Dec 312017
Humorous text file concerning Quantum physics, kinda.
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Humorous text file concerning Quantum physics, kinda.
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Subject: Quantum physics
From: [email protected] (Andrew Arensburger)
Keywords: original, funny

(This just materialized on my desk one day. It's in my
handwriting, so I must have written it, though I'll deny it
if I'm indicted. -AA)

The topic for today is quantum physics. Quantum physics was
developed in the 1930's, as a result of a bet between Albert
Einstein and Niels Bohr, to see who could come up with the
most ridiculous theory and still have it published. Most
people agree that Bohr won hands down, although Einstein did
very well in the swimsuit competition.

One of the most important researchers in quantum physics is
Werner Heisenberg, a man with a wonderful sense of humor, who
was always cracking one-liners, like "delta-p times delta-x
is less than h!" Ha! ha! What a card! This is known as
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which is closely related
to Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem, which says that some
things are true, but you can't prove them, like when my wife
and I argue over whether it's her turn to take out the
garbage or not.

What Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle says is that if
something is small enough, you can't say anything about it.
Anyone with the I.Q. of baking powder immediately understood
that this means that if you look at something so small that
you can't even *see* it, like my dog, Oscar Wilde's, brain,
then you obviously can't tell, say, what color it is.

But some people didn't get the joke, and decided to
investigate this principle further. They would gather and
sit around all day, drinking beer and performing
"Gedankesexperimenten," or "Thank God we're theoretical
physicists so we don't have to get our hands dirty with
particle accelerators and other heavy machinery." The most
famous of these is Schroedinger's Cat, where several
physicists kidnap Erwin Schroedinger's cat Fluffy and lock it
up in a box, along with a radioactive source such as Cheez
Doodles. Then they walk around with concerned expressions on
their faces, commenting about how they don't know what's
going on inside the box. This goes on until the cleaning
lady discovers the box, opens it and tells the physicists
whether the cat is dead, or whether it has mutated into a
man-eating flea the size of Norway.

The point of this experiment is to show that uncertainty at
the quantum level can be detected in the macroscopic world
and produce widespread anxiety and paranoia. It also
explains why paper clips just lie there while you look at
them, but as soon as you turn your back, they run away,
giggling wildly, and transform themselves into coat hangers.

Another famous researcher is Richard Feynman, who invented
Feynman diagrams, which are bunches of squiggly lines with
greek letters next to them. The way they were discovered
was, one day, Hans Bethe came in to Feynman's office to say
that some of the guys down in particle research were having a
jam session down by the cyclotron, and would Richard like to

come over and bring his bongos? Feynman was out, at the
time, cracking a safe or something, so Bethe tried to leave
him a note. On the desk, he found one of Feynman's daugter's
kindergarten drawings. Bethe couldn't make head or tail of
it, and figured that if even he couldn't understand it, then
it must be something Terribly Clever, and promptly called it
a Feynman diagram.

This was a major scientific breakthrough, and ever since,
proud parents have been hanging their children's Feynman
diagrams on refrigerators with little muon-shaped magnets,
confident that their Little Darlings are developing important
scientific theories every day, because they are, after all,
Gifted Children.

 December 31, 2017  Add comments

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