"Yes, ice machine" -- Hotel Employee on phone to Petra
Question #91047 posted on 03/21/2018 3:36 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was walking my dog when I had a random idea -- what if, in a fantasy world, magic was real but things that are insulators for electricity were conductors for magic and vice versa? For example, magic couldn't go through metal but could go through wood, so maybe magic wands would be wood with metal handles, etc. Then I realized that I really don't know enough about science to know how that would actually work in practice. Are any of you scientifically minded and, if so, are any of you willing to help me out?

- Definitely not Hermione

A:

Dear you,

This is a fun idea! You should write a story on it or something! It might help you conceptualize the science of it to understand that most organic compounds don't conduct electricity very well (beyond basic electron exchange.) Think about whether it is carbon-based, can be broken down for energy, grows through biological processes, etc. In short, think about life. If it is a living thing or ever was a living thing, it is probably made of compounds that don't conduct electricity very well. This would be really fun because then you could get crazy with interactions of organic and inorganic compounds. Water would be interesting because it is inorganic, and an excellent conductor but is essential for organic function. So it is frequently interacting with carbon. You're basically looking at different ways of collecting, storing, or channeling energy. I won't let myself get any more carried away though. Have fun!

Babalugats

posted on 03/22/2018 8:38 a.m.
Just wanted to chime in and point out that pure water is actually a terrible conductor, but it can become an excellent conductor with the addition of dissolved ions (compounds with positive or negative charges). Most water is not pure so this point might be kind of irrelevant. BUT it could be fun to mess around with the idea of water having a range of magical conductance, depending on the concentration of ions in it.

Also, PLEASE write a story on this! And please let me know when you do! Or if you don't then let me write it! I'm just trying to say that this is such a cool idea.

Pear