Alright, so I've got a superhero story in mind that I'm trying to get the worldbuilding down with. With that being said, I am open to some handwaving but I'd like to keep it to a minimum. First of all, I want my universe to be consistent with the following laws of physics:

  1. Conservation of energy
  2. Conservation of mass
  3. Conservation of momentum
  4. Laws of Thermodynamics
  5. Square cube law
  6. No FTL

Now this is definitely not a phenomenon we're that familiar with IRL, but is popular and has been debated numerous times on these kinds of forums. What I'm thinking is that they can either manipulate gravity or electromagnetic fields to some degree to strengthen or weaken the bonds between electrons so they can either attract or repel. If they were able to manipulate electromagnetic fields, this means they would have to rearrange the electrons within the atoms of the objects they want to manipulate so that they are all spinning in the same direction. It's possible they could also magnetize non-magnetic materials through light. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190729111258.htm Please give me feedback, alternatives, or flaws in this explanation, and please explain your reasoning.

Now the elephant in the room is exactly how they'd be able to channel all this. The human mind is only so powerful and this require immense energy to do all of this. So what I'm thinking is that they could get their energy from elsewhere via quantum tunneling. https://bigthink.com/philip-perry/physicists-leverage-quantum-tunneling-to-collect-energy-from-earths-heat. Now in theory, channel energy from the sun or a very powerful energy source in the universe via a mind-link device that could then channel this energy into their powers. There is of course, the question and danger if this would fry their brain to a crisp, but what if this quantum computer in their brain had a failsafe? It is for this reason, I think to do all this they would need access to a super advanced quantum computer with precise control over it. The question is where would it be located and what size would it have to be?

All in all, I know there's going to have to be a degree of handwavium to this, but I honestly think that if someone had precise control and understanding over quantum physics, this power could be possible. Also please tell me if any of these powers or ideas for them contradict the laws of physics that I've stated I want to keep consistent and please offer me alternatives or suggestions to counteract them. Thank you.


3 Answers 3


Electromagnetic interactions, in a sense, are responsible for all motion we see on a daily basis, including picking up and moving objects, but it definitely isn't as cool as telekinesis. I'll first correct some of the physics in the question and then try to provide some solutions which don't break existing physics.

First some notes on the laws which must be followed:

Conservation of mass: Conservation of mass is only approximate for most commonly encountered terrestrial situations. Nuclear interactions for instance often do not conserve mass. They do conserve mass-energy however, so this law may be combined with the conservation of energy.

Square-cube law: is a mathematical law and only valid for Euclidean geometry, since we really won't encounter situations that are non-euclidean on a daily basis, it is a safe assumption.

Now on to the physics:

Part 1

"What I'm thinking is that they can either manipulate gravity or electromagnetic fields to some degree to strengthen or weaken the bonds between electrons so they can either attract or repel."

Electrons do not bond, bonding involves a negative energy potential which ensures that energy must typically be added before the bond can broken. Bonds place restrictions on the motion of the particles bound, and ensure that their movement is localized.

Electrons only interact through the electro-weak interaction. At low energies (those in which electrons will remain bound to an atomic nucleus) they mainly interact through electromagnetic interaction (the weak nuclear interaction is only relevant in nuclear decay processes). Since all electrons are negatively charged, the potential of the interaction between them will be strictly positive and there will be a force which pushes two or more electrons apart.

If they were able to manipulate electromagnetic fields, this means they would have to rearrange the electrons within the atoms of the objects they want to manipulate so that they are all spinning in the same direction. It's possible they could also magnetize non-magnetic materials through light.

Electrons are arranged by orbitals, and the arrangement is determined by quantum phenomena known as spin. The spin interactions must obey a set of rules. Electrons are spin-1/2 particles and as such as they obey the Pauli exclusion principle which states that identical particles with the same spin cannot occupy the same orbital which is why only two electrons are allowed together in the most basic energy orbital called the S orbital.

It is important to note that the spin interaction is a strictly quantum effect and is not dependent on the electromagnetic interaction. For instance, neutrons and protons interact via the strong force, but they also obey spin-1/2. This means that manipulating matter via the electromagnetic interaction is not going to allow for spin alignment of all electrons in an atom, which is forbidden by quantum laws.

First linked article

The article describes how aligned magnetic fields can be induced in certain non-ferrous metallic materials with illumination from special frequencies of laser light. I do not really see a way of harnessing this phenomena in a biological system. Lasers can be created from from biological systems:


But the power of such systems is very very weak and the energy required fairly large. For reference, the effect described in Science Daily article required about a power transmission of 30 W/cm at 25 THz for the effect to be reasonably significant. For reference, the total power output by a average human is around 100 W for normal daily activity.

Now the elephant in the room is exactly how they'd be able to channel all this...The question is where would it be located and what size would it have to be?

The linked article in this section discusses using nano-diodes to collect energy from background infrared radiation in the atmosphere. I didn't see any information about the potentials generated from these interactions and I'm guessing they are very low. It is an interesting concept however, and could (with some sci-fi handwaving) be incorporated into your story.


Now for the hard part...Telekinesis is not an easy thing to explain in an even remotely realistic way. That said, there are some directions which the science could take which would sound more realistic than others.

Electromagnetic fields are not really feasible since they require maintaining high electric potentials (strong enough to move everyday objects) and exercising great control over these electric potentials, neither of which is compatible with biologic systems.

Gravity manipulation is a possibility since gravity is not understood. Current theory explains gravity as a geometric construct and the standard model has not been able to incorporate gravity beyond mass (There is the discovery of the Higgs Boson, but this theory is far from complete, and some argue there are now more questions than answers). So using some sci-fi rigmarole by which "gravitons" are manipulated through the superheros mind could be used without explicitly breaking any conditions ruled out by preexisted physics.

Excluding cheat methods of telekinesis (using nanobots..etc.) another not-explicitly-physics-breaking explanation of telekinesis would be a fifth fundamental force. This force may be explained as being induced by an improbable set of circumstances taking place in the superheros body. This way, you could make the particles produced by this force interact with the electromagnetic interaction and/or masses over a specific range and with specific rules which allow for manipulation of matter in a manner consistence with telekinesis for all intents and purposes.


  • $\begingroup$ You make very good points. Graviton manipulation could give off an effect similar to telekinesis. As for the 5th fundamental force, it sounds good in theory, but I'm a bit skeptical because of what this article says discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/…. It basically says that if a 5th fundamental force for telekinesis were to exist, it would be much weaker than gravity. I know this article is 12 years old, but I have yet to find another article to counteract this. I am open to some handwaving, but perhaps you have a better idea? $\endgroup$
    – Strivs
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ The article is talking about a fifth fundamental force in the wild. If for some reason only your superhero could harness this force it wouldn't be a problem. $\endgroup$
    – user110866
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ To simplify the article, if there was a fifth force which interacted on matter with similar energy range to the electromagnetic force we would have detected it by now in the form of some anomaly. This is assuming that particles which carry this force are abundant enough to have been detected. For physicists this raises the sort of questions, if they aren't abundant then why, how are they created..etc. In fiction there can be all sorts of handwavey reasons for these things which don't explicitly break physics. $\endgroup$
    – user110866
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with you. Something like the VergeWorlds affectors force, a fifth fundamental force that interacts with fermions and itself, is the most non-physics-breaking answer possible if someone doesn’t want to go with nanomachines, even though it still will break physics somewhat. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 1:10

phased (magical?) nanobot swarm (Similar but not exactly the same as my unpublished phason magic system).

  • Behaves as a magic “smart” fluid/cloud that can phase through matter and itself or like a shapeshifting creature that can move through stuff.
  • It has a limited computerlike intelligence and it needs to be symbiotic to a smarter entity to be able to do smart actions enabling it to survive.
  • Energy: Can store and release kinetic energy by pushing, pulling and rotating against things. Has to take into account weight, balance, momentum, etc, to not fall over or fly backwards (might have to grip air or surroundings).
  • Mana: Regenerates "cohesion power" over time which is used up to absorb or expend kinetic energy (pushing, pulling and rotation).
  • XP: Nanobots are maybe only produced slowly by fabricators, plants or something and can be taken/reprogrammed from defeated enemies.
  • There's a maximum power rate per nanobot, or else they might be destroyed.
  • If they are transparent then their usage will look like telekinesis.
  • If there are specialized nanobots, control or programming then can have specialized capabilities or powers for certain individuals.

Can be used to explain many different powers and probably follows all the mentioned conservation laws and rules. Just change the names to suit your story or use the same names.


The only thing I can answer your question is that the owner of the ability to generate powerful magnetic fields and waves, like a powerful magnet, can attract or repel objects amenable to electromagnetism.

For example, a telekinetic using magnetism can attract iron, nickel, cobalt, some rare earth metals and many different alloys.

For example, a telekinetic using diamagnetism can repel gold, zinc, copper, and bismuth.

However, telekinesis based on electromagnetism will not allow lifting material objects vertically. This will be either attraction to a source of magnetic force or repulsion from a source of magnetic force.

In addition, if the law of conservation of momentum affects telekinetics, then probably a person weighing 70 kilograms will be attracted to very heavy objects and will easily attract objects weighing from 1 gram to 2 kilograms.

About the quantum computer. It can be placed directly into the brain or this implant can be inserted near the brain (forehead, occiput and other places around the head). It is possible that this device does not have to be installed next to the brain. For example, you can embed a computer in your chest or other place, but at the same time connect a telekinetic to the brain. But if you need a device for directing the received energy, then you can insert antennas - transmitters of electromagnetic force into your hands to carry out telekinesis.

I am not a scientist. Therefore, my comment may contain information that is far from science. Or it may contain information that does not correspond to the provisions of modern science.


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