Tag Archives: Physics

Quantum Physiology, or The Origins of Nonlinear Molecular Teleportation

I was 29 years old when I invented the first time machine (technically a Nonlinear Molecular Teleportation Matrix, if we’re being scientific). Only one other person knows this, and that’s Christian Jherek. So I suppose it’s entirely possible that someone else had invented a similar device before I did, or even since then, and kept it secret, just as I have. Lied and blemished her own image, made a fool out of herself, told her colleagues she was wrong, delusional, that she had made some critical error in the math, when the truth was that she had willingly changed the numbers by herself, ensuring that the calculations would be incorrect, and thus debunking her own theory, which was also slated to form the foundation of her graduate thesis. Made herself into a fool, publicly and professionally, in some sad attempt to save the life of someone she’d just met. And then by doing so, doomed that very same person to his fate.

Or, maybe that’s just me.

***

Most of my students don’t realize that “Quantum Physiology” is actually a pun. They either assume it’s a typo, or that’s it’s just some uber-academic-sounding class with no prerequisites that fulfills a science requirement and isn’t full of obnoxiously overeager freshmen. The former group is wrong, anyway. In this particular instance, “quantum” is an adjective, meaning “sudden” or “significant,” which then modifies “physiology,” being the study of organic processes or functions of an organism or organisms. But of course, at the same time “quantum” typically refers to physics, being the fundamental unit of quantized physical magnitude in terms of angular momentum, and also the smallest quantity of radiant energy. And so the course is actually focused on the study of significant and / or sudden organic processes, as viewed specifically through the lens of quantum mechanics. For example, there’s a part of the curriculum dedicated to cancer. Not dedicated like, “in honor of” — although I guess that, too — but like an academic concentration on cancer, and the mechanical physics and unbalanced chemical equations that can cause a tumor to form. It’s not about the physical tumor, so much as it’s about the quantum-level behaviors that lead to a certain atomic malfunction which in turn causes to replicate some small but crucial piece of cellular information which then continues to replicate itself ad infinitum until it causes permanent and often ultimately critical damage to the physical body of which it is a larger part.

Basically, it’s the study of the organism as a machine, how math and physics relate to and affect the typical functions of a living thing. So, it’s a pun. Get it?

Mal Means Bad (in the Latin)

How heavy, thine heart?
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

I still speak in tongues and lips and fingertips,
and I keep stuttering semantics, and I always
let you fall for it, making meaning out
of every fated kiss; and I hoped that it
would never come to this

but it always does its part
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

As always, art is open
to the interpretation
of the patron, and while I may
have lost you in translation,
I was found sleeping soundly
in a sea of constellations where
I drowned beneath the comfortable
blankets of abyss, its never-ending
nothingness reminding me
of all that I had missed.

Though I’m hardly a scientist, it seems
to be my density, and not my mass,
that helps me stay afloat; I guess that I’ve
been lying to myself all along. My heart
has only half the hallowed substance of
the ocean that it swallows (albeit eloquently),
but like drinking too much water, you
can drown your cells and suffocate yourself
until you choke; if that’s a metaphor,

I meant it for my heart
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

My betrayal knows no tragedy, and so
my greatest stories have all spilled
from my own pen, and my authenticity
is never called to question, like the
greatest of the dead white men; it seems
I will not go down in history as the
soft romantic man that I believe myself
to be. Instead, I leave my Juliets for
dead and carry on, never stopping
long enough to wonder if I’m wrong.

Shrödinger’s Cat Call

Her room is a box, obscured from view,
and the fallout from emotive radiation

dies in half life. Sexual reality is non-local
unless you open up your eyes, so you sit

there in the black, cloaked in macroscopic
indeterminacy and sense the superposition

of her body curled away beneath the sheets.
Both of you exist on infinite worlds, just as long

as you remain that way —you both never see
her again as well as stay with her forever while

simultaneously continuing to rendezvous like
this for several months of vague, non-committal

emotional confusion, misconstrued between
your friends. Perhaps you’ve gone home with

another girl than the one who left the party —
hell, perhaps another guy — while at once

you went home alone, and never left the house
at all. Or maybe she’s The One (although

as long as we’re discussing physical science
and probability, that one seems particularly

unlikely however still completely possibly). But
the witness draws an outcome, and as soon

as one observes this quantum entanglement
of two distinct bodies on wavering strings,

the action exerts a force between them, a force
so powerful it destroys every world but One.

Because sometimes, when you’re trapped in the
vastness of space, it’s better to stay in the dark.

The Heat Is On

In my
Microwave
A
Moisture
Prison-break,

A
SWAT team
Sweats
The
Oven.

“Every-
One
Run!”
One
Summons,

“You’re
Surrounded!”
Says
The
Other.

 

Stored, Like A Tape Recorder on Pause

Jiggling atoms as
Though the sun taught trees
A dance,
One only fire knows,

Practice practice practice,
And with a dry ignite
The jiggling begins anew

Heat rays
Stored in trees,
When lit, activated,
Set free

Rhythmic and in tune
With the universe
And sun beams
And kindling and the wind.

The Collider

In seventeen miles of tunnel
scientists in the world’s
biggest basement
train set
finally found
a good time.

The physics version
of tasting both jellies
of a chocolate eclair
and a Boston creme
sent into one
sub-atomic donut,

magnets and
laser beams
push microscopic streams
time and again,
make perfect
jelly ring inside.

Twenty years of science
collide in one moment
my only question:
when do we
get to eat
the donut?