Kit Fernel (A.Y. 121-1110) was a high-energy physicist who did prominent work for the Unity Earth Sphere Alliance in the early part of the Golden Age. He was one of the first scientists awarded a research grant by the newly-formed Alliance and was cited many times by Eieber himself for his distinguished work.
Kit and FTL
Though faster-than-light propulsion did exist well before Kit, including the Python Reactor common in most types of FTL, he is still typically credited with making it possible. What Kit did was invent the science that allowed others to understand FTL. He also performed a series of experiments involving the warping effects, making FTL safer and allowing ships to go faster.
The Fernel Limit
The Fernel Limit is a set of theories and observations regarding starships and FTL propulsion within a solar system, or more precisely the effective gravitational pull of a star. The Fernel Limit explains how and why the star’s gravity affects the ships engines, acceleration, and the warping of space-time created by relativistic velocities achieved using the ship’s drive field.
The most important aspect of the Fernel Limit has to do with why ships cannot form FTL energy mantles while on a planet's surface.
Questionable Relationship to Johan Fernel
Kit Fernel often claimed to be a decendant of Johan Fernel, the father of modern physics, who lived and worked well over three millenia earlier. Though Kit was born a Fernel, he had no evidence to suggest that he was a true descendant, beyond his own personal claims. According to Kit, his father told him when he was young that their family could trace its lines to the famous scientist. This, Kit claimed, was his inspiration to become a scienist himself. However, his father passed long before he rose to prominence, and having been born during the late protion of the Mage Wars, no proof existed of the familial line. The lack of biographical information on Johan contributed to the difficulties, and the obvious three-millenia gap.
Though Kit's claims were never taken seriously during his lifetime, after his death they slowly entered the Accepted Histories, for which schools during the begining of the Second Age often taught the relationship between Kit and Johan as fact. The notion moved in and out of acceptence over the next two thousand years, eventually becoming a commonly held belief. Historians widely admit that there is no proof, but it is an inspiring story none the less, and thus an important part of the Accepted Histories.