Monday, June 04, 2007

If you laugh, you're a geek.

Heisenberg used to house sit for Schroedinger, and would get annoyed when his buddy would call home from out of town and ask "Where is my cat? And how fast is it going?"


(Partial curtsy to Unc.)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I laughed, therefore I am... a geek.

Anonymous said...

I started laughing as soon as I got to the name "Schroedinger". I knew where it was headed...

Thank you!

Joe

LabRat said...

I giggled madly for a minute.

(As for my geekiness, I doubt it was ever in doubt.)

BobG said...

Had to laugh...

jojosdad said...

I feel a little uncertain - am I laughing or not?

pdb said...

Two hydrogen atoms are walking down the street. Suddenly, one stops!

"Holy shit, I've lost an electron!" says the first one.

"Damn! Are you sure?" asks the other atom.

"Yes! I'm positive!"

Diamondback said...

I found pdb's joke funnier.

triticale said...

Heisenberg got pulled over by a highway patrolman.
"Do you know how fast you were going?"
"No, but I know where I am."

TBeck said...

"Heisenberg slept somewhere nearby."

Most of what I "know" about Heisenberg and Schroedinger I got from Robert Heinlein and Walter Jon Williams.

Mr. Fixit said...

Yeah, I thought is was funny. But I am a bit warped anyway.

Mr Fixit

rickn8or said...

I go with Heinlein's comment about a "harmless, necessary cat."

But for THE definitive discussion of Schrodinger and Heisenberg and cats, I refer you to Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope:

Dear Cecil:

Cecil, you're my final hope
Of finding out the true Straight Dope
For I have been reading of Schroedinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously live and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, the other I ain't.
If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will and won't see you in Schroedinger's zoo.
--Randy F., Chicago

Dear Randy:

Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
(Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
By Einstein's discov'ries had been badly dented.
What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't panic,
No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles
Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.
If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
No sweat, though--my theory permits us to judge
Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried
To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
Said Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
And inside a tube we have put that cat at--
Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom
Or atom--whatever--but when it emits,
A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
Our pussy still purring--or pushing up daisies?
Now, you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
To some this may seem a ridiculous split,
But quantum mechanics must answer, "Tough @#&!
We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
Shine light on electrons--you'll cause them to swerve.
The act of observing disturbs the observed--
Which ruins your test. But then if there's no testing
To see if a particle's moving or resting
Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!
We know probability--certainty, never.'
The effect of this notion? I very much fear
'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.
Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
"We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a corpse."'
So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
God doesn't play dice with the universe, putz.
I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried--
In vain--until fin'ly he more or less died.
Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
Ten-to-one he's in heaven--but five bucks says he ain't."


--CECIL ADAMS

Mark said...

It's 0700 here, so apologies for the poor quality of this one (especially after that brilliant bit of Adams)

A polygon of dimensions 1,1,1000 walks into a bar. Barkeep says "Why the long face?"

Anonymous said...

I feel a little uncertain - am I laughing or not?

Depends, have you been observed?

Forlorn said...

Too funny!

And a visual aid:
http://icanhascheezburger.com/2007/06/02/im-in-ur-quantum-box/