Saturday, June 15, 2013

Skulls, Supercomputers and Sci-fi

I wrote The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx to entice my nephew to read. From my experience, boys enjoy science fiction, so that’s the genre I chose for the book.
When I write science fiction, I base it on science fact. The ancient supercomputer that Cliff Post discovers is composed of 13 crystal skulls.
I got the idea for the supercomputer from knowing that quartz has a piezoelectric property which means it can change electrical energy, not mechanical energy. Quartz is used in microprocessors in modern computers. So I reasoned that if a small piece of quartz in a modern computer can hold thousands of songs and thousands of books, imagine the information a piece of quartz the size of a man’s head could hold. From this, I created the fiction that 13 quartz skulls could form an ancient supercomputer.
There in fact is a real ancient computer, the Antikythera Mechanism. It was discovered in 1900 in a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek Island Antikythera by sponge divers.
Some facts about the Antikytrhera Mechanism:
  • made of bronze and consisted of cog wheels.
  • constructed in 82 B.C.
  • accurately calculated the position of the Sun, Moon and Stars.
  • on display at the National Archeological Museum in Athens, Greece.
I designed my book to be educational as well as entertaining. Alongside Cliff’s adventures, I describe the Egyptian Museum in Cairo as well as all of the sites. I even discuss the Egyptian diet.
In addition, in writing the chapter book I drew upon my experience as a teacher. I taught “An Introduction to Pediatric and Neonatal Respiratory Therapy at Northeastern University in 1983. I also was a Clinical Instructor for Northeastern University at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. For the past several years, I have taught the American Heart Association’s Advanced Cardiac Life Support course at my hospital.
I used my lecturing techniques to write the educational material in my book. I explain topics in their simplest form in order to make topics easy to understand. I also use examples in order to clarify subjects.
Between using subjects in which boys are already interested and using my teaching experience to simplify learning, my writing will hopefully entice more boys to Drop Everything And Read!

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