A Textbook of the Physical Laws
of the Irwin Allen Universe


Phun with Physics!
Volume I

Compiled by Debbie Post

with Contributions from

the Irwin Allen News Network Mailing List and

the SciFi Channel's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" Bulletin Board

The Law of Gravity:

Gravity is not a Law, its a Recommendation.

First Law of Acoustics:

Sound travels in a vacuum. Spaceships may beep and whoosh all they want.

Second Law of Acoustics:

Sound does not necessarily travel in air. Heroes may sneak up on the bad guys easily. Monsters can sneak up on nonregulars, and approach heroes, no matter how huge the monsters are.

Newton's Law of Motion:

A body at rest will tend to remain at rest.

Cowlishaw's Corollary to Newton's Law of Motion:

A body at rest will remain at rest regardless of the force exerted on it by another force, or the skill of the crew in repairing the problem, until the full sixty minutes of air time (minus commercials) has been filmed.

Law of Velocity:

The speed of light does not limit two-way communications with Star Fleet (Oops! That's Roddenberry Physics).


Post's Law of Radiation:

Nuclear radiation only kills if the victim is a non-regular.

Law of Nuclear Solutions:

Nuclear explosions can solve all the problems of the universe: tidal waves, earthquakes, possession by ghosts, alien invasions (well, that is probably true here, too).


Doug's Law of Vehicles in Imminent Danger of Collision with (very) Solid Objects (subsection b):

Any spaceship, submarine or futuristic airliner that crashes (or hits bottom) with said object(s) may not be subject to any visible external damage, which may/may not exclude any of the following internal affects: falling electrical cabinets, falling crewman, gratuitous rocking of the camera, or sparks spewing from control panels that would make fireworks at the Macy's 4th of July extravaganza look tame by comparison.


Medicine & Irwin Allen:

Extremely severe physical injuries self-heal if the victim is a star, are non-fatal if the victim is a regular, and beware if you never have a speaking part!


Second Law of Applied Force:

Stunt men for the bad guys collapse in agony upon a mere touch by the heroes. Therefore, the force applied must not be equal to the force exerted.


Third Law of Ballistics:

Guns pointed directly at people do not fire straight: bad guys attract bullets; heroes repel bullets (or only get wounded in the shoulder).

Adrienne's Corollary to the Third Law of Ballistics:

Bullets fired from weapons in the confines of a submarine, such as the Control Room, shall not ricochet off any steel structures, thereby risking destruction of cast members or electrical equipment.

Fifth Law of Momentum:

Bullets vary in velocity and impact force depending on the target: run-of-the-mill bad guys are immediately obliterated by one bullet if fired by a hero; monsters are impervious to any number of bullets, especially if fired by a hero; heroes never get killed by bullets (which only touch them lightly in the shoulder anyway); extremely bad master villains must receive many bullets and die with theatrics.


Rachel's First Law of Ship Design:

The internal configuration of a vessel need bear no relation to its external size or shape. (Some of those hatches are really mini-wormholes in disguise!)


Rachel's Second Law of Ship Design:

All electrical cables, anywhere, are connected to the attitude controls so that when they are damaged the ship will immediately start rolling violently and/or go into an uncontrolled dive.


Alison's First Law of Security on a Nuclear Submarine:

So that guest stars and/or monsters may have unhindered access to vital areas of the ship, the Captain shall ensure that the following doors, hatches, and/or regions are kept unlocked, undogged, and/or wide open at all times:

1. Control Room

2. Circuitry Room

3. Missile Room

4. Reactor Room

5. Flying Sub

6. Armory

7. Captain's Mind


Lukie's Law of Episodal Taxonomy:

Titles of episodes must be chosen to convey the maximum impression of gratuitous mayhem. For example, the Deadliest Game, Deadly Creature Below, Deadly Waters, Deadly Invasion, Deadly Cloud, the Deadly Dolls, the Deadly Amphibians, Dead Men's Doubloons, the Death Ship, the Death Watch, Death from the Past, No Escape from Death, Fires of Death, Cave of the Dead, A Time to Die, the Death Clock, Journey with Fear.

Post's Corollary to Lukie's Law:

The title of an episode shall have no correlation to the actual plot details.


Tina's First Law of Refractive Reflection:

The transmissivity coefficient of seawater shall be such that plentiful light shall penetrate to sufficient depth whenever diving parties are required, officers look through transparent hull plates, or external cameras are activated. In the case of a submarine, sufficient depth is defined as up to and exceeding crush depth. In the case of a diving bell, sufficient depth is defined as the lowest point of the deepest marine trench in the world, over 30,000 feet.


Corollary to Tina's First Law:

Regardless of the depth of a submersible craft or diving party, the ocean's surface shall be visible in any upwards pointing camera angle. (The scintillating patterns of the surface shall look visually interesting to all audiences at all times).


Jerwhit's Rebuttal to Tina's First Law:

Earth's physical laws of light transmittance shall be abrogated at any time in which it is necessary for the audience to see what is going on. The sleek lines of futuristic submersible craft shall be seen despite the utter darkness of the ocean depths. The lustrous sheen of spacecraft shall be visible in the limitless blackness of interstellar space.


First Law of Selective Conduction:

Despite vast amounts of arcin' an' sparkin' during the requisite rockin' an' rollin' of deep-sea submersibles and interstellar spacecraft, no crew member shall become injured by wild electrical discharges, flying balls of sparks or spurts of flame. These are normal operational features introduced by the subcontractor (Microsoft-Acme Incorporated Consolidated, motto "software solutions for maximum mayhem"); these features are designed to detect abnormal off-axis rotation and alert crew members.


Second Law of Selective Conduction:

Crew members may become injured by wild electrical discharges if such injury is necessary to develop plot conflict (e.g. - in "Star Trek", Sulu's injury resulting in Bones' injury resulting in Edith Keeler's automobile accident resulting in Kirk's broken heart). Wild electrical discharges are also allowed to injure personnel if they are arch-villains and can therefore have a spectacular demise in the last two minutes of air time (e.g. - the demise of the clown in the Wax Men episode of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea").

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