Thursday, January 5, 2012

Schrödinger's Staycation: Day 1

Like everyone else who suffered through college physics without actually needing any of it afterward, my recollection is limited to vague memories of wave pools, vectors, and Greek letters.

(I also remember the second quarter professor who had us all stand around a table holding hands and ran a current through all eleven honors physics students -- just before he grabbed the second terminal he stopped and said "Nobody here has any heart conditions, do they?")

Anyhow, one of the more often referenced bits is the part about Schrödinger's cat, the explanation of an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which the quantum state of something is both possibilities until it is measured, at which time only one state remains. In the needlessly feline-phobic example, a cat is kept in a box with a radioactive substance. If the substance decays, acid is released, killing the cat. If the substance doesn't decay, the cat sits there and waits from some idiot to let it out of the box whereupon it will make its displeasure known. However, until the box is opened (and the "measurement" takes place), the cat is both dead and alive. And probably highly pissed off either way.

So yeah, in this case, there are three categories of people who might work at my desk and I currently don't fit in any of them, so I'm not working. Yep, three possibilities -- that's how competitive I am -- I've taken Schrödinger and one-upped him. In any case, I'm now taking a well-deserved, if unplanned, vacation. Unless I actually don't have a job any more, in which case I'm enjoying being unemployed. I won't know until the box gets opened. (Either way, someone is going to have a mess to clean up in here, just saying...)

You can see that the stress of not knowing is killing me. I had to sleep in until 11am this morning just to get over it.

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