Innovation Spotlight: The Flux Capacitor

Joshua Stackhouse

April 1, 2024

Innovation Spotlight: The Flux Capacitor

April 1st is the birthday of award-winning science-fiction novelist George McFly, so it’s fitting that today we honor the invention that changed his life and literally re-wrote his life story: the flux capacitor. Originally conceived in 1955 when its visionary inventor Dr. Emmett Brown suffered a minor concussion, the flux capacitor enables human (and canine) time travel!

Brown’s first operational model was constructed in 1985 and installed into a DeLorean DMC-12 (the stainless-steel body of the car proved conducive to the capacitor’s energy dispersal and inarguably provided significant style points). Confusingly however, the first time Brown successfully used the device was less than one week after he conceived of it in 1955, as his young assistant, Marty McFly, had inadvertently travelled back from 1985 to 1955, and required Brown’s assistance to remedy the error. The circumstances that led to McFly’s use of the machine remain a mystery, with some conspiracy theorists insisting that Brown obtained his supply of plutonium necessary to power the capacitor from a terrorist organization. Such wild conjectures, of course, remain unconfirmed.

In order to function, the flux capacitor requires a vehicle capable of achieving an 88 miles per hour ground speed. Once the vehicle is travelling at or above 88 miles per hour, the capacitor warps the space-time continuum, sending the vehicle to any point in the past or future. However, the process consumes a tremendous amount of energy (1.21 gigawatts, to be precise) so, as mentioned, the original design required plutonium, though subsequent iterations have used naturally-occurring lightning and cold fusion.

The incredible story surrounding Brown’s invention have been adapted into a Hollywood film, a series of video games, and is now being dramatized on stage in a Broadway musical!

We at Hexos are proud to honor this incredible invention and wish all of our readers a very happy April 1st.

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