Tag Archives: quantum physiology

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?

When We First Met (excerpt)

The second time he met her is the first time Mark noticed that her eyes were the same color, an almost silvery grey with specks of emerald green, and he immediately began to wonder if it was possible to fall in love in the wrong order. Not that there’s ever a wrong way to do anything when you’re in love, he reminded himself, as he looked back at the class roster and continued with attendance.

“Allison…Jherek?…” he called out to the classroom, his voice trailing away as he tried to pretend that he hadn’t already seen  noticed her, that he hadn’t already known that she would be here.

“Alli’s fine,” he heard a familiar voice say. He turned his head to find her sitting in the back of the lecture hall, looking not much younger than the day that they first met. Or, the day that he might her, to be precise. She had her hand raised, with a look of sheer disinterest scrawled across her face. He looked into her grey eyes for the very first time, hoping to find some small moment of recognition within her, but of course, there was nothing; she hadn’t met him yet. He’d already lived a life time with her — he still did, for that matter, though he knew it wouldn’t be for that much longer — and yet she’d never seen him before.

“Right,” he said, finally breaking from his stare. But the awkward tension in the room had already elevated past the point of typical first day jitters. ” He looked back to the roster sheet. “Alli it is. Glad you could join us, Alli. Welcome to Intro to Quantum Physiology. Is, um, is Adam…King here? Adam King?”

* * *

The first time that she met him he was younger than he was, a thought which at first struck Alli as obvious though she knew that wasn’t exactly what she meant by it.

“…Mark?” she asked tentatively as she watched him from the doorway. He was tying off a trash bag, bulging over with bottles and cans. A sickness filled her stomach and her head began to spin.

“Sorry, party’s over,” he said casually without turning around to see who he was talking to. He groaned softly as he hoisted the heavy  bag over his shoulder. She watched him carry it across the room, trying hard not to let the strain show on his face, and finally deposited it with a heave next to a similar pile of tied-off trash bags. There was a loud crashing sound as the bottles hit the floor, almost certainly smashing apart as they collided with one another against the linoleum. Mark looked up at her and smiled, finally acknowledging her presence in the room, as he absently started to dismantle a folding table. He returned his attention to the table as he forced a rusted pair of legs to fold back underneath it. With a swift kick, he was finally able to tuck the legs beneath the tabletop. Before he could finish with the other set of legs, he took a brief pause from his work and then he looked back in her direction.

“Do you have two different colored eyes?” he asked curiously. “Sorry, if that was rude, I just noticed –”