Size changing

Size changing

Size changing is the hypothetical process of reducing or enlarging the size, mass, and volume of an object in space, usually proportionally. It is a hypothetical process and is not to be confused with known processes where objects appear to change size through methods such as dehydration, pressurization, or inflation. After all, even if a balloon is filled with air it is not actually larger in mass than it was before it was inflated. Size changing in the purest sense has not been accomplished, and it is the common view that it will not and even can not be accomplished.

Theories of Size Changing

Although most modern science discounts the possibility of pure size changing, there has been a fair bit of pseudoscience that has offered theories which have been used in popular works to explain fictional stories of size changing.

hrinking the Atom

This theory states that if you reduce the amount of the empty space in an atom between the nucleus and the electrons, you can shrink an object by reducing the size of an atom. This theory is widely discredited because it would involve somehow changing the nature of quantum mechanics. Other criticisms of this theory revolve around the idea that the mass would not be changed, and even if the object is smaller in size it will have just as much mass and would be incredibly dense.

This theory was most popularly used in the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" by fictional scientist Wayne Salynski to explain how his shrinking machine worked.

Removing Atoms

The theory of removing atoms state that you can shrink an object by removing a proportional number of atoms from all part of the subject. This solves the main problem presented by the Atom Shrinking theory in that the object will retain its density and lose mass, but it has its own host of problems. Namely, the molecules the atoms are in would not be the same because they would be missing component elements. Also, complex human organs (such as the brain) need to be as massive as they are to function, and even a proportional reduction in size would affect the way the brain works.

Variations on this theory include removing a proportional number of molecules from the subject, or, if the subject is an organism, removing a proportional number of "cell"s. These variations suffer the same dilemmas that the original theory does, and they all suffer a further dilemma: the sheer complexity of removing a proportionate number of microscopic elements without changing the overall structure of the subject renders this theory completely unworkable, even if one was able to get past the other dilemmas it causes.

Genetics and Biology

It has been suggested that a complex multi-celled organism such as a human could be shrunk by being genetically engineered or otherwise programmed to allow a proportional number of cells to die from all parts of the body. This process would have to be slow to avoid the subject's body being overwhelmed by dead cells. The most common criticism of this theory is the same as the Removing Atoms, in that the complex nature of the human body would not function if reduced in size proportionally. Also, it is extremely doubtful that one could genetically engineer such a feat that it would be controllable and not cause the subject's death.

In popular culture, this theory was used in the popular fifties movie "The Incredible Shrinking Man" to explain the protagonist's shrinking. In the movie he was accidentally doused with radiation when sailing in the South Pacific Ocean near a nuclear weapons test site, and the radiation caused him to shrink in this manner.

Fourth Dimension Perspective

This is an unusual but not unheard of theory regarding a fourth dimension in space. The theory revolves around the idea of perspective. In the same way that someone far away from you appears smaller in three dimensional space, somebody distant from you in fourth dimensional space will also appear smaller even though they are close to you in the three normal dimensions. This theory is highly unlikely because just as a person 20 feet away from you is not smaller than the same person 2 feet from you, a person is not smaller just because they appear smaller in the fourth dimension. This theory also clearly relies on the existence of a fourth spacial dimension, which is heavily disputed.Fact|date=May 2008

Alternate Dimension

This is a very modern and controversial theory of size-changing involving differing planes of existence. This theory states that size is not relative between dimensions, and if an object is removed from its host dimension its size is irrelevant, and it can return to the dimension at any size. This theory is highly controversial because it uses unproven aspects of string theory to make its case. Another controversy is the idea that when the object returns to its original dimension it will undergo complete material collapse, since the structuring of the atoms, molecules, and sub-atomic particles will suddenly see a jolt in the level of forces acting on it which would cause unpredictable, and probably very violent, reactions that would lead to the object's disintegration.


Although not a scientific theory, many people rely on magic to explain the idea of size changing. Magic is usually used in literature where the author does not want to use one of the pseudo-scientific explanations, or feels that they are inadequate and size changing can only occur in the realm of fantasy, not science fiction. Common uses of magic to change the size of an object are through spells, enchantments, curses, and potions.

Human Size Changing

The most common use of size changing in literature is Human Size Changing, which is represented in anything from innocent stories and movies such as Thumbelina and "Honey I Shrunk the Kids", to extremely sexual and fetish oriented material such as the genres of shrunken women, Giantess, microphilia, and macrophilia.

Common names of Size Changing

Size Changing is most often simply called "shrinking" or "growing" by people who discuss it. There have been elaborate euphemisms that mean the same thing, such as minimizing, reducing, and silly words such as debiggulate.

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