In questions I have asked about the afterlife and gods, it seems that the simplest solution of explaining these are to create a 4th spacial dimension.This dimension allows for souls and consciousness to exist and attach to a body, which effectively explains reincarnation and heaven.

The problem here is while I can excuse these things with dimensions, I now have to wonder what a soul is made of. After a lot of guessing and wondering, I have landed on gas as it fits with the classic depiction of the soul.

This creates a problem because, to my knowledge, there is no creature ever to exist that uses gas to store biological information. So, can I store information in a gas? If not, why not? If so, how much information?

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    $\begingroup$ While not actually useful for your deeper question about how to store soul-information, it might be useful to know that yes, you can store biological information as a gas - it is done often enough. Scent marking, using scents to convey basic biological information, is about inhaling volatile chemicals dissolved in gas and determining information from this. How much information can be stored depends on how sophisticated the species' detection is (ie, how many kinds of smells can be created or separated for analysis per amount of time). I don't think it's enough for souls, but it's something. $\endgroup$ – Megha Jul 17 '16 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ Just a thought, why do souls need to store information ? couldnt they just be pure energy bound to a body while alive, when dead the sould/energy disperses into the rest of energy. $\endgroup$ – Chinu Jul 17 '16 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Chinu I guess it would work but that not what I want $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 17 '16 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ Your premise is wrong. Soul does not have a physical body at all. Gas is physical, souls are not. Your best bet is the imaginary universe which you can only access if you travel faster than light. Although no physical body can travel faster than light, non-physical things can. This goes on to imply than whenever a person dies, their soul appears in another universe (conveniently called the imaginary universe based on the idea of imaginary numbers which lay in a different dimension, marked by the square root of negative numbers). So while your question is valid, the back-story is invalid. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Jul 17 '16 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ @YoustayIgo no, that's not how it works. In my world there is internal consistency so I can claim souls are made of gas and just make them abide by the rules of if the did $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Jul 17 '16 at 17:08

You can store information in a gas, but you can't store much.

Gasses are really inconvenient for this job, because they are always trying to escape from whatever container they're stored in, getting molecules stuck to the walls, and so on. They also move around at great speed. So counting molecules is impractical. Temperature, pressure and volume are almost completely interchangeable with gasses, so you can't store information in those separately: they really only amount to a single value "how much gas is there?" and that changes, fractionally, due to leaks.

The reactions between the different kinds of gas in a mixture aren't very useful because they'll either have gone to completion, in which case it's just two numbers, amount of gas A and amount of gas B, or they're in equilibrium, in which case you have three gasses to have amounts of, but the amounts change with temperature.

The presence or absence of different gasses, as read by a sense of smell, is your best bet, since such a sense can detect lots of different organic compounds, but this is still a very low-density way of storing information compared to DNA, and it isn't a good long-term means, because the sensor will interact with the gas and contaminate it slightly.

The thing that makes DNA storage so excellent is that it's built around long chain molecules. Very highly organised matter like that gives you very dense storage. But you can't have long chain molecules in a gas, because of their high molecular weight: before you get them hot enough to be a gas, they fall apart.

You might get lasting information storage of a kilobit per cubic centimetre with a scent-based mechanism. DNA, in an experiment in 2012, gave storage of 5.5 petabits per cubic millimetre, about 5 million million million times as dense. No, those three "million"s in a row aren't a mistake.


This can be done theoretically but the methods practically required to make it working are far, far too demanding and intricate and difficult to build.

Basically, information is just simply the value of some specified variables. What is the temperature today? (The information is a real number). What color are your eyes? (The information is a text string, the name of a color).

How Can Information Be Stored In Gaseous Form?

  • by the composition of the gas. is it pure nitrogen? pure oxygen? or is it a mixture? if it is a mixture, what is the composition of the mixture? all these variables can be used to store nearly infinite amounts of information, considering how many different gases are possible and how many different combinations are possible to form a mixture.

  • by the mass, temperature, volume and the pressure of the gas. simple enough. this only allowed for small amounts of information to be stored.

  • the reactions between the gases. which gases take part, what products are formed, how are those products processed. all these variables can be used to store information.

  • proportions of isotopes - same as used to detect how old archeological things are.


You can do this. However, it is tricky to do so because gasses have so much apparently random motion. That random motion, if it is indeed random, can quickly obscure any information you hoped to store.

However, if you knew something we don't about the structure of matter, it may be that what we observe as random movement of gas molecules is not truly random at all. There may be a pattern to it. It may simply be a pattern that we have not been able to decypher, so we lump it all together and call it noise.

This is very hard to do in the middle of things. However, if you have an opportunity to control the initial state of the universe, or the rules of the universe, there are opportunities to hide information in places which are invisible to us with scientific measurements.

Such a theory cannot be thought of as scientific, for there is no empirical way to test the theory, but it is not impossible for it to occur alongside our known laws.


Yes, gas can store information. Gas is mostly made up of small molecules, but larger substances can certainly dissolve. Moth pheromones can contain a wide variety of fairly long chemicals. These don't just fall out of the air - moth pheromones can travel for many miles. Moths of many different species may be finding their own vision of Heaven flying in all different directions on the same night.

For larger tranmissions, you could design a clever combinatorial code, designed to ensure that all the chemicals you produce are volatile and unreactive, where one end contains a recognizable tag (maybe an aldehyde) and a series of branching carbon chains, multiple bonds, ether and ketone linkages, fluoride and alcohol groups etc. that can be translated to an identifying code number (the memory address value). The contents are then specified in the same manner past a certain number of carbons along the main chain from the aldehyde. Each odor molecule would hold a few bytes of information at a known position in memory.

The receptor would probably be some remarkably fancy GC/MS rig, though it would be more amusing if instead a computer could design Fab fragments to bind each of the address locations, and then use a similarly designed Fab (minus the aldehyde-interacting site) to read out the data, and express those fragments on E. coli membranes, relying on the randy little critters to conjugate and in the process concatenate some well-crafted genetic constructs so that by reading those sequences on a nanopore sequencer, you can tell which data matched up with which location. In cloud cuckoo land you should be able to receive your data faster than a confirmation email, if the wind blows the right way.

  • $\begingroup$ To me, it's a stretch to consider pheromones a gas, per se. I don't think odors are considered gasses, but compounds that alight on gas (air, specifically), like a spray of perfume. That explains why smells dissipate over time, but gasses persist if there are no environmental changes to pressure, volume, or temperature. $\endgroup$ – AdamO Feb 22 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ If the wind isn't a gas, what is? Perfume, like pheromones, contains organic compounds that have some vapor pressure. They cannot exert as much pressure as our atmosphere (they don't boil) but they form part of the gas phase. Of course, you can call this a solution of a liquid in a gas - but if you go by that standard, then your morning coffee isn't a liquid! $\endgroup$ – Mike Serfas Feb 23 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ No discussion about "wind" being a gas: but specifically wind is movement of a gas (air). I hadn't read too closely about the distinction of vapor among gasses but now I know. Thanks for pointing that out! Basically, a smell "goes away" even in a room with no ventilation because either the vapor settles as a liquid in whorls of relatively high pressure or (more likely) the organic compound breaks down. I suppose this is why mist is a vapor and not humidity. $\endgroup$ – AdamO Feb 23 at 15:58

Consider that when gas phase changes to plasma it becomes quite like a neuron or a circuit, and, given a sophisticated enough network, we could emulate some of the brain cascades like memory, reflex, or sensation.


You have no storage problem. If anything, you have a problem of filling the available storage.

We have three spatial dimensions, a time dimension (completely different than the spatial ones, not least that we move in one direction only) and possibly some others.

Now you get another dimension into the mix. Leaving out what that dimension actually IS, everything has its scalar position in there. Maybe all non-soul particles are zero, while all soul-gas particles have some non-zero value. Note that everything still has the usual dimensions, so the soul-gas has (for the lifetime of the owner) the same spatial and temporal coordinates as the body. But in soul-dimension every particle has their own soul-measure. All the information storage you will ever need, right there.

Why does the gas need to do the same thing in soul dimension as it does in our spatial dimensions (i.e. be completely random in particle position)?

Every particle in the soul dimension has fix value, it is a crystal in that dimension. With a body-sized gas-cloud in normal atmosphere, you'll have ballpark 10^24 particles, each with their own, fix, soul-dimension-value. If the soul stores its information as a binary barcode (for some reason), i.e in the distances between soul-adjacent (not real-space adjacent neccessarily) particles, you could store 10^24 bits in there. That is Ten million one-terabyte harddrives.

That number grows if you do not stop at binary code, but go up: say its not one of two distances between particles, but particles can be any of a hundred measures from each other! Et Voila! You now can store 100^(10^24)bits in that soul.

While the soul gas particles do their wild dance in the real, in the soul dimension they are ordered and static.

One particle at 1 karm, next at 3 karm, next at four karm, next at five karm, next at seven karm - distances so far: 2,1,1,2, or 1,0,0,1 in binary, a nybble of soul if you will, if the soul is so gauche as to be binary....


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