Sunday Short - Heisenberg

by Jessica Brookman in

FACT: We never know all the variables simultaneously. But the answers we get depend on the types of calculations we are continuously making. Note momentum.

You cannot know the precise position and momentum of an electron simultaneously. It's physics is all. 

Now. If your calculations for position are accurate, you will have a snapshot of the electron, suspended on its trajectory. Just for an instant. 

 "I've got it!" you might say.

But what you're holding is an image. You have no idea where the actual goddamn electron is anymore. And, don't be an idiot, you can't actually hold an electron. By the time you put yourself in that precise place to catch it, it's already off dancing somewhere else. 


So it's time for some more math. Do you want another picture? Or, would you rather understand how it moves? 

"But then I'll never find it!" you might say.  

That's right. But now, you can move with it. And that's as close to holding anything that we're ever going to get while living on a spinning rock in an ever-expanding cloud of molecular dust. 

Put another way: When you're out on a walk and you've got a song in your head, no matter how strange your musical tastes happen to be, the chances are never zero that, somewhere, someone else is listening to that exact song. 

Maybe you should dance with them. 

(now, play this, then close your eyes, and don't think for 90 seconds, k? ok.  )

xo, Brookman.

P.S. Read the rest of Sunday Shorts if you like.