Once upon a time t

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Once upon the time t(0) there was a young buck named Butterbean who wanted nothing more than to know his ontological value.  Being familiar with the concepts of Quantum Mechanics he was sadly aware that this was theoretically impossible, but remained unsatisfied with the notion.
In an undying effort to discover the nature of his own existence he set out on a journey to seek the answer from all those most wise and perceiving.
Clearly the first stop was at the front door of Glad the hippopotamus.
Glad was of the notion that all things are ultimately mundane and that it is simply a matter of time and “progress” before esoteric conundrums become  simple everyday knowledge.  Surely this most assured creature could derive an unknown variable to discover the true nature of Butterbean himself. They were both of the mind at this time t(realist) that all the probabilistic nonsense was clearly just a cop out for those ninnies who fancied themselves finished with discovering the universe.
Alas after decades, or maybe days (no one can be sure given that time itself is a construct defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom, and  who can really say cesium 133 even exists… really), Glad was forced to admit that he could not tell Butterbean of his ontological state prior to Butterbean’s arrival on his doorstep, nor could he possibly without any reference to his own experience as a literalist hippo,  and was forced to admit that this coveted obscure variable was beyond his abilities of perception.
With a sense of hopelessness Butterbean sought out the comfort and guidance of Ol’ Trusty, the Wire Stripper.  They adventured together for t(hedonist) to t(fundamentalist) without ever committing to any defined notion as after all, how can you find the answer to a paradox , oxymoron much? 
However comfort in ignorance becomes unsettling after you’ve had your fun and Butterbean became restless.  There was one more known avenue he had not yet travelled…
With a renewed sense of wonder and determination Butterbean approached the Oak, which shook its branches excitedly upon Butterbean’s arrival to see such a valiant seeker of answers.  “Oak, what can you tell me about my ontological value?” asked Butterbean humbly.  The Oak remained silent, but a slight breeze rustled loose a few leaves from its massive head which fluttered to the ground and landed lightly at Butterbean’s feet, Butterbean faltered and then turned and retreated thoughtfully sensing that the conversation was over. 
Upon further consideration over Δt(orthodox) Butterbean understood Oak’s lesson— the leaves could change position through many methods all resulting in different outcomes, however before any leaf falls, it has not fallen.  Butterbean had discovered that no matter who or what observes him, there would be an outcome, but it could not be these interactions which defined the whole of himself, surely he must be something inherently like the leaves of Oak’s mane.  
One day, a little time later at approximately t(decision), Butterbean decided to venture forth in search of a method of measurement that excluded observation.  Knowing that the existence of alligators had long been debated among those with a higher understanding of the nature of things, he knew he should seek within the mind of that which may or may not exist; namely an alligator (though a unicorn or manticore could have sufficed, they are not quite as easy to find nowadays). 
Unfortunately all alligators are actually just dead trees and Butterbean had to once again rethink his strategy. It occurred to Butterbean, after his most recent experiences, that perhaps his disbelief in alligators had caused their value to be null, distracted in hoping that his mind was not quite that powerful Butterbean mistakenly stomped on a daisy which let out a loud squeal, “watch out dummy!”  “OH!” replied Butterbean, “Sorry I didn’t see you there, though come to think of it I’m surprised you even exist as I hadn’t yet observed you my friend.”   The daisy straightened herself and smoothing out her petals scoffed and said jeeringly, “you think that you are the only one who exists, eh?”  “Well,” began Butterbean thoughtfully, “no, but I don’t understand how anything or anyone has any sort of defined nature without something else purposefully interacting with it, after all, how do you know that you exist?” “Oh for goodness sake” exclaimed young Daisy, “Of course you’ll remain limited as long as you keep collapsing your wave function with all that introspection!”  And she turned her face to the sun clearly dismissing Butterbean and all his angsty questions.  
Butterbean, with all known theories exhausted, was still unsatisfied and longed to know the mystery of his own nature of being and the recent dismissal of the daisy weighed heavy on his soul.  “Why can she be so satisfied just being,” he wondered, “when I spend all of my time dedicated to the mystery and nature of life but still feel so empty and unfulfilled?”  And suddenly it struck him! It had been so obvious all along and basically verbatim the retorts he had only just received from the annoyed flower he had trod on, Butterbean ceased to observe himself and existed infinitely in all possible states of being.

About the Author: 
My name is Julianne Goddard and I am from Tacoma, WA. I have a B.S. in physics and an M.S. in nuclear engineering. The purpose of this story is to explore the three primary schools of thought for quantum indeterminacy through the main character's search for personal identity.

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Quantum Theories

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.

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.

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.

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 ... 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.

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.

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.

I is for ... Information

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

D is for ... Dice

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T is for ... Teleportation

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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”.

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!

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.

V is for ... Virtual particles

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S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

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T is for ... Tunnelling

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R is for ... Reality

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Q is for ... Qubit

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O is for ... Objective reality

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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.

K is for ... Kaon

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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.

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.

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.

A is for ... Act of observation

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S is for ... Superposition

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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.

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!

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.

F is for ... Free Will

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R is for ... Radioactivity

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

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G is for ... Gluon

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M is for ... Multiverse

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X is for ... X-ray

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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.

R is for ... Randomness

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Z is for ... Zero-point energy

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W is for ... Wavefunction

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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.

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

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A is for ... Alice and Bob

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C is for ... Computing

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U is for ... Universe

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