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Thanks for removing the "pipes". I didn't know they were case insensitive.

Is the thaum also basic particle of magic?

If the thaum is just a unit of measure, how can it be "made up" of anything (like resons). That's like saying a meter is made up of smaller particles. Maybe the thaum is both a unit of measure AND the fundamental particle of magic (like an atom or proton would be in Roundworld?). The reson thing sounds a lot like "protons are made up of quarks" (which also have flavors). Kellyterryjones 22:03, 10 September 2007 (CEST)

To get all technical here, and to run the risk of running out of my very basic knowledge, isn't the analogy that of the way we define radio broadcast bands? On analogue radio, for a long, long, time, BBC Radio Two described itself as broadcasting on 1500 metres Long Wave, and Radio One's jingles all highlighted 247 metres Medium Wave - ie, the radio station call signs were based on a measurement, ie that of its broadcast wavelength measured either trough-to-trough or peak-to-peak.

Then all of a sudden it changed and today, BBC Radio Two broadcasts jingles proudly announcing to the world (or at least North-west Europe) Eighty-eight to Ninety-one FM - which is equally valid, but which is no longer a measurement of wavelength, but an expression of the cyclic frequency of the radio-waves.

"All of a sudden it changed" -- that is because with lower frequencies / longer waves (1500m and 247m), it's more convenient to use the length of the wave, but for higher frequencies / lower wavelengths (VHF and above) the frequency is more convenient. This is probably because the modulation technique is different. But even when Radio 1 was on 247m, you could still get Radio 2, 3 and 4 on VHF, between about 89 MHz through to about 94-ish (and the band was allocated up to 108 MHz). The only "change" is that the old broadcasting bands on long wave and medium wave have been discontinued, for all sorts of reasons. Shame, because it removes a basic source of knowledge of elementary electronics and radio. It's nowhere near as easy (or as fun) for a child to build a radio out of simple electronic components (transistors, resistors, capacitors, and so on) to receive a signal on FM as on AM, because the demodulation technique is so much more sophisticated, complicated and tricky to build. --Lias Bluestone (talk) 05:27, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

By analogy, surely the Thaum and the prime are measuring different aspects of the same phenomena - ie, the raw magic saturating the Disc? --AgProv 10:39, 1 August 2007 (CEST)

Just to add to the confusion: in The Colour of Magic, Rincewind notices a "stable magic aura of [...] several milliPrime", indicating a field strength. Field strength is usually measured per units of area or volume. Maybe 1 prime = 1 thaum per cubic meter or something like that? Kellyterryjones 22:03, 10 September 2007 (CEST)

Prehaps, the thaum is both a measurement, and a carrier particle. Different things, same word, like 'foot' and 'foot'. I've been thinking about Discworld physics fora long time, trying to see if it would be possible, in a theoretical universe. I think it's possible, but I can't quite figure out how to make it so that wizards can use magic. Hmm... Might be a bit difficult... -- Gipsterdude5 31/07/2018


Where and when are Thaums first mentioned? I know I remember them from somewhere, but a recent reread of Book 1 turned up nothing. --JDspeeder1 (talk) 22:44, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

The history, like everything else, is confusing. It's suggested here and elsewhere that the prime was defined as an improvement on the thaum, but the prime is mentioned in The Colour of Magic. I think the thaum shows up before The Science of Discworld but I can't find where. Both seem to be units of magical power or energy or something, but the definition of the prime as "energy required to move one pound of lead one foot" leads to all kinds of algebraic fun with the final result: "DOES NOT COMPUTE". Mass x Distance is not a quantity that happens in Roundworld physics.
The thaum, apparently, is also a particle: trying to split it led to a near-disaster and the creation of Roundworld. It may be both a wave and a particle. The idea of one as a "field strength" of the other doesn't work since both are defined as capability of doing specific tasks.
It's amazing how little remains even of my high school physics. Someone with more recent qualification really should do a comprehensive review. --Old Dickens (talk) 17:50, 6 June 2017 (UTC)