Steven Universe Theory: How The Gem’s function
In this theory I am going to attempt to explain how the Gems of Steven Universe could potentially function in real life. This theory is based on a relatively superficial understanding of things like Quantum physics, so a more knowledgeable person in such fields would likely be able to tear this theory a new one. In fact I encourage such critiques, as I find debates like this rather entertaining.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s try to answer how, with my woefully rudimentary understanding of quantum physics, that The Gems could potentially function in real life.
First we need to answer, what are the Gems? In the internet short called Classroom Gems, Pearl explains that Gems project hard light structures from their gems that comprise of their physical form from their gems. These Gems contain all of what they are, and their body is, as Steven puts it, “just an illusion.”
An illusion with Mass.
Is the concept of Hard Light possible? Actually yes, and in fact we’ve reputedly already made headway in this department. Princeton University has reported that they have begun Crystallizing Light.
How have they achieved such a thing you ask?
Well what they did was they created a super conductive structure where the billions of atoms inside of it worked in tandem to create what they call an “artificial atom.” Photons that come in contact with this superconductive artificial atom take on the properties of said atoms, and they begin to interact with each other like particles. These photons, now entangled together like particles, began behaving like the states of matter, assuming qualities of liquids and crystallized solids.
In these experiments at Princeton, they reported that they were able to make light slosh about in a contained area like a liquid, and they were able to “freeze” this light into a Solid as well, all thanks to this superconducting “artificial atom” structure.
So we know now that there are potentially circumstances in which light photons can be made to behave like particles, thus creating hard light structures that are entirely malleable and able to shift between liquid and solid states very easily (assuming all this data is viable and laudable of course.) This sounds eerily similar to the Gem’s “physical” bodies. Much like with the results of these experiments, they are able to alter their physical forms at will, and as solids they behave just like regular physical bodies, if not much more durable.
So this begs the question, could a Gem potentially function as a superconductor?
A Superconductor is what is known as a Macroscopic Quantum effect, or something in quantum physics that is observable in large scale, as supposed to the atomic scale that quantum effects are normally associated with. A material becomes a superconductor when it reaches a temperature that allows energy to have zero resistance while traveling through the object. Normally an object’s conductivity is subject to resistance, which will cause the energy traveling through the object to be expelled via heat. This is why batteries run out of power when you put them inside something, because that energy is eventually expelled out of the wires via heat instead of continuing to circulate in the circuitry. In a Superconductor, the energy never leaves the circuitry and continues the circuit indefinitely until it no longer has its super conductive properties.
This is consistent with Gems in Steven Universe, as all the energy they will ever need is inside their gems. While real life super conductors require intensely cold (or hot) temperatures in order to achieve this quantum state of conductivity, the Gems themselves appear to be a highly sought after theoretical state simply referred to as a “room temperature superconductor.”
A room temperature superconductive material would change the world of technology forever. Extremely advanced technology that is theoretically possible, but require an intense amount of energy with conventionally conductive materials, would be able to achieve the same effects with a room temperature superconductor with very little or no energy loss. As long as the equilibrium of Superconductivity is maintained, anything that utilized such materials would be able to function indefinitely.
This as well is consistent with Gems from Steven Universe. While each gem has variations on how much power they can exert at a given time, as long as they maintain within their boundaries and limitations, their gem forms will hold and sustain themselves for thousands of years with no sign of deterioration. This would also explain why maintaining larger hard light bodies than their Gems are equipped for is taxing for them. By pushing themselves beyond their equilibrium, they are losing their superconductivity and are losing energy from their gems via heat.
When a gem is poofed, they retreat inside of their gems restore the equilibrium that superconductivity offers before reforming their bodies.
Can a Gem behave as a Superconductor? Gems, Diamonds and the like are composed of Carbon. Carbon can most definitely be used as a superconductor, especially as shown with experiments with a substance called Graphene.
Graphene is essentially a 2 dimensional diamond, a lattice of carbon a single atom thick that is intensely durable (many times stronger than steel) and is a step in the direction of finding that coveted room temperature superconductor. Part of the process that takes place in the Kindergartens therefore, is changing the gem from a conventionally conductive substance to a room temperature super conductor, and feeding the energy that is drained from around them into the gem so it can achieve equilibrium inside of it and they can pop out fully formed.
This would also explain why better formed gems like The Era 1′s are able to create things like Gem Weapons, while Era 2′s can’t even shapeshift. Gems like Garnet have energy to spare, so they can use it to create other hard light structures besides their bodies without affecting their equilibrium, while a gem like Peridot cannot afford such exertion.
So far we’ve explained that, theoretically speaking, the Gems are a room temperature superconductive structure made of carbon, which house within them an equilibrium of energy that can be used to manipulate photons into behaving like particles, which they use to comprise their physical forms. Next is to explain where the intelligence and personality comes from. This is decidedly easier to explain.
The Gems are artificial intelligence.
Each atom inside of this room-temperature superconductive gem is a transistor, the thing that sends those 1′s and 0′s that are the building blocks of any and all computer programs and languages. We already have single atom transistors, so applying them in an intricate structure in the form of a seemingly ordinary gemstone is both plausible and practical. In fact we are currently working on a device that uses graphene (that afore mentioned 2 dimensional diamond) that uses light instead of electricity to compute things. In the lattice of graphene there is a single atom which operates as an “optical switch”
Or a switch that can be flipped on an off at the speed of a photon.
To put it in more simplistic terms: Its a computer that does its computing at the speed of light and is woven together at the atomic level, not with visible circuit boards. The kind of processing power such a structure would have would definitely allow for an artificial intelligence comparable with or even significantly smarter than the average human.
So to recap: A Gem from Steven Universe, in real life, would theoretically be an Artificial intelligence, programmed into an atomic, superconductive-supercomputer (which computes at the speed of a photon/light) made of a type of carbon, has an equilibrium of light based energy within itself that won’t deplete as long as they stay within their boundaries of how hard they can exert themselves, and can manipulate photons into behaving like particles which comprise their physical forms.