Kat

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Schrödinger says, “Her name is Kat.”  
 
Arthvan does not see the walls in Hilbert’s Nook.  The H-Nook is a nightclub self-contained in its own universe.  He assumes the walls exist somewhere, far beyond the expanse of tables and platforms that are visible to him.  Patrons sway back and forth.  Arthvan sometimes looks straight through them, some more easily than others.  Then the formerly opaque patrons become more transparent and the partially transparent solidify to block the view behind them.  It is both a standing wave in space and a temporal wave with its energy and vigor varying to the beat of a bongo.  Feynman, the drummer, traces a path, and covers an area as he walks, beating the bongo.  “I choreographed that,” Schrödinger says.  “It appears you like Kat.” 
 
Arthvan hesitates.  “She is beautiful isn’t she?”
 
Schrödinger snaps his fingers at his companions Dirac and Fermi.  They walk to the platform. Kat abruptly stops her dance routine and steps aside.  The two then leave the stage.  Meanwhile, Schrödinger continues, “You never know.  Don’t look at her.  Kat has grace AND kitsch.  Is she or isn’t she?  Shall we make a wager?  Promise, the odds are even.  What will it be, heads or tails?”  Schrodinger takes out an old Pfennig. “Everything I say is the truth, at least until proved false.”  He gulps down a mouthful from the stein, sets it down and flips the coin.  The coin flies upwards, tumbling in flight, slowing down until it halts, suspends for an infinitesimal point in time at the top of its trajectory, and immediately drops down, still tumbling and going faster and faster until it hits the table, bouncing and rolling.  Eventually the coin rests.  Schrödinger’s eyes light up.  He yells with boyish glee, “Ach du schande, look at that, Vishnu has spoken.  No matter, no matter, some things are simply inevitable.  All you need to do is to transpose the appropriate operator.  Calculate with care, and follow the rules.  Eventually all the possibilities will collapse into an unambiguous outcome.  You can trust me - and not.”
 
Kat looks on, staring at the ceiling lights.  Arthvan wills her to look his way.  For a moment Kat’s eyes point directly at him, seeming locked for a brief moment.  He isn’t sure whether her face registers a smile or indifference.  It oddly seems to be both at the same time, with traces of in-between imposed simultaneously.  Kat continues to scan over other areas across the floor.  With pulse racing, Arthvan returns his gaze to his table companion.  “What exactly do you have in mind?”
 
Schrödinger stares with intense intent and leans forward over the table.   Looking directly at Arthvan, eyes locked, he says, “Don’t mock me, Arthvan.  We all have to earn a living.  Kat is special, she can double your pleasure in one go.  For you, we fixed a constant price.”  Schrödinger pauses.  “With my Pfennig, it takes me one second to multiply a kilogram by a square metre.   Give me six point six seven times ten thousand quintillionth of a Pfennig, and she’s yours.”
 
“Tell me Mr. Schrödinger, how is it possible that Kat can double my pleasure in one session, as you claim?” Arthvan accumulates courage, almost certain that Kat can’t do what Schrödinger claims. 
 
“Let me explain how.”  Arthvan feels his previous surge of courage drain away.  He contemplates how Schrödinger can back his claim.  “It is both simple and profound.  With Kat, your one session is actually two sessions -.”    Schrödinger whispers, “- superimposed while nobody is peeking.  Then someone looks in, and poof, we are back to one.” 
 
Arthvan pulls out his wallet, measuring out the extremely small portion of a Pfennig and hands it over to Schrödinger.  “Okay, I will do it.”
 
Schrödinger snaps his finger and a waiter arrives, bearing a tray of sweets.  He gestures and the waiter, knowing the mind of this regular patron, places a cake in front of Arthvan.  “First eat this, but taste it not.”  Arthan ponders the strange Zen of eating with the nothingness of non-taste, the empty taste, the taste that is not.  He eats the sachertorte.  The chocolate cake is all tastes; sweet, sour, spicy, bland, and yet he cannot pin any taste to it.  It is non taste.  Meanwhile Schrödinger and Kat exchange glances, words unspoken and Kat knows exactly what to do.
 
Fermi and Dirac return to the stage with a behemoth box on wheels.  There is a hum and a flat mirror descends from the ceiling and hovers some distance above the box.  Schrödinger points to the mirror.  “Look, while you can.”  Arthvan looks at the mirror to peer within the box.  There is a bed made neatly with two pillows, and a semi-translucent blanket.
 
Dirac presses the green button on the box and the mirror ascends back into the ceiling.  Fermi walks over to Kat and locks his two hands together.  Kat climbs onto his hands and reaches over to the top of the box.  Fermi gives a push, and Kat descends into the box head first, sliding through a tube, a waveguide using negative mass for total momentum cancellation, a DeBroglie wavelength amplifier.  “Remember, when you enter, you must not think and do not look.  Be of empty mind.”
 
Arthvan ponders.  Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, ‘To be or not to be.’ A neuron has a threshold, it fires or not.  Kat decides this or that, will she or won’t she.  Here goes.  Then Arthvan similarly enters, and no one is looking.
 
(She touches) AND (she does not)
(She kisses) AND (she does not)
(She loves) AND (she does not)
 
Schrodinger opens the box, no ambiguity, and the audience observes a crisp irrefutable outcome, absolutely definitive.  It is without a doubt, easy to observe that Kat and Arthvan have most definitely,  …
 
There is a blitz, a flash of lightning.  Arthvan says, “Now I am become Love and Non-Love, the explanation of worlds.”

About the Author: 
Peter Spasov has taught college-level automation and physics. He enjoys performance theatre and science fiction.

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Quantum Theories

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.