Active discussions
An extensive removal of non-pertinent material from this discussion page is discussed at the talk section "Large talk excision".

Other changesEdit

Since 12:01, 20 July 2008 this talk page has had (except for the last day or two) a section entitled "Other changes". In case anyone follows a link to that section, this "disambiguation section" provides access to the discussions that were formerly in it. (In each case, the date or range refers to the earliest contrib, and to the most recent contrib prior to 2009 April 1. The date "2001" refers to indefinite dates between January and 19:01, 3 October 2001. Where the date info is followed by an asterisk, "*", an editor has noted further editing 2009 April 1 or later.
--Jerzyt 19:34, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Tensile strength, including a tubular design: 2001 - 12:11, 3 January 2006
Nuclear forces: 2001 - 2001*
Fan influence: 2001 - 16:31, 26 September 2005
Shadow-square dynamics: 2001 - 12:11, 3 January 2006
Units: 12:13 10 Jun 2003*
Game EV:N with a ringworld: 03:42, 11 Jan 2005
Rewarding exercise?: 02:23, 22 May - 00:27, 10 July 2005
Big Crunch siphon: 22:01, 19 September 2005*
Sol vs. Sun: 01:36 - 04:41, 16 October 2005
Large talk excision: 16:19, 22 September 2006

Discussions begun too early for full edit history to surviveEdit

Tensile strength, including a tubular designEdit

From Ringworld:

"...the tensile strength of the material required would be on the same order as the nuclear binding force..."

Who wrote this? I'm not so sure of its accuracy. If the rotation of the ring is set to its keplerian velocity, i don't see why you need so big an strength, unless someone calculated that the differential gravity would be so high. Did someone really calculate this? AN
I wrote it. If by "keplerian" velocity you mean orbital velocity, keep in mind that the Ringworld is _not_ in orbit; it is rotating far faster than orbital velocity in order to produce centrifugal pseudogravity. My admittedly somewhat hazy memory tells me that Niven's ringworld rotated at 770 km/s. I'll dig up some specific numbers when I get home if nobody beats me to it. -BD

OK. I had forgotten to consider that. A high tensile strength is indeed necessary.--AN

The contents of the immediately preceding box is the first of two three passages, each uninterrupted by later content edits, that together comprise the content of the earliest revision in the edit history of this talk page for the accompanying article Ringworld. Nominally, all of that content was added by (talk · contribs · WHOIS) at 19:01, 3 October 2001 (and presumably none of it was added later), but the probably mixed actual authorship of that revision is discussed at Note on nominal first revision below.
--Jerzyt 07:23, 12 & 07:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

How about a "Tubeworld" rotating at orbital velocity with transparent "roof" and dark "floor" to keep in the atmosphere and capture the heat (greenhouse effect). Would this get around the tensile strength problem? Could we rotate it slightly faster than orbital velocity to make it stable, without it flying apart? —Preceding unsigned comment added by SRWenner (talk) 22:47 &:52, 15 January 2002
I'm sorry, I know this isn't the place to redesign Niven's creation, but I can't resist. It seems to me that my proposed tube structure, if made rigid, would still result in an unstable orbital equilibrium; but, what if we put in a series of flexible "expansion joints" to restore the stability that would be enjoyed by independent segments at orbital velocity?
We could even spin the tube to provide artificial gravity, without undo stress, if we were to spin about the tube's longitudinal axis rather than about the orbital axis. Admittedly, this might put some stress on the materials and energy loss since the tube has a slight curvature in its longitudinal axis and the materials would have to expand and contract slightly (would this be negligible because of the very large radius of curvature?). The preceding (unsigned) "SRWenner" contrib (two 'graphs) was modified by John Owens at 11:42 10 Jun 2003 (UTC), to replace a smart-apostrophe char with an ANSI apostrophe. --Jerzyt 07:23, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
--SRWenner This quasi-sig was part of User:SRWenner's 22:47, 15 January 2002 contrib; the addition, per the edit history nominally by User:Conversion script, appears to by SRWenner, but not so attributed due to absence of a revision by SRWenner that formerly preceded that by User:Conversion script. See Note on nominal first revision below.
--Jerzyt 07:23, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Ring instability is a minor concern. If you can build such a monstrous structure, adding attitude control wouldn't be a problem. Ion engines on the rim, or something like that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:11, 3 January 2006
If your point is that roofing the structure eliminates the requirement that it be spun fast enough to provide significant pseudogravity in order to maintain the atmosphere ... yes, that does help with the tensile strength problem. Technically, it doesn't have to spin at all, since it's not actually in orbit. In practice, you'd want it spinning at least slightly faster than orbital velocity; at anything slower than orbital velocity, you wind up eventually with all the dirt on the sunward side of the tube. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:03, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Nuclear forcesEdit

I want to link "nuclear binding force" to the appropriate Wikipedia entry but not sure which it should be.

Having a wild stab and setting it to weak nuclear force :-) --Anders Törlind
I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be the strong nuclear force or the weak one, I'll have to reread an article or two about the Ringworld to dig up better specifics. -BD
Not a Ringworld expert, but I would think that the strong nuclear force would be closer to what is commonly called the "nuclear binding force".
The contents of the immediately preceding box is the second of two three passages, each uninterrupted by later content edits, that together comprise the content of the earliest revision in the edit history of this talk page for the accompanying article Ringworld. Nominally, all of that content was added by (talk · contribs · WHOIS) at 19:01, 3 October 2001 (and presumably none of it was added later), but the probably mixed actual authorship of that revision is discussed at Note on nominal first revision below.
--Jerzyt 07:23, 12 & 07:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

The strong nuclear force is a short-range binding (or attractive) force, but the weak one is a short-range repulsive one (whose influence is said to cause the instability that produces nuclear decay). I'm weak on the history of high-energy physics; is it possible that some of these calculations were done before the weak force was widely accepted, so that the ambiguity we are aware of was still an esoteric one?
--Jerzyt 07:34, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
It would be the strong nuclear force. That's the attractive force which binds the particles in the nucleus of an atom together. The weak force is not an attractive force.--Lensman003 (talk) 06:58, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Fan influenceEdit

Niven claims he was "forced" to write the sequel Ringworld Engineers, because he didn't realise the Ringworld was not actually in a stable orbit. He says that at a science fiction convetion he attended the halls were full of MIT students shouting, "The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable!" Ah fandom. :-)

If only fandom had used its powers to force him to _not_ write Ringworld Throne... :) (the third book is widely considered to be vastly inferior to the original)


The contents of the immediately preceding box is the last of three passages, each uninterrupted by later content edits, that together comprise the content of the earliest revision in the edit history of this talk page for the accompanying article Ringworld. Nominally, all of that content was added by (talk · contribs · WHOIS) at 19:01, 3 October 2001 (and presumably none of it was added later), but the probably mixed actual authorship of that revision is discussed at Note on nominal first revision below.
--Jerzyt 07:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

And I am extremely proud to be one of the people that persuaded Larry to write Ringworld's Children (although I suggested Ringworld's Child) PhilHibbs | talk 16:31, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Nice. When I was young and keen, I actually simulated a ringworld using point masses connected by lightweight springs and numerically integrated its motion forward. It was rough as hell, but it sorta worked, and gave me a fair idea what would happen. What I found was that it wasn't just slightly unstable, it was *incredibly* unstable. It's not just a question of crashing into the planet in a nice circle, it looks a bit like those pictures you see of galaxies colliding with arms flying off in different directions, and it didn't take being much off centre for it to do that. You'd think it would go elliptical as it slides sideways to its doom, but basically, the difference in orbital speeds between apogee and perigee and the tugging of the loop seems to utterly mess up the symmetry so thoroughly, that I can still hear the Ringworld inhabitance screaming in the night sometimes as they lose their atmosphere and go spinning off into the void ;-) or something LOL. - (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 07:16, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Note on nominal first revision Edit

I refer to the "nominal first revision" because, as with many WP pages begun in the first year or so (counting from 2001 mid-January), the edit histories appear not to include some quantity of early revisions. This talk page compounds that familiar confusion in featuring the following anomalies:

  1. The first edit-history entry's corresponding revision page (in contrast to the entry, which quite logically indicates the revision has no predecessor), has a link to a supposed preceding revision, with a later date-stamp: specifically, 15:43, 25 February 2002, that of the revision signed by User:Conversion script, with edit summary "Automated conversion".
  2. While revisions so signed and summarized are common on pages begun sufficiently early, IIRC a Conversion-script revision normally appears as the first rev'n in the history. (The content of this Conversion-script revision does appear to be correctly positioned in the sequence; i'm tempted to speculate that the "script" mechanism was intended to create, for each selected page in an old structure, a new page with various reformatting procedures applied, but at least in this case it was applied where the new page already existed, and some logic i haven't worked out would explain the usually backward link pointing forward.
  3. Some differences of the Conversion-script revision from are merely automatable reformatting of internal links or removal of white-space, while one is the insertion of the two 'graphs beginning "I'm sorry, I know ..." and "We could even spin ..." between the previous [index.php?title=Talk:Ringworld&oldid=278462 22:47 and 22:52, 15 January 2002] contribs of User:SRWenner and the (unlinked and undated) quasi-sig "--SRWenner".

I thus comfortably assume that:

  1. The Conversion-script revision incorporates both text by SRWenner (who, like "AN", who linked their quasi-sig to the Dab pg AN, appears not to have known how to sign talk contribs) and automatic reformatting by a different and highly skilled editor or developer who would presumably have signed in the same fashion as BK if they were adding the 2 'graphs that purport to be the work of SRWenner.
  2. The initial revision in the edit history is, as is common, actually a composite of contribs by multiple editors, including in this case User:Bryan Derksen, AN User:AN, aka User:AstroNomer, User:Anders Törlind, and others unknown.

--Jerzyt 07:23, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

I find that I misjudged User:AN to be a low-skilled editor, because i relied on very early versions of this page (soon after the links were reworked by Conversion script, linking to :AN rather than specifying the User namespace). This link to an article rather than to the User namespace probably reflects the transition to new notation, perhaps involving the introduction of named namespaces beyond Talk.
--Jerzyt 07:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Shadow-square dynamicsEdit

As there's no need for pseudogravity at the shadow squares, couldn't they just be in inertial orbit around the star, meaning no need for high-tensile-strength material in that part stabilization there? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25 & :27, 29 January 2003

  • i think the shadow squares had to rotate at that speed in order to keep the length of the day short. though i cant remember in which direction they turned in relation to the ring —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:39, 10 June 2003
    Yes, that was exactly why. Plus it keeps the shadow square wire under tension so that they stretch back apart on their own after the squares close up during solar flares. I'm pretty sure they turned in the opposite direction of the ring, but don't quote me on that. -- John Owens 11:42 10 Jun 2003 (UTC)
    As pointed out in RC, a better (more Earthlike) configuration would be five long strips orbiting retrograde, implying that the squares as described spin in the same direction PhilHibbs | talk 16:31, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
    Why do they need to orbit retrograde? Ringworld makes one revolution around the star in ~10 days. Squares in (pro-grade) inertial orbit make one revolution in a ~360 days. Disregarding their slow rotation, it's obvious that 10 "squares" (actually long stripes) will provide Ringworld with nice day/night cycle. You do not even need to link the stripes together, their orbits are stable.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:11, 3 January 2006

As was said above, the shadow square system spins "at a speed comfortably greater than orbital velocity," keeping the system under tension (the 20 shadow squares are connected with "shadow square wires") so that the squares can be reeled in and unreeled as needed to protect the Ringworld habitat from solar flares. It spins in the same direction as the Ringworld. However, remember the Ringworld rotates with terrific speed, and altho the shadow square system is much closer to the sun and also rotates faster than a normal orbit, the shadow square system also spins *slower* than the Ringworld; that is, a full rotation of the system takes longer than a full rotation of the Ringworld. Confusing, I know. It helps to look at the animation here:

The bit in Ringworld's Children about retrograde rotation with fewer squares is a way the system *could* have been constructed (and if the author had thought of it, would have), but that's not what is described in the books. In the story of Ringworld's Children one of the characters (Hindmost) describes this as something the Ringworld's builders *could* have done-- but didn't.--Lensman003 (talk) 07:08, 25 February 2010 (UTC)


The following contrib had been treated (for the last 30 months?) as a separate discussion from the one i have just titled "Shadow-square dynamics"; i conjecture that the lack of numbers or units in that immediately preceding discussion reflects some removals among those mentioned in the talk section "Large talk excision". --Jerzyt 05:49 & 18:12, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
At 12:10, 10 June 2003, Patrick replaced "770m/s" with "1200 km/s" as the speed of rotation of the structure.
--Jerzyt 18:12, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

That's right, Patrick. The 770 number bandied about above was miles per second, not metres or kilometers. 1240 km/s might be even closer. -- John Owens 12:13 10 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Which is to say, "770m/s" should have been written "770 mi/s" to be any decent kind of approximation; the use of "above", immediately above on this talk page, means "earlier [and thus lower on the most-recent-on-top history page] in the editing of the accompanying article".
--Jerzyt 18:12, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Game EV:N with a ringworldEdit

There's a ringworld in the shareware game Escape Velocity: Nova. Basically, they just grow food on it. They use less than 1% of it and it feels billions. -LtNOWIS 03:42, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Rewarding exercise?Edit

"Even visualizing what such a massive structure would look like when viewed from its surface is a difficult, yet rewarding, exercise." Should this really be in the article? 02:23, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

No, it shouldn't be there. I've rewritten it. Hayford Peirce 00:27, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Big Crunch siphonEdit

I removed the following:

This could be produced by siphoning matter through wormholes in the time/space continuum from the hypothetical Big Crunch.

There is no scientific basis for thinking that siphoning matter through wormholes could produce a superstrong material, and it's not something mentioned in the book, IIRC.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark Foskey (talk) 22:01, 19 September 2005

  • What's in the book is the point; it would not belong in the article even if a scientific basis for expecting that result were provided as a ref.
    That being said, i would assume the contributor expected not transformation by the "siphoning" but rather relatively intact transport of matter that would be radically different from the matter typical of our cosmological era, perhaps neutronium or something still more exotic; current physics may break down at such densities and thus not be capable of predicting its tensile strength.
    --Jerzyt 07:23, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Sol vs. SunEdit

Re: the recent edit by

Should it have been changed from "Sol" to "our Sun"? I thought that was quoting from the book, though it's been several years since I read the book so I don't know for sure. nihon 01:36, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Thought so. :-) nihon 04:41, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
Immediately above, the cryptic nature of Nihon's apparent discussion with themself does not reflect the removal of material from this talk page (and there are no deleted intervening revisions associated with the history of the page). Perhaps inspection of the edit summaries, or at least the diffs, of intervening edits on the accompanying article would explain "Thought so."
--Jerzyt 07:23, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

"Ringworld Parameters" in RE
and p. 355 of the 1st paperback edn. of "Ringworld Engineers", headed "Ringworld Parameters", has as its last entry
Star: G3 verging on G2, barely smaller and cooler than Sol
so the information is sourced. However, there is no fair-use justification for the direct quote, since we're not commenting (as i am on this page) on Niven's way of expressing it; it deserves paraphrasing, even if that requires us to become a bit better versed on what Class G means.
--Jerzyt 21:49, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
The names are synonyms anyway. Sol is just another name for the Sun.  Xihr  22:06, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Salinity of the world oceansEdit

I don't want to edit the ringworld page directly, but I am not sure how to add to the discusion page so I will say it here. In the 5th paragraph of the engineering section it is stated that Luis Wu is concerned about his salt intake because the oceans are non saline. I am not sure if I have read a revised edition of this, but I just read book 2 where this is brought up, and in the copy I read it specifically says all the seas fresh water and the two oceans and the only bodies of salt water. The issue at hand is the oceans are as far removed from where he is at as mars is from the earth. This makes it unlikely that there would be much salt in the food sources Luis Wu is eating at the time. This is not in conflict with the saline oceans of the Ringworld Children. 02:43, 6 March 2006 (UTC)Nick

(NOte: Quote from Ringworld Hardback Edition, Page 108: "We found another deep salt ocean on the opposite side of the ring, as big as the one on this side. Spectra confirmed the salt." --Nessus)

The problem with this reference is that we don't know which edition of the book it is, unless there is only one hardback edition, and anyway, there's not enough information to pick up a particular copy of the book. Much like the movement through transfer booths discussed in the trivia section, it is possible that Niven edited successive editions once the flaws and omissions were pointed out to correct for them - you'd have to compare the very first edition of ringworld with later versions, or find a quote from Niven about the salt. I think the current text adequately makes the point that there are contradictions between books in the series and successive editions of the books. WLU 23:40, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

The edition is irrelevant. I just checked the original edition-- which is paperback; the hardcover was a later edition. I also checked a later edition (fifteenth printing, 1981); there is no change to that passage. The two Great Oceans are salt, the rest of the water on the Ringworld is fresh.--Lensman003 (talk) 07:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Shadow squares have to be connectedEdit

The shadow squares have to be connected to each other, otherwise tidal forces would make them turn endways towards the star like spokes of a wheel.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:28, 13 March 2006

They are-- this is mentioned in one of the books. Jtrainor 20:59, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
In fact, this is a key plot point in the very first book, Ringworld. The Lying Bastard, after being disabled by an attack from the meteor defense system, runs smash into a length of shadow square wire. The wire follows them down and they meet up with it again on the Ringworld. Finally the wire is vital to their eventual escape from the Ringworld. Rpresser (talk) 06:54, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Computer gamesEdit

There are two graphical computer games based on "Ringworld". They are

"Ringworld: Revenge of the Patriarch"


"Return to Ringworld"
--—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:36, 13 March 2006


Has anyone knoticed that the Ringworld looks like the Halo games ring?—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:24, 11 August 2006

  • It's the reverse: Halo looks a bit like the Ringworld. Actually, Halo is more like a Banks orbital than a Niven ring. 20:03, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Large talk excisionEdit

I took out a very long discussion about the physics of Ringworld, it didn't really pertain to the article itself. If anyone wants to read or manipulate it, you'll have to go through the history. WLU 16:19, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

I've removed something similar again. WikiuserNI (talk) 09:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Orbital Velocity and Rotational VelocityEdit

The numbers are not correct, Earth´s rotational velocity is 1,200 km/h not 1,200 km/s think about it. Earth's orbital velocity is 36 km/s. Just see Earth. David 08:55, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

That's a figure that has nothing to do with Earth's rotation. It's the tangential speed of the Ringworld, not the Earth. Xihr 10:33, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Ohhh I get it now, the rotation creates a gravity effect to keep everything pinned to the the Halo things aren't all a bunch of made up crap after all Masterblooregard 22:22, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

advanced techEdit

Shouldn't the intro read virtually indestructible hulls? Cueball anyone? --Belg4mit 02:02, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Section that is oddly specificEdit

I thought this article was fairly well-written, except for this paragraph:
The "Control Room" is a vast maze of rooms contained in the hollow space under the "Map of Mars". In order to create the rarefied atmosphere on Mars, the "Map of Mars" is lifted 20 miles above the main Ringworld surface creating a 1,120,000,000 cubic mile cavity. The Control Room contains living space for thousands of Pak Protectors, as well as space to grow the "Tree-of-Life" plants to support this many Protectors. Other rooms in the cavity support such features as the "Meteor Defense System", which uses the superconductor grid embedded in the scrith foundation material to manipulate the magnetic field of the Ringworld's sun to create a solar flare; it uses this to generate a powerful laser beam which is capable of destroying everything in its path.
Ringworld is the only thing I've read by Larry Niven at this point. Everything in the article was quite easy to follow (and I think that same would be true for someone who hadn't read the book), but this paragraph sticks out. For example:
-The rest of the section seems to be about general engineering issues, while this paragraph seems to randomly mention a feature of the Ringworld. By the same reasoning, why not mention the floating cities? The only part that seems very relevant to the engineering is the part about the meteor defense system.
-The first two sentences completely puzzled me until I read some other articles related to the Known Space universe, which lead me to believe that Martians were also on the Ringworld. To someone who has only read Ringworld (or not read it at all), creating the rarefied atmosphere of Mars seems completely random. An explanation or possibly just removal of those first two sentences seems like a good idea.
-The entire article seems fairly general and spoiler-free, aside from mentioning that some Ringworld inconsistencies get fixed in later books. Then this paragraph randomly brings up Mars and the Pak Protectors; I assume that their presence on the Ringworld is at least a somewhat surprising revelation in later books. For this reason, I again question why this part is included.
These are just my observations. I'd be curious if anyone has anything to say on the matter.--Smooth Nick 09:38, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The floating cities weren't built by the ringbuilders (the Pak), Mars was. If you can build the ringworld why would you need to build a floating contraption which looks pretty fragile and inelegant by comparison? And since they do posit in the book (at least I'm pretty sure it's in the 1st and not Engineers) that the oceans serve as 1:1 scale (fully-populated) atlas of potential threats, the whole bit about Mars ensues. It's a somewhat logical extension from talking about the technical systems (shadow squares) to go to the "Dept. of Public Works."
If this is all you've read though, you should read much more. Although I'd recommend skipping Ringworld Throne, Footfall, and the Burning City series :-P --Belg4mit 20:14, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
The characters note the Maps in the first book but do not realize they are 1:1 scale populated areas until the second book. And they're only looking for the Repair Center in the second book. Xihr 21:51, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Lol. How can you have 1:1 scale maps of worlds (which are spherical objects) on an essentially flat surface. Mercator projections? The concept is daft:P. Also a person standing by edge of ringworld (by one of the 'walls') would experience a dramatically different gravitational force than someone stood in the middle (where the surrounding matter is more symetrically distributed). In fact moving away from the centre of the band to one of the edge walls would produce an effect akin to walking up a mountain, even though one would still be walking on a geometrically flat surface. Given the vast width of the ring/band the effect of all that mass would probably cause the edges to collapse in on themselves, despite the centrifugal forces generated by the ring's rotation. Ofcourse if all the ring matter is massless the point is moot:). (sorry to bring this up - its probably been woffled about many times before) 1812ahill (talk) 13:44, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
This is pretty much 100% incorrect. Since the centerline of the Ringworld (midway between the rim walls) is closer to the Ringworld's sun, that's where gravity is the strongest. So you're actually walking downhill when you walk toward the rim wall. But since nearly all the Ringworld's apparent gravity is due to centrifugal force, the gradient in the *actual* gravity is so weak as to be unnoticeable. Oh, and the "maps" are described in the sequel, Ringworld Engineers, as preserving the shape of the continents, but not the seas between them. So worlds with seas are Dymaxian projections, and worlds without seas (i.e., Mars) are just circles. --Lensman003 (talk) 09:38, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

engineering boxEdit

Why is so much space taken up by density in the Mass box? It's presumably the density of scrith, but not especially helpful. --Belg4mit 03:41, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Crashing on the RingworldEdit

Although Lying Bastard did indeed hit the shadow square wires, it's more relevant that it was shot down by an unknown weapon (the meteor defence). Its General Products Hull was invulnerable (except to antimatter) but it carried its intra-system drive and much instrumentation externally, and it couldn't use its hyperdrive so close to the Ringworld's sun. Captain Pedant 10:08, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Puppeteers have the most advanced technology?Edit

Apologies, but this seems rather inaccurate:

"The character Nessus is a Pierson's Puppeteer, a species with the most advanced technology in Known Space"

Er, no, that would be the Outsiders. It was the Outsiders that the Puppeteers turned to in order to secure the reactionless drive technology they needed to move their homeworlds (Kemplerer Rosette) out of harm's way from the Core Explosion. Also reference this Wikipedia article on Outsiders: 04:29, 21 April 2007 (UTC) Sean M. (

why fundamentalist?Edit

The summary contains the phrases:

"A theme well-covered in the novel is that of cultures suffering technological breakdowns who then proceed to revert to belief-systems along fundamentalist or religious lines."

"Fundamentalism" is a religious philosophy that believes certain ideas are absolutely right and must be unswervingly adhered to. We are not given enough information about the Ringworlder's beliefs to say whether they are fundamentalist or not. All we really know is that Louis considers them superstitious fools and has no qualms about exploiting them.

What IS interesting is that this attitude of Louis' (and Niven's?) disappears completely in the sequels, where Louis treats everybody he meets as equals and with respect. This improvement in Louis' character is nowhere mentioned in the Ringworld plot summaries. CharlesTheBold (talk) 03:51, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment about the use of the term fundamentalist. There's really no evidence presented in the book that that's the case. That's original research and probably non-neutral POV, to boot. As for emphasizing how his attitude seems to changed (even though it isn't explained or dwelled on in the books, as far as I can remember), that sounds a bit WP:NPOV to me too. Xihr (talk) 04:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

size of an OrbitalEdit

I wouldn't have thought there's significant originality in a trivial application of freshman physics. —Tamfang (talk) 01:43, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Big RingEdit

I added this:

One of the characters in Consider Phlebas mentions "Big Ring" structures, considerably larger than an Orbital, but it is unclear whether or not these are on the scale of a Niven Ring.

It got reverted with a comment of "rv; huh? what you included involves speculation". Where is the speculation? It is mentioned by one of the characters, and it is unclear how big a "big ring" is. I think it's clear from the text that it's bigger than an Orbital, so if Orbital gets a mention, so should Big Ring. I really don't see the objection to this being included, and it's been reverted twice so I'm not going to get into a war. Opinions? — PhilHibbs | talk 18:24, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

The comment self-disclaims itself and so is introducing information that is not established as true. It's trivial and speculative, and thus doesn't belong on Wikipedia. Xihr (talk) 20:32, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Then the reference to "orbital" should be removed, since this is even less to do with Ringworlds. Orbitals are tiny in comparison, the only thing they share is that they are circular in shape "Big Ring" is probably the only structure mentioned in science fiction that is similar to a Ringworld, I'm inclined to delete most of the section since none of the examples come even close, they're all several hundred orders of magnitude smaller. — PhilHibbs | talk 02:10, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
They're both solid rings, habitable on the inside, and spun for artificial gravity. They're clearly related, whether or not you consider them true ringworlds or not. The bottom line is that there many, many notable, reliable sources that make a comparison between, say, the structure featured in Halo to the Ringworld. It would be impossible to keep those links out based on such an arbitrary distinction, and so the links should stay in. The references make it clear that they're not true Ringworlds, anyway. Xihr (talk) 04:40, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

The Ringworld Is Unstable - 1970 or 1971Edit

Please add new subjects to the bottom, using the 'new section' button. This makes archiving easier. —Tamfang (talk) 05:03, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

So... which year did MIT students chant "The Ringworld Is Unstable"? According to the article The Ringworld Engineers, it happened in 1970. According to this article, it happened in 1971. The latter seems more probable to me, but I don't know.

Could somebody please check the introduction to the book "Ringworld Engineers" and correct the wrong date on either article?

-- pedant (talk) 12:01, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

It must have been 1971, because the 1970 Worldcon was in Germany and so a group of MIT students would have been hard to find. The text in Ringworld Engineers says 1971. — PhilHibbs | talk 15:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Hm, the plot thickens - the first edition of The Ringworld Engineers says 1970. I'm trying to get a reliable quote from a later edition to see if it really says 1971 - if so, it's probably a correction to the first edition misprint. — PhilHibbs | talk 16:31, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • My paperback,
    First Ballentine Books Edition: March 1981
    Fourth Printing: May 1981
says on p. viii in the "Dedication"
(During the 1971 World Science Fiction Convention, MIT students were chanting in the hotel hallways: THE RINGWORLD IS UNSTABLE!)...
--Jerzyt 20:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
It was definitely 1971. Ringworld was not even published until after the 1970 WorldCon, and the 1971 WorldCon was in the same city as MIT. Now, about where Niven (incorrectly) wrote this happened in "1970": it was in the introduction to Ringworld's Children. The intro in the first edition (hardcover) of Ringworld Engineers actually doesn't mention the incident at all! As cited above, later paperback editions of the book do mention the incident, with the correct date: 1971. --Lensman003 (talk) 09:58, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Could we please add a note on some of the numbers given in the books re population of the Ringworld? (Don't have the books handy.)
The Ringworld is impressive not only because of its large physical area, but because of its large (potential) population.
I know that the numbers are very vague or estimates, but I believe that something about this was mentioned in Engineers .
-- (talk) 14:41, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Split discussionsEdit

Proposed SplitEdit

I think it may be useful to the various articles linking to the Ringworld article for different reasons, that the article be split into two

  1. Ringworld: which describes the novel.
  2. Niven Ring: (now a redirect page), which describes the theoretical megastructure, along with the science and engineering behind it.

Beowulf314159 19:58, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Agree - Although I believe "Ringworld" should be a disambiguation page with "Ringworld (Novel)" and "Ringworld (Megastructure)". Fosnez 15:27, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Agree with this breakdown. PeregrineV 23:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Agree. Xihr 00:39, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree. This page has a lot to do with fan speculation and not much to do with the novel.Larry Dunn 22:55, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Agree with proposed split. Aggieandrew 04:12, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but can someone update us on the status of the split? Currently it's still the same article right? I just want to make sure so I'll have links from other articles right. theanphibian 07:24, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Agree. The megastructure deserves its own article. I also agree with Fosnez's proposal of a disambiguation page. This proposed split has been around for a while. It's time for it to succeed or fail to go through. James.S (talk contribs) 23:22, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Am of the the opinion that this should be the book should be the main article, with a hatnote to "Niven ring". --Izno (talk) 01:22, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Izno: Ringworld (novel) (note casing!) a Rdr to Ringworld, which has the hatnote to Niven ring (casing arguable; check wp:MoS); Ringworld (megastructure) an Rdr to Niven ring.
--Jerzyt 07:30, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Disagree : The concept of a "Niven ring" is already labeled and described as a "Dyson ring" on the Dyson Sphere page. It's rather short, but that would only mean that THAT should be expanded upon, rather than creating a whole new page for a concept of a fictional megastructure.
Because it is a fictional megastructure that is not really able to expand beyond its own story (as in, its specific structure, what with the shadow squares and function, etcetera) whereas the generic concept of "a ring-shaped megastructure" is far too broad to immediately apply the label "Niven ring" to any megastructure, fictional or conceptual. Whether or not "Niven did it first" should not apply to something that is, in my view, too broad and too open-ended to be nailed down by a single author's concept.
As such, I feel a split would only create two separate pages that really should belong together---containing specific details on Ringworld in the Ringworld novel page makes the page far more interesting to read through, and lets it be known that this is a Larry Niven concept---not a generally discussed scientific concept like the Dyson sphere and its variants. AndarielHalo (talk) 14:28, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


This article should focus on the novel, a separate Ringworld series article should be built for the fictional structure and its contents, and the relationship between the stories. A third article Niven ring should be built about the theoretical megastructure, like the article on Dyson sphere (talk) 08:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

NOTE: a previous poll, not closed or implemented, said that the article should be split into at least two, one on the megastructure and one on the novel. I think it should be split in three, to separate the theoretical and fictional aspects. (talk) 08:28, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

The article should definitely be split. There's a diference between the novel named Ringworld and the hypothetical artificial construct called a ringworld. - Navelfluffman —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

  • I've moved the two discussions into a common section; someone may want to refactor, but at least everyone in one discussion has to be aware of both!
    --Jerzyt 07:36, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
There IS a difference---but it's not directly related to Larry Niven. I argued this already in the previous entry---"Ringworld" is not the base concept; the base concept is a Dyson Ring. "Ringworld" is only the creation of Larry Niven's novels. It doesn't make sense to split this article, eviscerating the novel article, and creating a whole new article on an architectural technology based on a novel! AndarielHalo (talk) 19:28, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Larry Niven originated the concept of a star-circling solid ring which spins to provide pseudogravity, has an atmosphere constrained by open-topped walls, and has a terraformed inner surface. This is what is commonly meant by use of the term Ringworld, as opposed to "Dyson Ring" which is a neologism created after Niven's Ringworld was published. The page needs to be split to reflect that usage, as well as the existence of Ringworlds in fiction besides the original. The page for the structure should be called either Niven ring or Ringworld (Megastructure), with the other name as a redirect. The Ringworld (novel) and Ringworld (series) also require disambiguation.--Noclevername (talk) 18:17, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Sadly Niven ring currently just redirects back to this Ringworld ! and Dyson ring redirects to Dyson sphere which does not discuss rings at all ! - Rod57 (talk) 11:47, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Sequels and PrequelsEdit

The article mentions that Niven's novel Ringworld has three sequels and three prequels. Wouldn't it make sense to list the titles somewhere in the article? I'd list them myself, but I have no idea what the prequels are. Clampton (talk) 06:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Light Year - is that by weight or by volume?Edit

At Ringworld#Scrith, the article mentions a "lightyear of lead." What in the world is a "lightyear" of lead? Is that how Hans Solo did the Kessel run "in under three parsecs"? kcylsnavS{screechharrass} 03:13, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't see what's wrong; it means 9,460,730,472,580.8 kilometers of lead. --Kjoonlee 05:27, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, then, "they" should have said (written) that. I see you've corrected the article. Thanks. kcylsnavS{screechharrass} 10:56, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not very happy with the change, though. (I don't really think of it as correction.) I think the original text might have been more clear. --Kjoonlee 03:21, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
It wasn't clear to me because "light year" is not generally used in terms of thickness of physical materials but rather as a measure of distance traveled. In other words you would not normally say "a mile of lead." Instead you would say something like "a layer of lead a mile thick." kcylsnavS{screechharrass} 22:29, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that's why our opinions differ. I find "a mile of lead" perfectly clear. Oh well. --Kjoonlee 04:36, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

"Technical realities"Edit

The technical realities of such a ring might be left to the Dyson Sphere article, which has a subsection on the Niven Ring and other such types of structures. This deals much more succinctly (and with cites) with the technical aspects of such an entity, which aren't that germane to the article subject. WikiuserNI (talk) 10:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Hitchhikers Guide to the GalaxyEdit

Is it just me or are there parallels to the main characters; Teela Brown = Trillian; Zaphod Beeblrox = 2 heads/Puppeteer; Chmee= Marvin- pr even Scooby Doo? --Streona (talk) 21:33, 11 September 2011 (UTC)--Streona (talk) 21:33, 11 September 2011 (UTC)--Streona (talk) 21:33, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

I think its just you, seeing as apart from the similarity of having 2 heads, nessus shares nothing in common with zaphod The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy was written afterwards, I doubt Douglas Adams based his characters on this book. (talk) 11:17, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

If scrith redirects here...Edit

...perhaps it deserves at least a mention in the article. Or the redirect removed. --j⚛e deckertalk 02:50, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

...and the same thing goes for rishathra. JDZeff (talk) 19:18, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Teela's eye colorEdit

In chapter 4 she has brown eyes and in chapter 12 she has green eyes. I get that they had colored contacts and such, but is this an error? (talk) 00:05, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Maybe they change with her mood, like Sméagol's. Or maybe she has one of each. —Tamfang (talk) 03:25, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Game of ThronesEdit

Does the "Game of Thrones" take place on a Ringworld? Is there any connection between the two?Jonny Quick (talk) 07:03, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

"Game of Thrones" is set on a world where seasons are much longer than ours. The Ringworld by its very structure cannot have seasons at all, nor does Martin mention any other Ringworld effects such as the infinite horizon. So the answer is no. (talk) 04:20, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Old Engineering info lostEdit

So apparently this article was split, and the article with the scientific information is now a redirect back here. Seems like a good enough reason to put the Engineering section back. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:26, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't really have an opinion on the matter, but was the 'scientific information' you are referring to removed with this edit in 2011? I can't find any article that once housed this info that has since become a redirect (Niven ring, discussed as a potential split above, has redirected here since its creation in 2005). Antepenultimate (talk) 07:55, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
It would be great to have a link to say engineering aspects/criticms of Ringworld. There must be published discussions of this somewhere. eg what tension needed in the ring (given the stated mass and the stated centripetal acceleration). Are the self-gravity forces in the ring significant ? - Rod57 (talk) 11:37, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Could also include "A simple unsupported hoop about a planet or star is unstable.[1][2]" ? and Aspects of Ringworld - Rod57 (talk) 12:02, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
  1. ^ Colin McInnes, "Nonlinear Dynamics of Ringworld Systems", J. British Interplanetary Soc., Vol. 56 (2003).
  2. ^ Carl A. Brannen, "Niven Ring Gravitational Stability"

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