Disclaimer: Jo's world, I just live here.
Summary: Aries' masterpiece from TTS, minus Candle of Illumination.
A/N: Looked back through and found this chapter mostly finished, so I polished it off and away we go.
Chapter 3 – Transfiguration: Subatomic Particles and the Laws of the Universe
Transfiguration, while one of the most complex forms of magick, is also the one to which muggles have contributed the most. As any muggle physicist can tell you, the laws of thermodynamics are all about transfers of energy between masses. The first law is that of the conservation of energy, which states that the output of a process cannot be greater than the input. Similarly, the second law, entropy, states that, as there is no process of perfect efficiency, the output of a process will never equal the input. The next question I hope you ask, unless you are of Ravenclawish mind and have already figured it out, is: what do muggle laws have to do with transfiguration? Simple, really.
Transfiguration is also all about the transfer of energy between masses.
Have you ever transfigured an object into another object of comparable, but slightly lesser, mass? Have you ever touched it directly afterwards? If you have, you will likely have noticed that the object is now warmer than it was before. The reason for this is that pesky First Law. You see, conservation of energy also means conservation of matter. Matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed. In transfiguring an object of volume X into an object of volume X – E, you are left with an amount of matter equal to E. As matter cannot be destroyed, this is let off as energy. Most of it goes into the spell, which is why Minimizing Transfigurations tend to last longer, and some of it is given off as light in what's known as a Spell Flare, but the rest is given off as heat. That heat is why it is generally discouraged for someone to attempt to transfigure a large tree into a small chair – the chair would likely burn.
Now take the converse of the above situation. Instead of transfiguring X into X – E, transfigure X into X + E. This is, as any NEWT student can tell you, a Maximizing Transfiguration, but there is a distinct reason it is not taught until the upper years. Above, we learned that matter cannot be destroyed or created, so where did the extra mass come from? The answer: I don't know. No one knows for sure, though there are numerous theories. For one, we again turn to the muggle science to learn about quarks and leptons.
Quarks and leptons are subatomic particles that, along with gauge bosons, make up the entire universe and all matter within it. Yes, that means wizards and muggles both. However, this is exciting news, because this means that everything, every planet, every creature, every piece of fruit is made up of the same basic pieces, just in different configurations. Transfiguration of objects of like mass is simply a process of moving those pieces around with magic, which is, in and of itself, made up of quarks.
Quarks come in six types – Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange, and Charm. Up and Down are the most common type and found in everything from porridge to diamonds, however the Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm quarks have not been found in nature by muggle scientists, though they have been created in controlled environments. However, it is not by chance that the sixth type is called Charm. In the little-known and much-mocked American Institute of Magick and Science, known as AIMS for short, quark studies were done on the properties of magick itself.
They found that Charm Quarks appeared in abundance when magic was cast, before vanishing and being replaced by Up and Down Quarks, and discharging leptons and gauge bosons. So, what does that mean in English? Basically, magic itself supplies the energy needed for Maximizing Transfigurations and, through a process still not fully understood, produces matter (quarks and leptons) and light (gauge bosons). Further research into these areas by AIMS are looking into Dark Matter and Dark Energy as a source for the increase in mass. After all, if a person's own magic had to provide all the energy required for a Maximizing Transfiguration, only Merlin could have done so much as change a teacup into a saucepan.
For more information on the subjects in this chapter, I refer you to Charmed, I'm Sure by Dr. Tau Gluon of AIMS, or Transfigumorium of Delight by Albus Dumbledore of our very own Hogwarts.
A/N: I'd honestly really rather not finish this. I've explained so much magical theory in the story itself, that this seems kind of superfluous. If any of you have any questions about the magical concepts in my story, though, feel free to ask, I would love to explain.