Alice from Wonderland Enrolls in Community College

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Alice had just turned 17 and decided to enroll in the local community college.  She was a bright girl and could have gone to the University except for the fact that her stories of falling down a rabbit hole and visiting Wonderland earned her the reputation of being a bit touched in the head.
 
Alice was curious about everything but her passion was art.  She signed up for art classes and a mandatory science class for art majors.  One class, Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics for non-science majors caught her eye.  She liked the fact that it introduced strange ideas like the fact that clocks on trains run slower than clocks on the ground and how particles can be in two places at once. It sounded a lot like her visit to Wonderland.
 
During the first week of science class she listened intently while the professor explained how the faster the clocks on the train move the slower they appear to run.  She wondered how that could be.  "Maybe it's because it takes time itself longer to catch up with the fast moving clocks on the train so the clocks measure time slower than those on the ground," she wondered. "I wonder what the wise old Inchworm would say about that?" 
 
The next class was even stranger than the first.  This time the professor said there were particles that could be in two places at once, but only if you didn't look at them.  She raised her hand and asked,"could they be in two places very far apart and then come together as soon as I look at one?"  
 
"They could be a galaxy apart" the professor replied.  "And they'd come together instantly" he added. 
 
Alice thought this was even stranger than the two clocks.  "I think he's been visiting the hookah smoking inchworm," she quietly giggled. 
 
As she continued through the course it got curiouser and curiouser.  She learned that some guy named Bell proved that quantum logic doesn't follow classical rules.  The professor explained it like this. If A is greater than B and B is greater than C, A isn't necessarily greater than C.  
 
At least that's how the professor tried to explain the math to a class full of art majors.  
 
Alice protested and said "that's like saying 1 + 1 + 1 isn't 3!"  
 
"Well in quantum mechanics it doesn't necessarily have to be" the professor replied.  
 
"And I thought the Hatter was mad!" Alice mumbled a little too loud.  
 
But the Professor was right.  Cause and effect have been stood on their heads.  Outcomes aren't necessarily determined by preceding events.  In quantum mechanics 1+1+1 doesn't have to add up to 3.  
 
Alice pondered that for a bit and suddenly realized that this just might be how God broke the chains of strict determinism.  "If 1+1+1 didn't always have to be 3, then 3 could choose what it wanted to be.  It had free will!" She concluded.    
 
Alice, who almost never went to church, thought this was a very clever conclusion.  She wrote it in her physics essay and shared it with the village priest who she hadn't seen since she visited Wonderland.  
 
The priest scoffed at the suggestion that quantum physics might say something about free will and encouraged her to quit wasting her time in that class and come to church more often. 
 
The professor gave her a D minus and told her religion has no place in science.
 
The D- so discouraged Alice that she dropped out of the physics class and never showed up in the science department again.  
 
"It wasn't so much the D-" she thought as she sat with tears flowing down her eyes while she looked at her essay with the big red D- crayoned on it.  It was the fact that the Professor never even told her why her idea was wrong.  
 
All was not completely lost though.  Her classroom doodles hang in the village art museum.  If you stand close, one of them looks like grandfather clocks surfing on light beams.  If you stand further away you can see two cheshire cats in the middle of the picture, one is looking right at you, the other is laying on it's side vacantly looking away.  
 
The cats both know something the Professor didn't.  Alice would have made a good physicist.  

About the Author: 
The author is a retired civil servant. He has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University. He's interested in modern physics even if he can't completely understand the math. Getting a chance to talk with a physicist is on his bucket list.

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S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

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H is for ... Hidden Variables

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M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

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O is for ... Objective reality

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

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U is for ... Universe

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V is for ... Virtual particles

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P is for ... Probability

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R is for ... Randomness

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R is for ... Reality

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W is for ... Wavefunction

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