Conversations with a Rocket Scientist

I was listening to a lecture by Alain Aspect, a French physicist. His lecture at the Imperial College of London was entitled “From Einstein’s Intuition to Quantum Bits”.

He is a wonderful speaker, passionate and very clear in his argument. He also took measure of his audience. In the first quarter of his lecture he moved toward expanding on experiments that have only  recently allowed us to prove Einstein’s intuition on bits of matter. These bits are required to balance our world. His experiments to prove Bell’s Theorem of Inequality  (that no physical theory of local hidden variables can reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics) were real rocket science.

He put up this fairly complex equation on the screen. He spoke about it in principle, and then like Inspector Clousseau asked if everybody could read equations? Needless to say, as it was a public forum, there were some very distinct headshakes.

He then asked the audience if any of them attended the symphony concerts? A few nods.

And further, could they all read music? A few more very distinct headshakes.

“Ah, so, you do not have to be able to read music to be able to appreciate a symphony. Quantum physics is the same: you do not have to read an equation to appreciate the simplicity of the balance around the equal sign.”

This was very reassuring for me, as since my engineering days and a passion for quantum physics I have forgotten the lyrics but remember the tune…

It is a very interesting lifestyle concept as well. We don’t always have to understand the detail of each day or event therein to arrive at a balance. Sometimes our life is indeed so complicated that we do not understand the equation of life while we are immersed in living.

It is worthwhile to stop each day and make time to appreciate our life and enjoy the music. If we spend too much time and energy trying to understand the very complex equation of life we really miss the point.

Today is the anniversary of my father’s birthday. In the month leading up to this day, without realising it I have been writing regularly, in between working, living and taking photographs.

I usually imagine a conversation my father would have had with one of the many people he met. And then I write. Sometimes I was told or even observed some of the detail. At the time, like with the complex quantum physics equation, I got lost in the detail. The detail was my self interest sometimes. As I let go of that my understanding of the balance seemed to improve.

My father possibly spoke to a rocket scientist at some stage; he knew everyone. I hope to think he would have understood the argument about appreciating without always understanding.

From my first attempts at writing.

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