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I am a physics enthusiast but I only have a limited background, I understand in some way how our world is made up how it is, but I'm having a hard time to make it all work together in the real world..

What I can do, however, is control matter down to the size of individual atoms with my mind. Kinda cool. I'm now wondering what is possible in a physics kind of way. Things I considered, but don't know whether it's plausible:

  • Can I turn copper into gold?
  • Can I generate huge explosions by making individual atoms collide at some speed?
  • Can I create water from thin air?
  • Can I set fire to the rain?
  • Can I turn the floor into lava?
  • Would I be able to create 'graphene' by myself?

I'm ultimately aiming for world domination, but I'd settle for just some cool and useful results enough to fear, subjugate, or slay anyone who doesn't bow before my supreme being.

More seriously

I'm looking for creative ways for murdering individual or larger groups of people, considering there are limits to my power, as I further declared below. I'm actually not looking for easy stuff like flinging a knife from a distance into someone's face, I'm way more dramatic. Obviously, every suggestion is more than welcome. :)

Oh, I'm also from the year 1100, so the world around me is medieval.

The rules (can be bent)

  1. I can't seem to just disintegrate matter and make it disappear.
  2. I can move matter like 'telekinesis'
  3. I can supply/retract energy from it, limited to some extent
  4. It does, however, still have to follow the rules of nature, some hand-waving is allowed, but I'd rather keep it to a minimum.
  5. I can't in any way manipulate the human itself, aka ripping him apart
  6. There are limits to my power, I can't just rip a hole in a wall the size of a truck. Let's say I could however, easily lift up a regular desk.
  7. The matter I control should be in a reasonable distance of myself, 20m radius or something like that.
  8. I can't make matter go near-light-speed in an instant and destroy the earth with a baseball
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closed as too broad by Scott Downey, clem steredenn, Burki, bowlturner, Brythan Oct 30 '15 at 13:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ How much control have you got? Can you move billions of atoms simultaneously with pinpoint accuracy (and Heisenberg be damned), or are you limited to moving large groups of atoms in simple ways? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Oct 30 '15 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ I can move billions of atoms simultaneously and quite accurate. But I can't move every single atom of those billion atoms individually. Let's assume basic 'tasks' can be assigned as in: 'all atoms of X go there, all atoms of Y go there'. Or 'create groups of atom X, Y, Z'. I know it's quite broad, but it's still a proof of concept to me as well. :) $\endgroup$ – Tsasken Oct 30 '15 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ I fear the question is a bit broad. I mean you could do plenty of different things, and the circumstances are the only decisive criteria. Joe's answer illustrates that by accumulating different ideas. This is a usual symptom that a question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Oct 30 '15 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ This kind of ability would definitely be suited for some party fun: Make all molecules of someone's underwear move one meter to the side. For example. Or move all beer molecules in the vicinity into my glass. Other than that: This question is massively opinion-based since you ruled out the obvious answers. $\endgroup$ – Burki Oct 30 '15 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin Yeah, I guess it is a too broad.. Allthough Joe Bloggs' answer already helped me hugely, most of his answers provide me with enough basic theory to reiterate my own creative thinking process.. $\endgroup$ – Tsasken Oct 30 '15 at 11:01
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I've commented on the question for a clarification on something, but I've got a few answers straight off the bat:

•Can I turn copper into gold? No. This would be a subatomic process.

•Can I generate huge explosions by making individual atoms collide at some speed? Depends on how many atoms you can affect at once, but rapidly heating the air would be an 'explosion' of sorts.

•Can I create water from thin air? Yes, if you can deal with the binding energy

•Can I set fire to the rain? Yes, if you can supply enough power to make the oxygen/hydrogen disassociate and then let it rebind.

•Can I turn the floor into lava? You can probably heat it up a lot, but it's more likely to set on fire first than turn straight into lava (soil contains a lot of organics. It would be easy if the floor were made of rock or sand though).

•Would I be able to create 'graphene' by myself? Depends on how fine your control is. You'll have to have a lot of atoms in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

If you don't have perfect control your biggest weapon is the ability to heat things up by just dumping a load of uncontrolled energy into it. Want an opponent gone? Immolate the air around them. The only problem with this is that you'll have to supply a lot of energy, and that has to come from somewhere (unless magic).

Other cool things to note: If you do have perfect control of millions of atoms, you'll be able to cold forge perfect swords and armour (as in no imperfections, no flaws, and perfect carbon nanotube reinforcement), which would make your armies something to be reckoned with.

Yet another cool thing: If you have perfect control of atoms, and perfect perception of everything about them, you can strip the low charge atoms down to the ground and push the high charge ones up to the sky, setting up a whopping great potential difference. Cue lightning, courtesy of Maxwell's Demon.

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  • $\begingroup$ Energy, albeit so important in physics, is not a problem for me. What do you mean with the 'Binding energy' when creating water from thin air. Is it energy released or energy consumed? And about how much energy are we speaking/ what would happen if the energy is not handled? $\endgroup$ – Tsasken Oct 30 '15 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ Binding energy is an important concept in chemistry. It's basically how much energy goes into two chemicals being joined. For water you've got two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen that are joined, and that takes energy. However, you'll also have to break the bonds for the H2 and O2 molecules that need to be broken apart before you make the water. The amount of energy you need (or are given) from any given process is basically how much energy it takes to bond the first state of matter, minus how much energy it takes to make the second state. I'm not sure on the exact numbers for water/air. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Oct 30 '15 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ H2+2O2 -> 2H20 is exothermic though (you get energy from doing it). That's why burning hydrogen works. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Oct 30 '15 at 11:16
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I will be using only one of the features you mentioned, Manipulating Matter, or as you mentioned supply/retract energy.

Premises:

First of all, we have to have something very clear. You can give energy and you can remove it, but it doesn't cease to exist, it has to be moved to/from somewhere

Secondly we have to be aware that everything we currently know is composed out of molecules and atoms, which in turn are essentially a form of matter composed by energy.

Thirdly, knowing everything is made out of the same basic element, we can deduce that with the ability to move that element around, we can alter matter. And luckily for us, it is currently possibly and proven to be possible. There is even a catalog for it in the Periodic Table. Without going into too much detail, if an element has an atomic number of x, and another has an atomic number of y (and y>x) it means that the element is heavier and contains more energy (there's also the issue with stability, but that's going into too much detail)

Your Questions?

1) Yes, you can turn Copper into Gold, Copper (Cu) has an atomic number of 29, while Gold (Au) has one of 79, They are even in the same column, meaning it's literally a matter of (no pun intended) adding matter, to create gold you would use atoms (at least 2) of Copper, to create a single atom of Gold and another atom (The remainder matter).

2) In theory yes, you could make atoms collide at a high speed and create explosions, however why would you need to put so much effort (You would be creating a nuclear explosion)? There are atoms which are unbalanced, meaning they are volatile, and prone to react with air in big bangs. Not as big as a nuclear explosion, however you could control it easier.

3) "Pure" Water is a mixture of 1 atom of oxygen (O) and 2 of hydrogen (H), H2O. Air on the other hand is made out of mostly Nitrogen, with some part Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and other vestigial gases, interestingly enough, H20 is also in air, so, while you wouldn't be creating H20 molecules, you could use your powers to compress the H20 molecules in order to convert from Water Vapor into Water or even Ice.

4) Well Yes. It's funny if you think about it. Oxygen is highly flammable. So is Hydrogen in its natural state. However, together they balance each other and become stable. But if you split the molecule into Oxygen and Hydrogen (you would need to use an immense amount of energy) you could then have 2 very dangerous elements, which would only need a single spark to turn into fire. So, in a way, it is possible to set fire to the rain. Bonus points because you'd also make all impurenesses that the rain has dissolved fall as solid matter.

5) There are different types of lava. Lava is essentially heated Silicate Materials (Rock) with other types of matter in it. You already know how to create different molecules, so it would only require you to know the recipe. Turn something into Silica, charge it with energy and presto, instant Lava!

6) Once again yes, you would be able to create Graphene, as long as you can supply the matter and energy to create Graphene

Your Drawbacks

Manipulating matter, going nuclear, moving electrons and nucleoses can either take or produce a lot of energy (depending if the materials are stable or not). With that said, you would need a strong source of energy so you could contain and use it to manipulate matter. Your limitation would pretty much be the same as Superman. Sun could potentially be your best power source, since you could as well alter your own structure in order to make yourself immortal (or rather, you can renew your cells as so you wouldn't be able to die from aging). You would lose the ability to do all of this the second you ran out of useable energy

Bonus Features

You can Fly! In theory you could also move all molecules away from one area, creating a sort of 'void' space. This is important because the only reason why we aren't in perpetual motion is due to attrition (More attrition requires more force to keep in motion, less requires less force. Think about cars. On dry days you have more control because you can brake easily due to the tires being in contact with a rough surface, on an heavy rain day the tires will have poor contact and thus low attrition, making them slide), but if you have nothing to cause attrition you would be in perpetual motion (Null Acceleration, Existent Velocity). This is the same as flying without a power source.

You can also not breathe, because you can refresh your cells with oxygen without breathing.

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