research / To Hunt a Sub / Twenty-four Days / writers / writing

#IWSG–It can’t be true, but research says it is!

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Often–and surprisingly–I research a topic for my thriller and find it’s not as out-there as I thought. That happened when I needed to make the submarine in my novel, To Hunt a Sub, invisible to sonar. StarTrek’s Klingon cloaking shield and the Avenger’s Helicarrier cloak aside–because they’re science fiction and I’m writing a thriller–how would it be possible? Because if it was, wouldn’t the military already tout it?

Well, research told me it is possible and the military is digging into it. At the core of my solution is ‘metamaterials‘. If you paint an object with a concoction that includes these nano-particles, it diverts light–and vision–around the object to what’s behind it. You can get a sense of what this means when considering the refraction that happens to a straw in a glass of water:


The process is currently used to hide antennas, wideband, and small objects, though not something as large as a submarine.

Or is it?  That wasn’t clear in my research because, well, it’s classified.

More IWSG articles:

None of My Marketing Seems to Work

Beta Reader? Or not?

Should I use my first name or an initial?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

46 thoughts on “#IWSG–It can’t be true, but research says it is!

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  4. When you mentioned hiding submarines, I had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to find much info about that topic. Classified, indeed, I would think. On a similar note, I recently visited a nuclear site (Nike Missile Site) from the Cold War near San Francisco and nobody knew there were a few there (and how close they were, since the guns and missiles were hidden underground), even people living close by!
    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. True that that available information on the internet can be pretty random at times. I’ve found that there are a lot of things pre-1975 are not as easy to find as I would have thought. Typically if I look long enough I can find at least something about what I’m looking for, but there are those frustrating times when I turn up with nothing–or at least nothing of much consequence.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jacqui, I bet you’ve ended up on some interesting lists! Fascinating research and I am sure us ‘normal’ folk are barely given anything near the truth. What about the stealth bomber – I did once upon a time have an inkling how this worked but it that anything similar?? Or just a matter of blocking signals?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Objectively, I can see how things can become invisible. Like that James Bonds’ invisible car in Die Another Day. That one was done with cameras, but the point being, clever minds come up with ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jacqui – there is definitely a material on its way to disguise/hide things – way too clever for me to think about, but I noted! Well done on the publications of To Hunt and Sub and its sequel in four days! Cheers and good luck – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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