Monday, August 12, 2013

Nobel Prizes and Naptime

I was going to write about my baby and his sleeping habits, but first let's wish a happy birthday to the man of the hour, Erwin Rudolf Joseph Alexander Schroedinger (his cleverness was directly proportional to the number of names he had.  Clearly).

In case you weren't paying attention in Quantum Physics 101, this guy basically wrote the book (the one you didn't get at the bookstore because you weren't paying attention and you didn't read the syllabus).  He's the one that discovered (decided?) that electrons can be in particle form or energy form, forever confusing every student that ever took Physical Science 100.  He's most famous for his Wave Equation, among those in the know, but the rest of us know him for his thought experiment, Schroedinger's Cat.  According to TIME:

Put a cat in a box, he proposed, and rig up a Rube Goldberg contraption involving a hammer, a vial of poison and a quantum triggering device. If an electron is in one position, the hammer will remain safely cocked. But if the electron moves into the opposite location, the hammer will drop, smashing the vial and killing the cat.
The laws of quantum mechanics hold that as long as the electron remains undisturbed, it hangs in limbo, occupying both its possible states. The cat, by extension, is both dead and alive.
Let me add, though, that if you opened the box, you would find either a dead cat or a live cat, not a living-dead zombie cat.  I'm not sure because Chem 106 was a long time ago, but I think this has something to do with another clever idea:  The Observer Effect.  Which basically says that you can't measure something without the outcome being changed by your measurement.  
Which brings me to my point:  naptime.  My child also happens to be simultaneously pure mass and pure energy, so I unfortunately never know, at any given moment during the time he is in his crib, whether he is asleep or not.  And I can't go in to check on him without altering the system.  
I'm pretty sure that before I check on him, he's not simultaneously asleep and awake, but it's hard to say.  
I think about this a lot.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading your blog instead of writing you back. And instead of going to church, because yes I have this awesome new baby which for the record I hadn't when we were communicating so you are good, and off the record we are all retarded for not figuring out a better way to stay in touch with cousins; we probably all need blogs but I'm too embarrassed about anything I think. Or proud of it. At any rate. Will you send this to Charlotte and blame it on me? I think it would make her so happy. Also, looks like you are expecting another baby?? Due to birth plan post? Congratulations! And PS assuming you are and assuming you are attempting all natural all of which are guesses based on your post, FYI second baby TOTALLY easier than first. I think. Boy? Girl? Love, Melissa