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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Introduction To Quantum Mechanics (1st of an occasional series)

It is time to discuss quantum mechanics, a branch of physics discovered in 1962 by my brother, Frankie. He came home from school one day and mentioned it with great enthusiasm as we enjoyed our daily afternoon recreation, which was squatting outdoors scratching out the secrets of the universe in the dirt with sticks. He drew a cloud of virtual photons that could be made actual by adding an electric charge. These irreducible units of energy would propagate and be received as a quantum wave function by photoelectric cells (or electric eyes as we called them then) or by antennas on radios. I scratched up a cartoon head with a brain in it and that isolated the enigma. Could an electrochemical device (brain) in living things respond to magnetic waves?

Could brain also, on its own, exploit some form of quantum coherence? Here is a more sophisticated, modern-day experiment and illustration:
What you see here are two nearly identical shapes. On the left is a barncat named Schrodinger. On the right is a rare albino pumpkin --captured at great cost by safari into darkest Antarctica where its protective coloring renders it invisible to lions, sabre-toothed penguins, fossil-eating troglodytes and other predators. They are the same shape because they receive the same quantum wave function and respond to it. How is this possible?

One might as easily ask how we get our names. Barncat has hunting rights in our barn and is a cat. Pumpkin could not take any other form and still be seriously named Pumpkin. Geo. is my name --a voiced velar fricative followed by a diphthong-- and indicates thought, but yes, the brain of Geo.! Barncat has a brain too, and does this:

He wakes up and thinks. He thinks: I shall pour myself off this bench and go where Norma won't disturb me with her camera. The pumpkin, on the other hand, does a very peculiar thing. Pumpkin does nothing, and that is peculiar. Pumpkin, as friend Delores might say, is too full of pumpkin mush to have room for brains.But from where do these instructions come? I believe Frankie and I solved that enigma in 1962.

There has been much scientific inquiry in the past 40+ years that substantiates our theory that all of human consciousness was heavily influenced by a borderblaster A.M. radio tower near Chula Vista, California, operating in excess of 100,000 Watts and heard over this planet's entire western hemisphere. We used to wear headphones in bed and listen to THE WOLFMAN, late at night (if you draw a blank here, I suggest Geo. Lucas's film, American Graffiti). Although my brother and I both have autonomous brains, Wolfman is probably the reason neither of us can endure morning sun until late afternoon.  


  1. You've given us so much food for thought that I'm having a difficult time swallowing. That's because my brain is the size of an acorn. I have to ingest Thought Food in small portions and ponder them slowly while I chew.

    I've heard rumors that albino pumpkins are difficult to find in the snow. Especially when one is being stalked by sabre-toothed penguins.....

  2. I have always wanted an Antarctican Albino Pumpkin :)

  3. Well it WAS me that said "pumpkin mush" and started Geo on this brilliant tack of comparing barn cats, albino pumpkins and the human brain. You're welcome I'm sure. Let that be a lesson to all of us to take care what we say around Geo. By the way, that is a perfect description of cat movement "I shall pour myself off this bench". That is exactly what cats do. As usual I have been left completely 'gobsmacked' by the way your brain functions.

  4. Quantum mechanics seem very difficult. Except for the albino pumpkin. I even saw American Graffiti, and I have a cat.

  5. Pumpkins grow in a blissful ignorant state, until some child says, "I want this one!" The current surges through the rest of the process.

  6. Geo, the way you think and the way you write always makes me think about things I would never have thought before and that is a good thing.

    Great writing and thank you.
    Always love my visits here

  7. My husband is a nuclear physicist who has studied quantum physics in detail, and I prefer your blog post to anything he's tried to explain to me. Also, I can't even tell you how much I love that you have a CAT named SHRODINGER. I had to use all caps to get my enthusiasm across.

  8. There was a documentary produced a couple years ago that traced the migration of what we now commonly refer to as the "Antartican Albino Pumpkin" from Antartica back to its natural habitat, the Russian Boreal forests, where it grew wild serving as the only light source for the yetis that roamed the region. The research suggests that the Yetis, fed up with Communist rule, migrated and took pumpkins with them to light their way. I watched the show with my husband but missed the part about how they traveled over water. Come to think of it, I haven't seen my diphthong since then either. Hmmm.

  9. Who wouldda known??? Whether or not your brother Frank is a member of this list, I look forward to seeing his recollection of this occasion 60 years ago! Perhaps that can be the second of this occasional dries....

  10. I wonder if the pumpkin has a name? Are there names for pumpkins? Nice pouring from Schrodinger: our aging Cat pours slightly coagulated these days xx

  11. 7:23 in the morning and I laughed twice.

    This day is going to be alllllll right.


    p.s. I'm quite sure The Wolfman can be blamed for a number of things, including the pregnancy of a friend in southern California in the late 50s. Radios are strange things...

  12. I always preferred wearing the old aluminum foil hat, It seemed to keep everything out including black flies and mosquitos!


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