For those unacquainted with the story of King Midas, he was the one who wished everything he touched would turn to gold, but found how terrible this was (he couldn't eat/drink anything of his own power). I have dubbed this the 'Midas Effect', as I think it's a fitting name.

Another example of this in sci-fi is in the Lost in Space episode All that Glitters (see link for a description of what occurs if you're unfamiliar).

Now, onto the question - what is the minimum size of this effect? If this actually happened to everything a person suffering this effect touched (ie atoms), they would be surrounded by gold/platinum all around them (meaning breathing would not be possible), so there must be a minimum size, but what would this be? (I am assuming that there is a general principle, so I'm looking for the smallest item touched by Midas that turned to gold [I am even willing to accept the smallest item Dr Smith touched also, if that is smaller still])

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    It's already commonly known as The Midas Touch, so you're a little late in coining a term for it. – Meat Trademark May 13 '14 at 20:39
  • Your note "he couldn't eat/drink anything of his own power" seems to suggest a more direct touch involved, like fingertips, else everything in his mouth would transmogrify also. To Midas I'd suggest gloves be a good gift. But to open up the gate to atoms almost negates larger items as wholes as only the atoms he touched would be affected. Sounds like it'd be more a Midas Fingerprint. – Meat Trademark May 13 '14 at 20:45
  • There must also be a maximum size as otherwise the victim is always touching the ground and the whole World would be turned into gold. – Darren Jun 10 '19 at 14:47

Back when the myth around Midas was made, people didn't have an understanding of atoms yet. As far as the myth is concerned, everything he touches is turned into gold, but "air" is not something you can touch as far as ancient greeks are concerned.

The fact that he might be touching gas, atoms or something else you can't see while waving his hand around is not something they would have considered.

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    Democritus, c. 460-370 B.C., is noted for his atomic theory, but yes, the myth of Midas probably predates him. – Keith Thompson May 13 '14 at 18:31

The "Midas effect" (sorry, I don't think you're the first to call it that) or the "Midas touch" is also a main story point in a comic book coming out right now called Midas Flesh by Ryan North.

In Midas Flesh, Midas ends up turning the entire Earth gold, as "anything Midas touches" includes the entire Earth. Anything that lands on the earth is then turned into gold. Later, aliens attempt to harvest "the Midas flesh" as a weapon.

But to actually answer your question, I doubt you're going to find one definitive source on the science behind the Midas effect. The effect works however the story needs it to.

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