantity of uncontrolled energy that never got turned into mass - you never get to gasoline in the first place. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 15:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You need 500g of something physical that wasn't there previously. It's displacing the air, so you can't use that, so you're either teleporting it in (don't move that hand!!), or creating it (the latter being implied by the question). Either way, lots of things that can go boom! $\endgroup$
    – Riddles
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ Could you extrapolate on how they could get it wrong and steps they could take to avoid "getting it wrong"? $\endgroup$
    – Lause
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 22:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Lause Pretty much anything imaginable could go wrong. A mistake could involve creating a block of uranium instead of a chocolate bar, or make some chlorine gas instead of a pizza. Maybe it forgets to add electrons to the atoms themselves. There's no guidebook for what it should do to avoid making a mistake because we don't know how the conjuring works. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 15:50

There is nothing inherently dangerous about matter that has been created out of nothing (indeed, that's how all the matter around us has originally been created). However the method itself can be dangerous.

In real physics matter is created when enough energy is concentrated in small enough volume. This is extremely undirected and it will create all sort of elementary particles and showers of radiation as by product. However, if you can somehow control what particles are created then in theory you could do this without harmful side effects.

But another possible danger spot is that the food item in question is created based on the memories of the subject. I don't know about you, but I have not committed to memory the exact chemical makeup of a slice of chocolate cake. How reliably can this method identify the components of the food in question? A chocolate cake is sweet, is that sugar? Or perhaps it is lead acetate? There is a distinct taste of a bitter alkaloid. Maybe it's theobromine from cocoa beans, or maybe it's any number of highly toxic alkaloids...

  • $\begingroup$ Could you please extrapolate on the dangers of the process of creating the matter and ways to circumvent them? $\endgroup$
    – Lause
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 22:29

The only way to know for sure is to try.

One of three things should happen:

  1. The ability fails as it violates the physics of our world.
  2. The ability succeeds exactly as it would in the other world.
  3. The ability has a new result.

I would ask the D'jini if there are ever accidents back on their plane of existence and what the consequences of those mistakes were.

The new result is scary but should probably be attempted in a safe, isolated environment. if only to satisfy scientific curiosity.


Completely different direction: The "produced" items are not created, but transported from nearby. So, the chocolate cake shows up here, but it disappears there. And the people who lose out on their cake are not very happy about it. And they have a pretty clear idea who did it.

As long as it's only one cake every now and then, it's annoying but not life threatening. But if it got to the point of being seriously disruptive, the cake-stealer might find an angry mob of chef-hat wearing rioters with pitchforks coming towards him.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .