The Blackboard: Idea

This blog is half about my upcoming novel “The Blackboard” (name may change), which is about a blackboard that has the power to change reality based on the equations written upon it.

This blog is also half about the fusion of creative and mathematical ideas. I like to write, and though I don’t have a degree in mathematics, I can’t help but think about the ideas that I can understand. The appeal of the “The Blackboard” to me, as a writer is that I can fuse these two things into a story.

My plan is to bring creative mathematics as well as updates on my story’s progress, as well as the progress of things to be written in the future.

There will be plenty of equations, but nothing beyond Undergrad college stuff. It won’t always be mathy stuff, so I hope not to scare anyone away too much.

All the obvious names with blackboard in them were taken, so I had to settle for my user handle + blackboard @ wordpress.com. Maybe I will be able to come up with something that is not taken but still interesting later.

The Blackboard Synopsis

The full equations of reality fill only one blackboard, in Stanford, in a locked classroom that hasn’t been used in two semesters. The blackboard appears just a few years from now, when science has made another small yet crucial step forward.

The classroom has been unlocked. The facilities team forgot to lock up after replacing the broken projector. A grad student from Colorado scrambles to find a blackboard to write down his fading insight on a stumper of a problem his professor gave him. He stumbled into the classroom and sees the blackboard full of equations.

The greek characters are recognizable, but the way they are used in the equations stumps him. After looking at the board for a few seconds, he realizes there is no message to not erase the equations. So he erases them, and frantically writes down his solution to his Astrophysics homework. He takes a picture of the solution with his phone’s camera. He didn’t think to take a picture of the weird equations on there before.

He made a slight mistake, one that would only cost him two points from the professor. It is a typo that would have massive effects. From the moment he left the classroom, the Universe was governed by his equations, including the erroneous bit.

The error begins to cause huge problems, but the light caused by the changes will not arrive for millions of years in most cases. However, in particle accelerators, the change in equations starts to be noticed. It affects only the most high energy collisions at CERN.

The blackboard was placed in the classroom in question for the benefit of the professor teaching the next class in the room. He is one of the world renowned physicists. He is leading the search to unlock the greatest mysteries of physics and cosmology.

The student realizes what he has done after hearing about the CERN’s findings, and tries to fix the equations. Each time he tries, he makes things worse. Only the student and professor are unaffected by the botched equations. And eventually the professor discovers the student and blackboard.

Then the professor has to attempt to write the equations that will restore the Universe to what it once was. He hopes that he can draw more and more out of the student’s memory of the original blackboard scene.

Complicating things is third force in this story: the mysterious being who placed the blackboard in that classroom for the professor to change reality. Is the mysterious being good, bad or cruelly indifferent?