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WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012

Buck Rogers

Buck Rogers has been changed by contemporary movies and TV shows.  The only two original stories (written in the late 1920s) have a surprising amount of hard science in them.  Sure there were the obvious mistakes in the fiction but many of the mistakes were not far from typical scientific thought at the time.  You have to remember that a whole lot of physics came after the 1920s.  What I have found most interesting about the stories is that Nowlan actually played with ideas that are Quantum Mechanics and String Theory today.  Obviously he used different terms for the physics but how the physics worked was the same. 

 

The most surprising big ideas are common today.  When he wrote the most likely phone a person would use didn't have a dial but rang up an operator who then transfered you to who you were calling and when you received a call you had to count the rings to know if it was for you or your neighbor.  In this time  period Nowlan wrote about full wall sized TVs and modern 'cell' type communications.  Many of his other details were just as predictive.

 

The original Buck was a hard science SF readers dream and not the popular fantasy storyline of today.

 

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deesy58
Posts: 2,430
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Buck Rogers


WONK wrote:

Buck Rogers has been changed by contemporary movies and TV shows.  The only two original stories (written in the late 1920s) have a surprising amount of hard science in them.  Sure there were the obvious mistakes in the fiction but many of the mistakes were not far from typical scientific thought at the time.  You have to remember that a whole lot of physics came after the 1920s.  What I have found most interesting about the stories is that Nowlan actually played with ideas that are Quantum Mechanics and String Theory today.  Obviously he used different terms for the physics but how the physics worked was the same. 

 

The most surprising big ideas are common today.  When he wrote the most likely phone a person would use didn't have a dial but rang up an operator who then transfered you to who you were calling and when you received a call you had to count the rings to know if it was for you or your neighbor.  In this time  period Nowlan wrote about full wall sized TVs and modern 'cell' type communications.  Many of his other details were just as predictive.

 

The original Buck was a hard science SF readers dream and not the popular fantasy storyline of today.

 


Hmm.  Not sure what point you are trying to make, but it seems that the telephone systems you describe as being envisioned by Nowlan were already in widespread use before he wrote any of the Buck Rogers stories.  My uncle had a "party line" telephone that depended on a specific number of rings to determine who was being called, and I, myself, remember telephones that required operator intervention in order to make any calls of any kind.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone

 

Most of the major developments in telephony were completed before the end of the 19th Century.  Nowland didn't introduce the world to Buck Rogers until August of 1928.  It's pretty easy to write Science "Fiction" when you already have the science "facts," isn't it? 

 

 

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kamas716
Posts: 1,386
Registered: ‎09-28-2011

Re: Buck Rogers


deesy58 wrote:

WONK wrote:

Buck Rogers has been changed by contemporary movies and TV shows.  The only two original stories (written in the late 1920s) have a surprising amount of hard science in them.  Sure there were the obvious mistakes in the fiction but many of the mistakes were not far from typical scientific thought at the time.  You have to remember that a whole lot of physics came after the 1920s.  What I have found most interesting about the stories is that Nowlan actually played with ideas that are Quantum Mechanics and String Theory today.  Obviously he used different terms for the physics but how the physics worked was the same. 

 

The most surprising big ideas are common today.  When he wrote the most likely phone a person would use didn't have a dial but rang up an operator who then transfered you to who you were calling and when you received a call you had to count the rings to know if it was for you or your neighbor.  In this time  period Nowlan wrote about full wall sized TVs and modern 'cell' type communications.  Many of his other details were just as predictive.

 

The original Buck was a hard science SF readers dream and not the popular fantasy storyline of today.

 


Hmm.  Not sure what point you are trying to make, but it seems that the telephone systems you describe as being envisioned by Nowlan were already in widespread use before he wrote any of the Buck Rogers stories.  My uncle had a "party line" telephone that depended on a specific number of rings to determine who was being called, and I, myself, remember telephones that required operator intervention in order to make any calls of any kind.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone

 

Most of the major developments in telephony were completed before the end of the 19th Century.  Nowland didn't introduce the world to Buck Rogers until August of 1928.  It's pretty easy to write Science "Fiction" when you already have the science "facts," isn't it? 

 

 


I think I read the OP different than you.  I read it as "at the time of writing, the most common phone required an operator and utilized a party line" and that Nowlan was writing about direct dial cell service.  Maybe I'm wrong.

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deesy58
Posts: 2,430
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Buck Rogers

[ Edited ]

kamas716 wrote:

deesy58 wrote:

WONK wrote:

Buck Rogers has been changed by contemporary movies and TV shows.  The only two original stories (written in the late 1920s) have a surprising amount of hard science in them.  Sure there were the obvious mistakes in the fiction but many of the mistakes were not far from typical scientific thought at the time.  You have to remember that a whole lot of physics came after the 1920s.  What I have found most interesting about the stories is that Nowlan actually played with ideas that are Quantum Mechanics and String Theory today.  Obviously he used different terms for the physics but how the physics worked was the same. 

 

The most surprising big ideas are common today.  When he wrote the most likely phone a person would use didn't have a dial but rang up an operator who then transfered you to who you were calling and when you received a call you had to count the rings to know if it was for you or your neighbor.  In this time  period Nowlan wrote about full wall sized TVs and modern 'cell' type communications.  Many of his other details were just as predictive.

 

The original Buck was a hard science SF readers dream and not the popular fantasy storyline of today.

 


Hmm.  Not sure what point you are trying to make, but it seems that the telephone systems you describe as being envisioned by Nowlan were already in widespread use before he wrote any of the Buck Rogers stories.  My uncle had a "party line" telephone that depended on a specific number of rings to determine who was being called, and I, myself, remember telephones that required operator intervention in order to make any calls of any kind.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone

 

Most of the major developments in telephony were completed before the end of the 19th Century.  Nowlan didn't introduce the world to Buck Rogers until August of 1928.  It's pretty easy to write Science "Fiction" when you already have the science "facts," isn't it? 

 

 


I think I read the OP different than you.  I read it as "at the time of writing, the most common phone required an operator and utilized a party line" and that Nowlan was writing about direct dial cell service.  Maybe I'm wrong.


Hmm.  Perhaps you are correct and I was mistaken.  I found it difficult to determine his point because of the sentence fragment: "When he wrote the most likely phone a person would use didn't have a dial but rang up an operator who then transfered you to who you were calling and when you received a call you had to count the rings to know if it was for you or your neighbor."  Obviously, your interpretation of the sentence would make it a complete sentence, and not a fragment.  I interpreted it to mean that Nowlan wrote that the future of telephones would include counting rings and party lines, along with telephone operators.  The placement of a single comma after the word "wrote" would have made me interpret the sentence differently.  A better phraseology might have been to say "At the time of his writing, the most likely ..." 

 

Mea culpa to WONK, and thanks, kamas716, for your clarification. 

 

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WONK
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Re: Buck Rogers

My point with the post is that many of the classic SF stories are viewed differently from the original form because of the way contemporary media, such as TV and movies, have changed the concepts from a real SF story to a cartoon storyline.  Contemporary readers will frequently not take the time to read and find classic tales from the likes of Nowlan, Weinbaum, Smith, Hamilton because the more modern media has changed what the originals were to something more more marketable to a broader, and in many ways less interested in science, public. 

 

For example:  Verne is still considered a hard science SF writer but H.G. Wells is considered much less science and more fantasy.  They were both scientific in their time period.  H.G. has had the unfortunate luck of having his take on the cutting edge science of the day shift more to fantasy.  The early Nowlan stories followed just a few years later by the thought provoking Weinbaum spured much of modern hard science SF.  A well rounded SF reader should explore these earlier works.  To fully apprieciate the writing you should take a few minutes to review the science at the period the stories were written in.  Stories such as Buck Rogers change from being a fantasy to hard science SF very quickly when you place them into their correct historical setting.

 

There are two ways of seeing a story called Buck Rogers, Lensman or even the term Tweel.  One is the softer modern take on the stories while the other is the thought provoking science story of the times.  The underlying science is more surprising that today's readers think.

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BN_AlexG
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Re: Buck Rogers

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deesy58
Posts: 2,430
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Buck Rogers

There he goes again ... promoting his books that are being sold by a B&N competitor, and even including a hyperlink to their Web site.  How is this not a violation of Community Guidelines?  It isn't as though he has never been warned ... :smileytongue:  :smileytongue:  :smileytongue:  

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ManuelGarcia
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎12-25-2009

Re: Buck Rogers

It is also for sale on BN.  Maybe he doesn't like my review of it.

 

Starship To New Earth NOW  

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EinsteinPD
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Re: Buck Rogers

ManuelGarcia, I did not know you had reviewed the book, but now I have read the review, and reply as follows.

 

You are fixated on the starship propulsion system, which you find flawed as presented, and completely ignore the rest of the book's treatment of star travel, and its overall positive thrust. As I have repeatedly posted, I wrote this book with the intention of promoting the idea that star travel is actually possible. For emphasis I said NOW. If I wrote that it was possible some day, so what? No interest.

 

Many early popularizers of space travel were quite wrong in their propulsion system. Both H.G. Welles and Jules Verne shot their space travelers out of a cannon. That has not reduced the thrust and value of their pioneering books. Star Trek uses faster than light "warp" travel, which is theoretically impossible. Other books than mine very much emphasize the great difficulties of star travel, and end up saying basically "forget it." By panning my book and giving it only a two star review, you have helped retard the actual development of interstellar flight, by again saying its simply not possible (now). Well, it may or may not be possible now. But by saying it's not possible now, then it's just forget it now. I am trying to at least keep interest in the subject alive.

 

I want my book to be as factual as possible, and although it will reduce the book's thrust, I invite you to send me a detailed writeup with mathematics that can be formatted, and I will include it in a new, revised edition, with credit for it to you. You can also send your calculations on the time to achieve very close to light speed, with one and two g's acceleration. I will send you the materal for review and any changes, before publication.

 

Deesy, all you have ever done is carp and complain about my posts, and the posts of others. If everyone had the same negative attitude as you, we would still be living in trees.

 

Phillip Duke Ph.D.

drpduke@wmconnect.com

 

P.S. ManuelGarcia, I am happy that you have at least read the book, and thanks for mentioning that it is available from Barnesand Noble.com. This month the book "Starship To New Earth NOW" has been read by zero new readers. I trrust this meets with your satisfaction.

 

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deesy58
Posts: 2,430
Registered: ‎01-22-2012

Re: Buck Rogers


EinsteinPD wrote:

ManuelGarcia, I did not know you had reviewed the book, but now I have read the review, and reply as follows.

 

You are fixated on the starship propulsion system, which you find flawed as presented, and completely ignore the rest of the book's treatment of star travel, and its overall positive thrust. As I have repeatedly posted, I wrote this book with the intention of promoting the idea that star travel is actually possible. For emphasis I said NOW. If I wrote that it was possible some day, so what? No interest.

 

Many early popularizers of space travel were quite wrong in their propulsion system. Both H.G. Welles and Jules Verne shot their space travelers out of a cannon. That has not reduced the thrust and value of their pioneering books. Star Trek uses faster than light "warp" travel, which is theoretically impossible. Other books than mine very much emphasize the great difficulties of star travel, and end up saying basically "forget it." By panning my book and giving it only a two star review, you have helped retard the actual development of interstellar flight, by again saying its simply not possible (now). Well, it may or may not be possible now. But by saying it's not possible now, then it's just forget it now. I am trying to at least keep interest in the subject alive.

 

I want my book to be as factual as possible, and although it will reduce the book's thrust, I invite you to send me a detailed writeup with mathematics that can be formatted, and I will include it in a new, revised edition, with credit for it to you. You can also send your calculations on the time to achieve very close to light speed, with one and two g's acceleration. I will send you the materal for review and any changes, before publication.

 

Deesy, all you have ever done is carp and complain about my posts, and the posts of others. If everyone had the same negative attitude as you, we would still be living in trees.

 

Phillip Duke Ph.D.

drpduke@wmconnect.com

 

P.S. ManuelGarcia, I am happy that you have at least read the book, and thanks for mentioning that it is available from Barnesand Noble.com. This month the book "Starship To New Earth NOW" has been read by zero new readers. I trrust this meets with your satisfaction.

 


OMG!  Give me a break!!  Are you really saying that if somebody does not like your book and pans it in a review, that the development of interstellar space travel will be set back??  How arrogant is that?

 

ManuelGarcia just "retard(ed)" the development of interstellar space travel by writing an unflattering review of a book?  In what universe does this sort of thing really happen?  Too bad that the author can't distinguish between criticism and carping.  Okay for EinsteinPD to carp, but not for anybody else to find fault with his zany theories. Sheesh!  :smileytongue:

Correspondent
ManuelGarcia
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎12-25-2009

Re: Buck Rogers

[ Edited ]

I didn't realize that my review could impact all possible interstellar programs, I guess Project Icarus, and the 100 Year Starship project will shutting down any day.  But in truth the people in these groups have done the math and know that it can't be done now but know what it requires and are working toward that. If they even know of your book or my review they would ignore them and keep working.


I did notice other items that appear to overlooked or misunderstood. However the main thing I mentioned was propulsion, since without feasible drive nothing else matters. 

The book says "This is the only book on why and how the very attractive goals of star travel, and its corollary, colonizing Earth type worlds orbiting Earth type suns, are both achievable NOW"  I don't know why saying something is possible now when it isn't is a good thing, and why pointing out that it isn't possible now would be bad.

You can find the special relativity acceleration formulas here
http://physicspages.com/2011/05/25/acceleration-in-special-relativity/

I haven't read it  because there isn't a eBook version but To the End of the Solar System  is a non-fiction book describing project NERVA  and what a Thermo nuclear rocket can and can't do.

As for the figure "billion super-tankers of propellant", I'll admit I didn't calculate it, but got it from http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/technology/warp/ipspaper.html but I trust NASA's math. That page actually covers "Emerging Possibilities for Space Propulsion Breakthroughs" and is an interesting read in itself.

 

Note in H. G. Wells' story "The First Men in the Moon", they were not shot out of a gun.

Correspondent
ManuelGarcia
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎12-25-2009

Re: Buck Rogers

[ Edited ]

Back to the orignal subject of this thread.

 

As for Buck Rogers I read both "Armageddon 2419 A.D."  and "The Airlords of Han" as a teenager and again last year.  Note "Armageddon 2419 A.D." was later renamed "Buck Rogers In The 25th Century". I really like both

 

However their ultrophones were more like portable radios than cell phones. For example a character says "keep your ultrophones open, and turned on ten-four-seven-six".  So every ultrophone that is set to ten-four-seven-six hears the broadcast. Unlike our cell phones which are mainly one phone to another.

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deesy58
Posts: 2,430
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Buck Rogers


ManuelGarcia wrote:

I didn't realize that my review could impact all possible interstellar programs, I guess Project Icarus, and the 100 Year Starship project will shutting down any day.  But in truth the people in these groups have done the math and know that it can't be done now but know what it requires and are working toward that. If they even know of your book or my review they would ignore them and keep working.


I did notice other items that appear to overlooked or misunderstood. However the main thing I mentioned was propulsion, since without feasible drive nothing else matters. 

The book says "This is the only book on why and how the very attractive goals of star travel, and its corollary, colonizing Earth type worlds orbiting Earth type suns, are both achievable NOW"  I don't know why saying something is possible now when it isn't is a good thing, and why pointing out that it isn't possible now would be bad.

You can find the special relativity acceleration formulas here
http://physicspages.com/2011/05/25/acceleration-in-special-relativity/

I haven't read it  because there isn't a eBook version but To the End of the Solar System  is a non-fiction book describing project NERVA  and what a Thermo nuclear rocket can and can't do.

As for the figure "billion super-tankers of propellant", I'll admit I didn't calculate it, but got it from http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/technology/warp/ipspaper.html but I trust NASA's math. That page actually covers "Emerging Possibilities for Space Propulsion Breakthroughs" and is an interesting read in itself.

 

Note in H. G. Wells' story "The First Men in the Moon", they were not shot out of a gun.


Amazon is advertising the paperback version of the book "To the End of the Solar System" for

"6 new from $121.48    11 used from $35.45."  Seems kinda pricey ...

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kamas716
Posts: 1,386
Registered: ‎09-28-2011

Re: Buck Rogers


EinsteinPD wrote:

ManuelGarcia, I did not know you had reviewed the book, but now I have read the review, and reply as follows.

 

You are fixated on the starship propulsion system, which you find flawed as presented, and completely ignore the rest of the book's treatment of star travel, and its overall positive thrust. As I have repeatedly posted, I wrote this book with the intention of promoting the idea that star travel is actually possible. For emphasis I said NOW. If I wrote that it was possible some day, so what? No interest.

 

Many early popularizers of space travel were quite wrong in their propulsion system. Both H.G. Welles and Jules Verne shot their space travelers out of a cannon. That has not reduced the thrust and value of their pioneering books. Star Trek uses faster than light "warp" travel, which is theoretically impossible. Other books than mine very much emphasize the great difficulties of star travel, and end up saying basically "forget it." By panning my book and giving it only a two star review, you have helped retard the actual development of interstellar flight, by again saying its simply not possible (now). Well, it may or may not be possible now. But by saying it's not possible now, then it's just forget it now. I am trying to at least keep interest in the subject alive.

 

I want my book to be as factual as possible, and although it will reduce the book's thrust, I invite you to send me a detailed writeup with mathematics that can be formatted, and I will include it in a new, revised edition, with credit for it to you. You can also send your calculations on the time to achieve very close to light speed, with one and two g's acceleration. I will send you the materal for review and any changes, before publication.

 

Deesy, all you have ever done is carp and complain about my posts, and the posts of others. If everyone had the same negative attitude as you, we would still be living in trees.

 

Phillip Duke Ph.D.

drpduke@wmconnect.com

 

P.S. ManuelGarcia, I am happy that you have at least read the book, and thanks for mentioning that it is available from Barnesand Noble.com. This month the book "Starship To New Earth NOW" has been read by zero new readers. I trrust this meets with your satisfaction.

 


OK, I'm confused again.  Is this book supposed to be a book of SCIENCE or SCIENCE FICTION?  Because if it's SF, why the big stink over whether or not the science actually holds up?  It is what it is, a fictional story involving some scientific concepts. It should be entertaining and it should build a world within the story that the reader can believe.

 

If it's supposed to be a science book, and there are factual errors, then you might have a problem.  From the way you keep defending your book it appears you feel this is supposed to be a scientific book, in which case criticism of any underlying science/math errors is warranted.

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EinsteinPD
Posts: 234
Registered: ‎05-08-2012
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Re: Buck Rogers

    ManuelGarcia, I reply point by point to your Post. As I have very repeatedly posted, the purpose of my book that you criticize and gave a two star review, is to popularize the concept that star travel is possible. Period. I previously explained why I put the word NOW in the title. Slamming the book also slams its thrust. IMO the main reason projects like Icarus and the 100 year starship are not better funded, is because basically no one believes star travel is feasible now. Even if it is not feasible now, the concept encourages funding, which is good.

    You are basically unhappy because I have not just accepted your claim, with mathematics, that uranium fission is theoretically unable to achieve near light speed. I again ask you to please resubmit the mathematics you previously posted in support of your thesis, and I will post it in a new, revised edition, that credits you, and that you approve before publication. I think it best for the readers to decide regarding your claim.Either do this or re-post the mathematics with explanation as before, and I will take it from there. If you are unwilling to do this, and will not stand behind your claim, then you should not criticize based on it.

    The Relativity acceleration formulas are not the issue- the issue is your mathematical treatment of the question whether or not the energy available from uranium fission is theoretically adequate to achieve near light speed.

    As for "trusting NASA's math" their math showed a certain O Ring was safe when it wasn't, killing seven astronauts, and that a certain ground test was safe, incinerating four more. They also mixed up metric and BES units in calculations, etc. I am not criticizing them, just saying that their calculations are not necessarily correct. You are welcome to trust them.

    It has been a long time since I read H.G. Wells but as I recall they were shot out of something, call it what you will..

    I respect your judgment, but think it best to get your math out in public. That is how science works. If necessary I am willing to take the word NOW out of the book's title. What difference does it make- with your negative review probably no one will read it in future anyway. It is not being read now.

 

Phillip Duke Ph.D.

 

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Re: Buck Rogers

This message has been moved for Violation of Community Guidelines. - linking to 3rd party site; solicitation

Correspondent
ManuelGarcia
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎12-25-2009
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Re: Buck Rogers

For now on in this thread I am sticking to Buck Rogers.

A correlation to modern science which I am sure is just a coincidence is where it says all matter is made up of  electronic vibrations. This is similar to the modern "String Theory" that says all fundamental particles are made of tiny vibrating strings. Of course the story uses that to explain how the Han's disintegrator ray works which like a lot of the technology in the stories is there to improve the story not because there was any indication in 1930 (or even now) that such a thing was possible.  But at least the author Philip Nowlan put some thought behind his fictional technology.

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RHWright
Posts: 1,613
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
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Re: Buck Rogers

Though the original Buck Rogers stories are dated in many ways, they were still a fun read.

 

Nothing in it is truly predictive, but the ultraphones were somewhat cellphone-like; considering when they were written, it stood out. Actually, my first thought was, "oh, so that's where Star Trek got the idea of the communicator from." :smileyvery-happy:

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WONK
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Re: Buck Rogers

The more you read early SF the more you find out that the contemporary SF stories are based on these early works and that those early works were written decades before.  Some of the later SF writers have fun including references to these early stories in their own followups.  Heinlein, Roddenberry, Bradbury, Asimov all did this alot.

 

As for thinking that SF imagination is just a coincidence with later science, this is both a true and false statement.  A number of real scientists do write SF, even early SF writers (Examples Weinbaum, Asimov and  EE Doc Smith), and they blended in science with fiction.  Plus both science and imagination have creativity as a core.  A well rounded SF writer has to have a touch of the same creativity that his/her contemporary scientists have.  Vibrations were discussed in the 1920s science cutting edge science so it would be natural for an SF writer to push this into a story.  Sometimes the popular versions of the cutting edge science creates SF mistakes such as those that happened with Hamilton's treatment of Norse mythology.

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ManuelGarcia
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Re: Buck Rogers

Then there are times when the story is so accurate the author gets a visit from the FBI. Case in point the 1944 story "Deadline" which describes the then secret atom bomb in enough detail to worry the authorities.